While a change is coming for a Defence People Group branch that supports ADF members and families, there won’t be any changes to the nationwide services it provides.

On July 1, Defence Community Organisation (DCO) will become Defence Member and Family Support (DMFS) Branch.

Paul Way, director-general of the branch, said the new name better described the branch’s role.

“It’s important that Defence members and their families see our services as something accessible to them as part of their community,” Mr Way said.

“Recently, there’s been some feedback that families may think DCO is outside Defence.

“To overcome that misconception, we undertook staff and stakeholder consultation, which also included the Services, Defence Families of Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a number of ex-service organisations. 

“This consultation helped us come up with a new name that people could look at or hear and immediately know what we do and who we do it for.”

In a video posted on Facebook, branch patron Belinda Johnston announced the name change and said the new name better described what DCO does – that is, provide support for ADF members and their families.

“The name will particularly help members and families better recognise where to go for assistance,” she said.

As the patron, Ms Johnston provides support and recognition of ADF members and their families’ value, and their contribution to Defence. The patron regularly meets with ADF members and their families, and also promotes their connection with the wider community. 

“I understand how important it is to have access to the programs and services that the branch provides,” Ms Johnston said. 

There won’t be any changes to the current services when the new name takes effect.

Those services include the 24-hour Defence Family Helpline, assistance for members transitioning from the permanent forces, local area office support, partner employment assistance, facilitating access to child care, assistance for dependents with special needs, help for families during a crisis or emergency and education support for children.

DCO was formed in 1996, when the family support organisations of the three services were brought together. The July 1 change coincides with DCO’s 25th anniversary.

For more information about DMFS programs for ADF families, phone the helpline on 1800 624 608 or email defencefamilyhelpline [at] defence.gov.au