Families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have a new military benefit offered to them.

Earlier this month Madigan Army Medical Center opened the Center for Autism, Research, Education and Services or “CARES.”

Families with children who have been diagnosed as having autism can receive therapy, support, and references to services on and off base.

“I feel lucky. I think it’s going to be great,” said Terilyn Nicolle, whose three-year-old son Jace was diagnosed in January.

Her husband, Staff Sgt. Ryan Nicolle, had been stationed in Germany; but after the diagnosis, the family was granted a compassionate reassignment to JBLM because of CARES.

Occupational therapist Amy Walters said supporting military families is another way the Army ensures it’s soldiers are “fit to fight.”

“Ultimately readiness comes from so many different aspects. When a family feels supported all-around, that actually helps that active duty member,” said Walters.

The center at JBLM is the only one of its kind in the military. It is considered a pilot project.

Other bases might open CARES services in the future, according to a Madigan spokesperson.