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AFMC Command News

AFMC establishes “Connect to Care” construct

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Materiel Command has adapted their helping agency response policy to align with the Department of the Air Force "Connect to Care" construct, providing guidance for addressing sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic abuse support requests across the enterprise.

The concept of operations includes policy, training, data collection requirements and more, ensuring that AFMC helping agencies provide the right support and care to individuals who seek help during times of need.

“This CTC CONOPS provides AFMC installations with guidelines for building and maintaining a ‘No Wrong Door’ response plan as required by the Secretary of Defense’s Independent Review Commission,” said Pamela Kallio, AFMC Response Program Manager. “The CONOPS formalizes the procedures our helping agencies must use when providing a person-centered approach that improves access to support services and programs.”

In Feb. 2021, the Secretary of Defense established a 90-day Independent Review Commission to assess the military’s treatment of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The result of the IRC was 82 recommendations that spanned four key lines of efforts:  accountability; prevention; climate and culture; and victim care and support.

The AFMC plan addresses the requirements under victim care and support.

“Sexual harassment, hazing, bullying, domestic abuse, intimate partner, and non-intimate partner sexual assault are all forms of interpersonal violence, and response to these issues is often handled by multiple agencies, though at times they may be providing services to the same individuals. Our plan aims to remove barriers to care and helps ensure a fully coordinated support response,” said Kallio. “We want to make sure that our people get connected with the support they need.”

As part of the development of the CTC CONOPS, AFMC installations were required to establish procedural plans for ensuring connections of care. The plans were reviewed by AFMC headquarters’ teams and included detailed procedures for moving individuals from one agency to another when seeking care. They also identified how in-person, ‘warm handoffs’ would occur from agency-to-agency and guidelines for protecting individual rights and reporting options.

“Installation CTC procedures ensure that any person seeking services from an organization will be assisted to the fullest extent, with the goal of never being denied or inappropriately delayed in getting the care/support needed,” said Kallio.

The AFMC CONOPS details initial and annual training requirements under CTC and requires installation leadership to appoint an Installation Response Coordinator to oversee implementation of the program at the local level. To help meet Department of the Air Force metric tracking requirements, the AFMC CONOPS also identifies a CTC Data Collection Tool for monitoring of helping agency support of an individual seeking help.

“We want to make sure that everyone who reaches out for help has a successful outcome when reaching out to one of our helping agencies,” said Kallio. “We will review the data and assess trends quarterly to identify where we are excelling and areas that need improvement. The tool will help keep us accountable and ensure we provide everyone with the help they need.”

Ultimately, the AFMC CTC CONOPS aims to make sure all requests for care are met and the right support is provided to a person in need.

“Connect to Care is an approach that ensures an individual seeking assistance will never encounter a ‘wrong door’ when seeking care and support. Regardless of the helping agency approached, the individual will be assisted in reaching the correct support organization that can provide the appropriate help based on the situation,” said Kallio. “No one will ever hear, ‘I can’t help you,’ when seeking support.”

For additional information on the AFMC Connect to Care policy, contact afmc.a1z.ipr@us.af.mil.