Purple Up! Celebrating the Month of the Military Child

A Brief Overview

  • Month of the Military Child (MOMC) is a chance to show your support for military-connected children and youth.
  • Purple symbolizes military children from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Wear purple (Purple Up!) during April to show your support for military children, especially on April 15th, National Purple Up Day.

April, the Month of the Military Child, celebrates military-connected children and youth. They show an ability to adapt in the face of unique challenges. They make sacrifices while their service members protect our nation’s safety.

Purple is the official color of the military child. It’s a combination of all the colors of the U.S. Armed Force: Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard blues, Army green, and Marine Corps red. Programs and activities that are similar across all branches of service are called “purple.”

Wear purple to show your support and appreciation for what they do!

History of Month of the Military Child

In 1986, former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger created the first Month of the Military Child. This annual April tradition became a nationally recognized celebration of military children’s resiliency when faced with stressful situations, such as frequent moves, long separations from deployed family members, living in foreign countries, and adapting to different schools.

In 2011, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Military Youth and Family Program began Purple Up! For Military Kids. It’s a specific day to wear purple as visible support for military-connected children during Month of the Military Child. States, local governments, and Department of Defense programs celebrate Purple Up days on various dates during April. National Purple Up Day is April 15th.

Military Children in Our Communities

A Department of Defense 2020 Demographics Report* showed 1,621,473 military children in Active Duty and Selected Reserve families across the world. Washington State has 40,881 military-connected children and youth between birth and eighteen years of age. Military-connected children are neighbors. Many of them live and go to school near military installations. If their service member is in the National Guard or other reserves, they may live anywhere!

Military children come from many different backgrounds. Being in the military is different for each family. Differences are as typical of military life as similar experiences.

Author Lynn K. Hall said, “The defining word for the military family is change; change is what their lives are about.”  On average, military families move every two to three years. Military children change schools an average of six to nine times between kindergarten and their high school graduation. Despite frequent changes, military children show remarkable resiliency like the dandelion plant.

Dandelions are the official flower of the military child. They take root and bloom wherever they are planted. Dandelion seeds fly on the wind to destinations all over the globe. Dandelions symbolize happiness, joy, perseverance, endurance, and hope – traits shown by military children.

Show Your Support for Military Children

Thank military children for their sacrifices and recognize their courage during Month of the Military Child.
Families and individuals can:

  • Organize or take a group picture with everyone wearing purple to share on social media with the hashtags #PurpleUp or #MOMC.
  • Use any of the ideas and resources below for businesses and schools.
  • Look up WA State Veterans organizations on the internet and social media. They will often post local events supporting and celebrating military-connected children.
  • Military installations often post MOMC events on their social media pages. You may be able to go, volunteer, or share on your pages.

Businesses can add a temporary banner or image to their website or social media pages. Find images and text at the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission’s (MIC3) website.

Parent-School associations and school staff can celebrate military-connected students by:

  • Wearing a purple ribbon and inviting military children to share their experiences within their comfort levels.
  • Encouraging other students to “purple up” at a specified team practice or event.
  • Mentioning Purple Up Day in the morning announcements, school message boards, and bulletin boards throughout the campus.
  • Using a world map in the classroom to pinpoint where students have traveled, including highly mobile military students.
  • Sending a letter home to all parents inviting them to provide a baby picture for a hallway or corridor “Guess Who” display of military children.

You might use suggestions from the Military Child Education Coalition and Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3).

Go to a STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents) workshop or webinar to learn more about supporting military children in the classroom, community, and medical settings. Share about STOMP, a program of PAVE, as a resource to educate and empower military parents of children with special needs.

* Published by the Department of Defense and Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy (ODASD (MC&FP).

Resources:

STOMP has developed printable worksheets in honor of the Month of the Military Child:

  • Finding Your Tribe: a questionnaire to help children make friends and develop community after a move.
  • PCS Bingo: a tool to help a relocating family get to know their new community, one adventure at a time!
  • Friendships Across the Miles: activities for maintaining close friendships wherever military life takes you.
  • Sound Your Cadence Call: a worksheet for developing an individualized, confidence-boosting cadence.

The Air Force School Liaison Program provides 50 Ways to Celebrate Month of the Military Child.

