The Exceptional Family Member Program or EFMP is set up to work with military families that have members with special needs. The purpose is to address their unique needs during the assignment process and at installations. The program uses resources, tools, articles, and other supports as necessary to help the family make needed local connections.
Support provided to families will be different from installation to installation, branch to branch, and family to family; however, the family is provided assistance to help them identify and access programs and services which may include:
- Information and referral for military and community services
- Education and outreach
- Referral to other family center providers
- Local school and early intervention services information
- Warm handoffs to the EFMP at the next location
- Access to support groups and Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs)
The role of the EFMP professional is to empower parents. This can come from referrals out to community resources, helping identify resources and programs, helping families make the connection, and then providing follow up of the resources accessed. Having a professional that is familiar with the area can be the key to successfully integrating into the area. The EFMP professional can also bridge the gap when seeking services. They have an understanding of local terminology and how to access necessary benefits or programs. One-on-one support can make the transition a little easier.
Family members with special medical or educational needs should enroll in the EFM Program. Family members include the spouse, a child, or dependent adult. Some qualifying conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Require special medical services for a chronic condition
- Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Physical Disabilities
- Mental Health Disorders
- Receive ongoing services from a medical specialist
- Have significant behavioral health concerns
- Receive early intervention or special education services through an Individualized Education Program or Individualized Family Service Plan
Enrollment into the program ensures the family members’ documented needs are considered and can be met at the next duty station. Enrollment in EFMP can also provide assistance when navigating a new medical or educational system.
Enrollment into the EFMP is mandatory for AD service members; members of the National Guard or the Reserves may enroll according to service-specific guidance. Enrollment qualifications vary from branch to branch, however, each installation is aware of the process, what documentation is necessary, and the paperwork that should be filled out. Typically, the paperwork includes a history of medical need, diagnosis, medications, care required (ex. therapies, services, appointments, surgeries, tests, or x-rays), or other special accommodations by the special needs family members. If the child is the special needs family member and accesses Special Education Services through an IEP or Early Intervention Services through and IFSP, you will have to include the diagnosis, a copy of the IEP or IFSP and have the forms completed and signed by the medical or education providers.
It is important to remember that enrollment in the EFM Program is not meant to hurt the service member’s career. Enrollment in the program is supposed to assist in the placement of families where services can be accessed when PCSing occurs. The supports and services provided through the EFM Program are intended to provide necessary support to families, making things easier on the families, and to help ensure the Active Duty member is deployment ready so mission needs can be met.
“Working Together with Military Families of Individuals with DisAbilities!”