Standards for Military Family Readiness programs

2020 Edition

Financial Readiness Programs (MIL-FR) 2: Initial Contact

The MFR program works with prospective customers to identify their request or need for service and:
  1. initiates financial readiness services; or
  2. makes a referral to a provider or program better suited to meet the customer’s needs.
2020 Edition




Customers who participate in Financial Readiness Programs gain personal financial management skills, learn strategies to prevent and resolve financial problems, and identify short and long-term actions to achieve financial goals and ensure personal, family, and mission readiness.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the programs’ practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance 
A rating of (2) indicates that a programs’ infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. The majority of the standard's requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  Minor inconsistencies and practices that are not fully developed are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that significant aspects of the programs’ observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement. The program has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework. Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised. Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation and Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all. Observed infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.

Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Interview:
    1. MFR Program director
    2. Relevant staff
    3. Customers (MIL-FR 2.02)

MIL-FR 2.01

Procedures for initial contact:

  1. support timely initiation of services or an appropriate referral;
  2. address criteria for determining when a more intensive service is necessary; and
  3. provide for placement on a waiting list, as applicable.


MIL-FR 2.02

Prospective customers who contact the MFR program receive information necessary to make an informed decision about using the MFR program’s services including:
  1. what services will be available and when;
  2. how the financial readiness programs can support the achievement of desired outcomes; and
  3. the benefits, risks, alternatives, and consequences of planned services.
Related Standards:


Examples of alternatives include debt relief options the customer may pursue including working directly with creditors, a debt management program, and attorney-assisted options.


Fundamental Practice

MIL-FR 2.03

Customers in need of ongoing financial counseling participate in an individualized assessment during the initial counseling session that is culturally responsive and includes:
  1. a preliminary evaluation of the customer’s request for service and their stated goals;
  2. a review of the customer’s housing status;
  3. a review of relevant documentation provided by the customer pertaining to the need for service;
  4. an evaluation of income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and debt-to-income ratio as appropriate; and
  5. determination of the need for related service referrals.


Examples of considerations that contribute to a culturally responsive assessment include geographic location, language of choice, age and developmental level, and the family's religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural background.


In regards to element (b), examples of circumstances that may prompt a referral to housing counseling and education services include when housing costs represent a substantial portion of the customer’s net income; when housing is threatened due to rent, mortgage, property tax, and/or utility delinquencies; or when other conditions exist that threaten the customer’s housing status.

Note: Refer to the Assessment Matrix - MFR for additional assessment criteria. The elements of the matrix should be tailored according to the needs of specific customers or service design.