Military Child Education Coalition and Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) release updated toolkits for the Month of the Military Child every year.

Handout celebrating military children to discover various ways to celebrate military children throughout April.

Exploring Assistive Technology: Understanding, Access, and Resources for All Ages and Abilities

Brief overview:

  • Access to assistive technology (AT) is protected by four federal laws.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance on the specific requirements about providing AT under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The guidance takes the form of detailed explanations for many misunderstood facts about using AT in schools and early intervention services. It is available online and in PDF form in English and Spanish.
  • AT can be very simple and low-cost, or it may be high-tech or large and expensive. Resources for deciding on AT devices and services and buying or getting low-cost or free TA are included in the article.

Full Article

You can also type “assistive technology” in the search bar at wapave.org to find other articles where assistive technology is mentioned.

What is assistive technology (AT)? Who uses it? Where is it used?
Assistive technology (AT) is any item, device, or piece of equipment used by people with disabilities to maintain or improve their ability to do things. AT allows people with disabilities to be more independent in education, at work, in recreation, and daily living activities. AT might be used by a person at any age—from infants to very elderly people.

AT includes the services necessary to get AT and use it, including assessment (testing), customizing it for an individual, repair, and training in how to use the AT. Training can include training the individual, family members, teachers and school staff or employers in how to use the AT.

Some examples of AT include:

  • High Tech: An electronic communication system for a person who cannot speak; head trackers that allow a person with no hand movement to enter data into a computer
  • Low Tech: A magnifying glass for a person with low vision; a communication board made of cardboard for a person who cannot speak
  • Big: An automated van lift for a wheelchair user
  • Small: A grip attached to a pen or fork for a person who has trouble with his fingers
  • Hardware: A keyboard-pointing device for a person who has trouble using her hands
  • Software: A screen reading program, such as JAWS, for a person who is blind or has other disabilities

You can find other examples of AT for people of all ages on this Fact Sheet from the Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living.

Select the AT that works best:

Informing Families, a website from the Developmental Disabilities Administration, suggests this tip: “Identify the task first. Device Second. There are a lot of options out there, and no one device is right for every individual. Make sure the device and/or apps are right for your son or daughter and try before you buy.”

AT3 Center, a national site for AT information, has links describing, finding and buying a wide variety of assistive technology, with text in English and Spanish.

Understood.org offers a series of articles about AT focused on learning in school, for difficulties in math, reading, writing, and more.

Who decides when AT is needed?  Your child’s medical provider or team may suggest the AT and services that will help your child with their condition. If your child is eligible for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), an Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP), or a 504 plan, access to AT is required by law. In that case, the team designing the plan or program will decide if AT is needed, and if so, what type of AT will be tried. Parents and students, as members of the team, share in the decision-making process. A process for trying out AT is described on Center for Parent Information and Resources, Considering Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities.

Access to assistive technology (AT) is protected by four laws:

  1. The AT Act of 2004 requires states to provide access to AT products and services that are designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The law created AT agencies in every state. State AT agencies help you find services and devices that are covered by insurance, sources for AT if you are uninsured, AT “loaner” programs to try a device or service, options to lease a device, and help you connect with your state’s Protection and Advocacy Program if you have trouble getting, using, or keeping an assistive service or device. Washington State’s AT agency, Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP), has a “library” of devices to loan for a small fee and offers demonstrations of how a device or program works.

IDEA Part C includes AT devices and services as an early intervention service for infants and toddlers, called Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) in Washington State. AT can be included in the child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). When a toddler transitions from early intervention services to preschool, AT must be considered whether or not a child currently has AT services through an IFSP.

It’s important that a student’s use of AT is specified in their post-secondary Transition Plan. This will document how the student plans to use AT in post-secondary education and future employment and may be needed when asking for accommodations from programs, colleges and employers when IDEA and IEPs no longer apply.

Guidance on assistive technology (AT) from the U.S. Department of Education

In January 2024, the U.S. Department of Education sent out a letter and guidance document on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements for assistive technology for children under Part C and Part B of IDEA.

