Standards for Military Family Readiness programs

2020 Edition

Military Lifestyle Support and Education (MIL-MLSE) 8: Personal and Family Life Education

The MFR program provides educational, enrichment, and prevention services to Service members, couples, and families to help them:

  1. build and maintain healthy relationships;
  2. strengthen interpersonal competencies, problem solving skills, and help-seeking behaviors; and
  3. master respective roles, tasks, and responsibilities throughout the family life cycle.
NA Access to personal and family life education services is available only through referral to providers outside the military family readiness program.
2020 Edition




Customers acquire the tools and resources needed to effectively navigate the military lifestyle, improve individual and family functioning, and promote positive adjustment and military family readiness. 
Related Standards:
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
  • Procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of the prevention program (MIL-MLSE 8.03)
  • See description of personal and family life education services submitted in the Service Narrative (MIL-MLSE 8.01, MIL-MLSE 8.02, MIL-MLSE 8.03)
  • Programming curricula and related informational materials/resources (MIL-MLSE 8.01)
  • Evidence of collaborative prevention efforts (i.e. meeting minutes, correspondence, prevention materials, etc.) (MIL-MLSE 8.02)
  • Documentation of the most recent evaluation of prevention efforts and evidence of changes made (MIL-MLSE 8.03)


The MFR program conducts a local needs assessment and offers educational, enrichment, or prevention services that address the needs and preferences of its customers. 


Examples of relevant topics include problem solving and decision-making; managing, coping with, and relieving stress and anger; interpersonal relations and communication; introduction to the military culture and lifestyle; available military and civilian resources and how to access them; developing supportive networks; life transitions; personal growth and future aspirations; managing grief and loss; and recognizing the signs and symptoms of various behavioral health conditions.


The MFR program collaborates with a diverse group of community stakeholders to implement comprehensive and coordinated prevention programs or activities. 


The MFR program's prevention activities:
  1. are continuously monitored to evaluate effectiveness;
  2. identify and reduce risk factors;
  3. identify and enhance protective factors;
  4. are tailored to the needs, characters, and environmental context of the target audience; and
  5. are offered at a frequency and duration appropriate to the type of intervention. 


When tailoring programs for a specific group is not possible or appropriate, element (d) is achieved by using inclusive language and acknowledging differences within the target audience such as gender, race, and age. The environmental context in which customers live includes things like the family unit, the community, and the military.
Note: See also MIL-AM 5 for more information on collecting, analyzing, and using data to monitor program effectiveness and make needed improvements.
Interventions that focus only on identifying deficits have limited effectiveness. Instead, programs should focus on identifying and building upon existing assets and resources to ensure customers have the skills and resources they need to successfully respond to challenges. 

The literature emphasizes that, regardless of the issue or topic being addressed, prevention programs are more effective when they are sustained over time and have multiple points of contact with reinforcing messages. In fact, some literature suggests that programs with no continuity may be detrimental as they do not offer the opportunity for appropriate follow-through.