EFMP supports military families with special needs

| September 17, 2010 | 0 Comments

William Bradner
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The sheer volume of information available to family members with special needs can be overwhelming, so the Army wants to make it easier for Soldiers and their family members to navigate the complicated system of resources available to them.

“To do this, we’ve got to fix (Exceptional Family Member Program) so it works better, and we have to get the word out,” said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander, Installation Management Command, at a recent conference.

EFMP is a Department of Defense-mandated program to support Soldiers with family members who have special needs.  

In the Army, the proponent activity for EFMP is the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. The command’s EFMP managers are currently working with the Army Medical Command and sister-service counterparts to strengthen the program.

Marcia Hagood, program manager, EFMP, emphasized it’s important for all Soldiers who have family members with special medical and/or educational needs to enroll in the EFMP. Not only is enrollment mandatory, enrollment ensures optimum use of permanent change of station money by considering the Army’s requirements, the Soldier’s career and the special needs of family members. 

“It’s not ‘big brother’ wanting to know,” Hagood said. “It’s all about ensuring the Army allows the Soldier to focus on the needs of the military without unnecessary concerns for his or her exceptional family member.”

The program was established in compliance with public laws, which collectively mandate that eligible preschool and school–age children with disabilities are provided with a free and appropriate education. The Army expanded EFMP to include all authorized family members with special needs, including spouse, child, stepchild or adopted child.

If a Soldier is enrolled in EFMP, the Army reviews the special requirements of the family member and confirms the availability of special medical and/or educational resources and required services at the next duty station, prior to orders being released.

Army Community Service EFMP managers also work with the Soldier’s family members to provide information, referral and advocacy assistance, including referral to support groups, medical providers, housing and respite care services. 

Once enrolled, the Soldier should update the EFMP file every three years, or when there is a change in the family member’s medical condition or educational needs.

“It can be challenging caring for a family member with special needs and also having to worry about deployments and permanent changes of station every three years,” Hagood said. “Imagine having to start from scratch seeking special medical care every time you relocate.”

The EFMP works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, and educational, medical and personnel services to families with special needs. 

Soldiers who have family members with special needs should visit their local ACS EFMP office for resource and referral assistance, and the nearest medical treatment facility for enrollment or to update current EFMP status.


Local EFMP Contacts

EFMP managers are located at Army Community Service to help answer questions. Contact Schofield Barracks ACS at 655-4227 or Tripler Army Medical Center ACS at 438-4493. 

The next EFMP Share Support Group meetings are Sept. 21, 6-7 p.m., at the Aliamanu Military Reservation Chapel, or Sept. 22, 6-7 p.m., at the Schofield Barracks Main Post Chapel.





Category: Community

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