The guidance document is available online and in a downloadable pdf in English and Spanish. It includes common “Myths and Facts” about AT. The document is designed to help parents, early intervention providers, educators, related service providers, school and district administrators, technology specialists and directors, and state agencies understand what IDEA requires.

For instance, there are examples of what IFSPs might include:

  • A functional AT evaluation to assess if an infant or toddler could benefit from AT devices and services;
  • AAC devices (e.g., pictures of activities or objects, or a handheld tablet) that help infants and toddlers express wants and needs;
  • Tactile books that can be felt and experienced for infants and toddlers with sensory issues;
  • Helmets, cushions, adapted seating, and standing aids to support infants and toddlers with reduced mobility; and
  • AT training services for parents to ensure that AT devices are used throughout the infant or toddler’s day.

For IEPs, some important facts from the guidance document are:

  • Each time an IEP Team develops, reviews, or revises a child’s IEP, the IEP Team must consider whether the child requires AT devices and services (in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
  • If the child requires AT, the local educational agency (LEA) is responsible for providing and maintaining the AT and providing any necessary AT service. The IEP team can decide what type of AT will help the child get a meaningful educational benefit.
  • The IEP must include the AT to be provided in the statement on special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services.
  • A learner’s AT device should be used at home as well as at school, to ensure the child is provided with their required support.
  • AT devices and services should be considered for a child’s transition plan as they can create more opportunities for a child to be successful after high school. (Note: AT can be an accommodation used in post-secondary education and in a job).

If a student is already using AT devices or services that were owned or loaned to the family, such as a smartphone, theguidance includes information about how to write it into an IEP or an agreement between the parents and school district.

Paying for AT

Some types of AT may be essential for everyday living including being out in the community and activities of daily living like eating, personal hygiene, moving, or sleeping. When a child has an AT device or service to use through an IFSP, IEP, or 504 plan, the device or service belongs to the school or agency, even if it’s also used at home. All states have an AT program that can help a school select and try out an AT device. These programs are listed on the Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance (CATADA) website. A child’s AT devices and services should be determined by the child’s needs and not the cost.

When a child graduates or transitions out of public school, they may need or want AT for future education or work. In these cases, families can look for sources of funding for the more expensive types of AT. Here are some additional programs that may pay for AT devices and services:

AT for Military Families

Some programs specific to the United States Armed Forces may cover certain types of assistive technology as a benefit.It’s important for Active-Duty, National Guard, Veteran and Coast Guard families to know that they are eligible for assistive technology programs that also serve civilians, including those in Washington State.

If the dependent of an Active-Duty servicemember is eligible for TRICARE Extended Care Health Option (ECHO), assistive technology devices and services may be covered with some restrictions. The program has an annual cap for all benefits and cost-sharing, so the cost of the AT must be considered. The AT must be pre-authorized by a TRICARE provider and received from a TRICARE-licensed supplier. If there is a publicly funded way to get the assistive technology (school, Medicaid insurance, Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver, state AT agency loaner device, or any source of taxpayer-funded access to AT), the military family must first exhaust all possibilities of using those sources before ECHO will authorize the AT.

Some types of AT, such as Durable Medical Equipment, may be covered under a family’s basic TRICARE insurance plan.

The United States Coast Guard’s Special Needs Program may include some types of assistive technology as a benefit.

Additional Resources
Assistive Technology

Does my child qualify for Assistive Technology (AT) in school?

Movers, Shakers, and Troublemakers: How Technology Can Improve Mobility and Access for Children with Disabilities

Low tech tool ideas that can be used to increase Healthcare Independence

What Will Happen When We’re Gone? Planning for the Future for Your Child with Disabilities, Part 2: Age 13 through Adulthood

Overview:

Full Article

Thinking about the future when you will no longer be available to help your child because of death or a condition where you cannot participate in their care can be emotionally difficult. On top of that, this planning process is full of important decisions with significant impacts on your child’s future. To prevent being overwhelmed, it may help to review the entire article, and then tackle the tasks and steps needed to create a plan.

When your child is between age 12 and age 18

Review all the basic legal and financial arrangements you have already made. What needs to be changed? Are the guardians, financial managers, powers of attorney agents and trustees still ready and able to take on those responsibilities? If not, make an appointment with your attorney to change the terms of, or create your will, powers of attorney, and Special Needs Trust. You may also wish to begin an ABLE account for your child’s benefit. Information about these arrangements is available in PAVE’s article, What Will Happen When We’re Gone? Planning for the Future of Your Child with Disabilities PART 1 Ages Birth to 12.

Does your child aged 13 or older have a Health Care Transition Plan?

Does your child have a person-centered plan that includes their own future desires and the people they want to be in their lives?  If so, it’s a good idea to consult the plan when considering your legal and financial documents, and your Letter of Intent.

If your child does not yet have a person-centered plan (PCP), you can suggest it and encourage and support them to create one.

A Person-Centered Plan is an individual’s plan for their future-their wishes about what they want to do with their life. What current and future living arrangement do they want? Do they want to work, and if so in what field? Do they want more education or training after high school? What about personal relationships—dating, partnering/marrying, general social life? A PCP explores all areas of a person’s life. It’s flexible and updateable. If an individual with disabilities needs some assistance to develop the plan, they can select the people to give them that help and support.

PAVE has resources about the process of creating a PCP:

Other typical future planning in this time period:

When your child is an Adult (age 18 in Washington State)

Legal documents to create or update:

A will. Your child is no longer a minor, so you do not need to identify a guardian for them. If your child receives government benefits (SSI/SSDI, Medicaid) you will want to make sure your child’s inheritance does not go directly to them when you die, but is distributed to a Special Needs Trust or ABLE account.

Power of Attorney: Because your child is now a legal adult, you cannot make decisions for them any longer and you will not need a Power of Attorney to make decisions on their behalf.

Letter of Intent: Create it or update it to support your adult child’s life plans as described in their person-centered plan. It’s not a legal document, but you can keep copies of it with your will to show that your wishes support your child’s ability to make decisions about their life (depending on their level of disability).

Depending on your child’s disability, they may be able to work, live independently and manage their own finances and health care, possibly with various levels of support. On the other hand, most parents want to protect their child from making decisions on their finances, housing, employment, etc., which may not turn out well because of the child’s inexperience or level of disability.

There are several legal options for an adult child to be provided support in decisions about their lives and in their day-to-day living. Some are very restrictive of a person’s rights to make decisions about where they will live, whether they have a say in how their money is spent, employment, education and even their own health care.

The least restrictive option is Supported Decision-Making (SDM). It’s a legal agreement to make sure an adult with disabilities has trusted helpers watching out for their well-being. An SDM agreement does not remove the adult individual’s rights but creates a way for the individual and their supporters to make choices together. This is a fairly new legal option as Washington added this option to the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship and Other Protective Arrangements Act in 2020. There may be a small fee to have the signatures on the document notarized. It does not have to be filed with the court, but copies should be provided to health care providers and the originals should be kept safely.

If your adult child has a person-centered plan, it can help with identifying supporters in the SDM agreement—and vice versa!

PAVE has a resource about this option, which includes links to other resources and supports to help parents and adult children understand how this option works: Supported Decision Making is an Option for Adults with Disabilities. The list of options below is from that article.

Another option is Conservatorship of an Adult, in which a court-appointed person makes property and/or financial decisions for the adult with disabilities. Like guardianship below, the petition may be denied if less restrictive options are not tried first.

Lastly, there is Guardianship of an Adult, in which a court-appointed person makes decisions for the adult with disabilities. Guardianship may be combined with Conservatorship. Guardianship is the most restrictive option and may not be granted unless there is evidence that less restrictive alternatives are unworkable.

Washington Law Help has more information on Guardianship of an Adult and other protective arrangements.

Informed Consent: This is a limited option for supporting medical decisions when a healthcare provider determines that an individual is unable to properly understand their condition or make fully informed decisions (RCW 7.70.065). Note that an individual with a Supported Decision Making (SDM) agreement may be able to demonstrate they can make their own decisions about healthcare with the help of their supporter.

Power of Attorney: An individual (in this case, your adult child) can sign a legal document to give someone else power to make decisions on their behalf under limited or general circumstances. A Mental Health Advance Directive, to be invoked if someone with a mental illness loses capacity, is an example of a limited Power of Attorney document that an individual might choose to sign. Washington Law Help provides a Q and A on Powers of Attorney.

Representative Payee: The Social Security Administration (SSA) may determine that an individual receiving benefits needs a payee to manage their income. If an individual disagrees with the administration’s decision to appoint a payee, they must present evidence of their ability to manage their money. Disability Rights Washington (DRW) provides information about how to change, remove or report a representative payee.

Protective Arrangement: A court-appointed person makes decisions for the person with disabilities related to specific and limited conditions, such as specific medical decisions or contact with a specific individual who might cause harm. The Vulnerable Adult Protection Act provides protection to adults in Washington State who meet one or more of these criteria:

  • 60 or older and functionally, mentally, or physically unable to care for themselves
    • Have a court-appointed guardian
    • Have a developmental disability
    • Live in a nursing, adult family, or boarding home or other facility
    • Served by home health, hospice, or home care agencies
    • Receive services from an individual care provider or personal aide

NOTE: Anyone who suspects physical harm, someone being held against their will, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or abandonment can call Adult Protective Services at 1-877-734-6377 or Report Online.

Adult dependent children and family members of military may continue to receive military benefits, including access to installation facilities (like medical services, recreational programs, and family supports) once they’ve aged out of dependent status under Secondary Dependency. To qualify, the individual must be:

  • A qualifying family member, including an adult child with a disability
  • Unmarried
  • Unable to support themselves due to a mental or physical disability that began before age 21, or age 23 if they are a full-time student
  • Receive more than 50% of their living expenses or financial support from the servicemember

Establishing secondary dependency includes an application process through the servicemember’s branch of service and a disability determination. For more information, contact the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) closest to you or register for the STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents) Workshop, “Pathways to Military Medical and Medicaid Benefits for Exceptional Family Members”.

For more information on wills, powers of attorney, Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts, see What Will Happen When We’re Gone? Planning for the Future for Your Child with Disabilities Part 1: Ages Birth to 12.

Additional Resources

What Will Happen When We’re Gone? Planning for the Future for Your Child with Disabilities, Part 1: Ages Birth to 12

Overview:

Full Article

Thinking about the future when you will no longer be available to help your child because of death or a condition where you cannot participate in their care can be emotionally difficult. On top of that, this planning process is full of important decisions with significant impacts on your child’s future. To prevent being overwhelmed, it may help to review the entire article, and then tackle the tasks and steps needed to create a plan.

Legal Planning. You will need:

  • A will:If you die and either don’t have a will or don’t specify a guardian in your will, the courts will appoint someone, and it won’t necessarily be a family member. It could be a complete stranger. A will usually includes almost all your instructions for how you want your child to be cared for when you die.
  • A Letter of intent: It expresses your wishes for your child which are not included in the will. It has no legal standing, but acts as a guide for guardians, Power of Attorney agents, and trustees.  It can be provided to your selected guardians and a copy can be saved with the lawyers who helped you set up your will and Powers of Attorney.
  • Powers of Attorney (POAs): Create agents, people who can legally act on behalf of your child for financial, health care and other life areas. They are selected by you, for after your death or when you are temporarily or permanently not capable of caring for your child. These agents do not have to be the same people you select as guardians. These are legal documents best prepared with the help of a lawyer and must be notarized.

Wills:

Who will be your minor child’s guardian? What will they need to know about your child?
How will your child be financially supported while a minor? It’s recommended that parents select someone different than the guardians to manage their child’s finances. Think about close friends as well as your parents or siblings. If your child is older, think about adults with whom your child has a bond. This can help if you want your child to continue in their current school, job, or neighborhood.
List each child individually when naming a guardian, and list all your minor children. Probate courts will not assume you want the same guardian for all your children unless you list them that way and might appoint a separate guardian for unlisted children!

            For ex: “I/We name Harold and Maude Green as guardians for our minor children Georgia Brown, Michael Brown, and Theodore Brown”.

Important: Do not directly leave your child with disabilities any money or assets in your will. Instead, have that child’s share of their inheritance pass to a Special Needs Trust and/or ABLE Account (as described below). Note that in this situation, it’s good to have a lawyer draw up the will to make sure that the inheritance does not impact your child’s current or future benefits, such as Social Security programs or Medicaid.

Financial Planning

Government Benefits: For the present time, and for your child’s future

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for your child at any age. The SSI program makes cash assistance payments to aged, blind, and disabled persons (including children) who have limited income and resources. Many states pay a supplemental benefit to persons in addition to their Federal benefits.

People who qualify for SSI may, in some states, qualify for Medicaid health insurance, which is either free or low-cost.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program for disabled and blind persons. The amount of the benefit is based on your child’s contributions to Social Security OR based on the parents’ earnings. Your child must meet Social Security criteria for disability.

Social Security Administration provides a useful comparison chart on important differences between the two programs on their Red Book page.

Payments from either program are often not enough to pay for everything your child may need or want, and any money or assets in your child’s name may cause their Social Security benefits, Medicaid coverage, and other benefit programs (supported housing, SNAP /food stamps, etc.) to be cut back or eliminated.

Funding your child’s future directly

Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts are ways to provide for your child financially that do not reduce their government benefits. They differ in many ways, with their own pros and cons. You might wish to have both an SNT and an ABLE account based on your family’s circumstances.

An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings account that can fund disability expenses. Currently, the beneficiary of the account (the person with a disability) must have acquired the disability before age 26, and this age limit will increase to before age 46 on January 1, 2026. The beneficiary of the account owns the funds. Interest (income) earned by the funds will not be taxed. Anyone can contribute to the account (the individual with disabilities, their family members, friends, or a Special Needs Trust).

The funds in the ABLE account are generally NOT COUNTED as income or assets against an individual’s eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, and other programs with income and asset limits, such as federal student aid, HUD housing programs, and SNAP (food stamp) benefits.

Money from an ABLE account may be used for disability-related expenses to supplement benefits through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, employment, and other resources. The ABLE National Resource Center gives specifics on ABLE accounts on their website.

Special Needs Trust (SNT): A trust is a legal “tool” for managing funds, and Special Needs Trusts are set up so that the beneficiary of the trust, in this case your child with disabilities, can have the funds used on their behalf. Money in the SNT is not counted against income limits for government benefit programs. You can arrange for the Special Needs Trust to be the beneficiary for life insurance policies and retirement plans. You can let friends and relatives know that they can give or leave money/assets to your child through the trust.

Government benefits will cover most of the basic needs while monies from the trust can pay for your child’s wants. Only a qualified attorney should set up the trust. If it is done incorrectly, your child’s benefits could be at risk.

There are several types of SNTs. The one most commonly set up by parents or guardians for a child is called a third-party special needs trust, which means that the funds in the trust are from someone other than the child. Military parents may designate Survivor Benefit Plan payments to an adult dependent child with disabilities, but only through a first party trust.

NOTE: Unlike ABLE accounts, which were set up according to federal law, there is no “official” source of information on Special Needs Trusts. Many elder and disability law practices will have information on their websites about SNTs. Additional information from disability organizations can be found at:

ARC of the United States: Type “Special Needs Trust” in the search bar to find a large number of articles on the topic, not only for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Military OneSource: Type “Special Needs Trust” into the search bar for military-specific information on SNTs.

It’s important to know that a professional should help you create the SNT. Consult with an attorney with expertise in elder and disability law. When naming trustees, it’s important to not only name yourselves, but to name backup (“secondary”) trustees to cover situations when you are not able to act as trustees. Setting up secondary trustees is separate from setting up agents using a Power of Attorney (POA). The authority of an agent under a POA may not be accepted by the financial or legal organization where the trust funds are held. You may choose to use the same individuals you selected for your financial POA, or different people.

Special Needs Alliance “is a national alliance of attorneys for special needs planning.”  They have a directory of attorneys which currently lists two attorneys in Washington State who are members of that organization.

You can search for attorneys with SNT experience through the American Bar Association.

Legal work can be expensive! Here are some resources to seek out free or low-cost help and referrals:

  • WashingtonLawHelp.org: This website has articles on topics about future planning, such as wills, guardianship of children and adults, alternatives to guardianship, Powers of Attorney, and information for non-parents raising children along with many others
  • CLEAR intake hotline: “CLEAR is the statewide intake line for free and low-cost civil legal aid in Washington. Call 1 (888) 201-1014 or use the online intake form on the website. Seniors (people age 60 and over) can access intake by calling CLEAR*Sr at 1 (888) 387-7111. Veterans may dial 1 (855) 657-8387”.
  • ABA Home Front: If you are military, and you do not wish to use your Judge Attorney General (JAG) or they do not have experience with Special Needs Trusts or other future planning when your child has a disability, the American Bar Association has several programs, including free or low-cost options, to locate an attorney or program with a focus on military families. Veterans can get free legal answers on this website, too!

For information on future planning steps in your child’s teen years and through adulthood, see PAVE’s article: What Will Happen When We’re Gone? Planning for the Future for Your Child with Disabilities, Part 2: Age 13 through Adulthood

Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), Part 2: How Does EFMP Benefit Military Families?

A Brief Overview

  • This is part of a two-part series on this topic of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). This article continues from Part 1: What Makes a Military Family Exceptional?
  • EFMP consists of three parts that work together for identification and enrollment, assignment coordination, and family support.
  • An off-site centralized office within the branch of service determines eligibility for EFMP and level of need.
  • Enrollment should be updated when there is new medical or educational information, and at least every three years.
  • EFMP enrollment ensures the family member’s needs are considered in the assignment process, although the military requirements take priority.
  • EFMP Family Support provides nonmedical case management, information, resources, and support.
  • Beginning in 2023, eligible families may access 20-32 hours of EFMP respite care per month through their branch of service, depending on level of need and availability of services.
  • Get the most from EFMP by contacting the installation’s Family Support office for information, resources, and support.

Full Article

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is a mandatory program for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that helps military dependents with special medical or educational needs. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force each have an Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The Coast Guard, which operates under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, has a similar program called the Special Needs Program (SNP).

EFMP is made up of three parts that work together to provide:

  1. Identification and Enrollment
  2. Assignment Coordination
  3. Family Support

Identification and Enrollment 

This is the entry point for EFMP. When the service member turns in the enrollment forms, they are sent for processing to an off-site centralized office within the branch that will determine eligibility and the level of need. The decisions are made by medical document reviewers who do not meet or speak with the dependents. Upon completion, the servicemember will receive a letter of verification from the EFMP program for their branch of service.

The same office will determine eligibility for TRICARE’s Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) supplemental medical insurance plan.

EFMP enrollment should be updated anytime the family member has new medical or educational information, and at least every three years.

Assignment Coordination

Once a family member is enrolled in the program, personnel and medical departments coordinate future duty assignments with consideration of the family member’s medical or educational needs. Although the family member’s needs are considered in the assignment process, military requirements take priority for assignment decisions. Orders that accommodate the family member’s needs may include:

  • Accompanied assignment only to locations that have services and resources to support the family member’s medical or educational needs.
  • Unaccompanied assignment, in which the servicemember relocates to the new duty station without the dependents, for a shorter duration than standard duty rotations.

If a service member disagrees with the availability or lack of availability of services at their next duty station, Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 1315.19 (issued June 2023) provides them up to 14 calendar days from the date of the original assignment notification to request a second review and submit updated medical or educational information. A service being “available” does not mean the family won’t encounter a waiting list for these services, providers who are no longer taking clients or patients, or other interruptions in services.

Families enrolled in EFMP should ensure their paperwork is complete and current before assignment and permanent change of station (PCS) to a new duty station. Get ahead of assignment coordination and allow time for updates to be processed by updating the enrollment forms before the servicemember’s window opens for selecting orders.

Enrollment in EFMP does not prevent the service member from deploying or taking an assignment on unaccompanied orders.

Family Support

This is the department that directly serves families with nonmedical case management and support, including:

  • Information about local military and community programs, services, and supports.
  • Partnering with the School Liaison to provide information about early intervention services, special education, and school-based supports for students with disabilities.
  • Assistance with navigating DoD medical, educational, and counseling systems.
  • Local programs and activities for the benefit of families enrolled in EFMP, such as support groups, classes, and regional or installation events.
  • Warm handoffs to EFMP programs and School Liaisons at the next duty station.

Beginning in 2023, EFMP family support providers are required to personally contact each family assigned to their caseload and every family using the respective service’s respite care program at least once annually.

Find your EFMP enrollment or family support. In the drop-down menu for “Program or service”, select “EFMP Family Support” or “EFMP Enrollment”. Then, select your location from the drop-down menu labeled “Location based on”.

Respite Care

Eligibility requirements for EFMP respite care differ by branch of service and availability of services varies by location. The 2023 DoD Instruction 1315.19 standardized the respite care hours to 20-32 hours per month, across all branches of service, depending upon level of need of the eligible family member. It also extended coverage to include adult dependents and added the opportunity for eligible families to request additional services based on exceptional circumstances.

EFMP respite care is not an entitlement program, but a benefit available only to those who qualify. However, families who are ineligible for EFMP respite care may be able to access community-based respite care programs. EFMP respite care is also separate from TRICARE’s ECHO respite and ECHO Home Health Care (EHHC) respite programs, both with their own eligibility requirements.

Getting the most benefit from EFMP

Families enrolled in EFMP can get the most benefit from EFMP by contacting their installation’s Family Support office to:

  • Connect with the Family Support office at the new duty station to facilitate services and supports prior to a PCS
  • Locate resources at the state and local levels, such as civilian respite programs and disability-specific events
  • Identify state and federal benefits for which the enrolled family member may be eligible, such as Medicaid waivers, Vocational Rehabilitation, and scholarships for individuals with disabilities

The DoD developed the EFMP Family Support Feedback Tool as a method for families who have accessed their installation’s EFMP Family Support to provide feedback about their experiences. This information applies to the DoD’s Office of Special Needs’ policy development and program improvements for all branches of services.

Download the EFMP Enrollment Checklist.

Learn More about EFMP

This is part of a two-part series on this topic of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). This article continues from Part 1: What Makes a Military Family Exceptional?

STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents) provides information and resources to military families, individuals with disabilities, and both military and civilian professionals serving military families enrolled in EFMP. Register for upcoming STOMP workshops and webinars to learn more about the lifespan of benefits available to military families under federal law and military programs.

Military OneSource is an official DoD website and a information hub for all aspects of military life. EFMP & Me, a companion website managed by Military OneSource, organizes hands-on tools, federal and state information, military and civilian services and resources, and related supports and programs in one place.

Additional Resources

Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), Part 1: What Makes a Military Family Exceptional?

A Brief Overview

  • This is part one of a two-part series on this topic of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). This article continues in Part 2: How Does EFMP Benefit Military Families?
  • Every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is required to have a program for dependents of active-duty service members (ADSMs) with special medical or educational needs called the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
  • The Coast Guard is the only branch of service that uses a different name for their program – the Special Needs Program (SNP).
  • Enrollment is mandatory for all dependents of active-duty service members who have a special medical or educational need, regardless of the dependent’s age.
  • The two standardized enrollment forms are available on Military OneSource and, where available, on branch-specific websites.
  • Enrollment support is available on installation at family support centers.

Full Article

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is a mandatory program for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces that helps military dependents with special medical or educational needs. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force each have an Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The Coast Guard, which operates under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, has a similar program called the Special Needs Program (SNP).

Purpose and Intent

The purpose of the EFMP is to –

  • identify dependents of servicemembers with special education or medical needs,
  • make sure the family’s needs are considered during the assignment process,
  • connect families with resources and assistance wherever they are assigned, and
  • assist with questions, concerns, and resources.

Although the purpose of EFMP and SNP are the same across all branches of service, there are some differences with names, procedures, and forms. There are also differences by installation, such as the availability of respite care providers and services provided by EFMP Family Support.

Eligibility

Enrollment in EFMP is mandatory for eligible dependents of active-duty service members (ASDMs). It is not an age-limited or age-specific program; dependent children and adults, including spouses, incapacitated adults (unmarried adult children with disabilities, parents and parents-in-law, and other adult dependents), must be enrolled in EFMP if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have special medical needs, including chronic and/or mental health conditions, that require ongoing treatment from medical specialists.
  • Have significant behavioral health concerns.
  • Are eligible for or receive early intervention services (EIS) through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for infants and toddlers (ages 0-3).
  • Are eligible for or receive special education services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students aged 3 through 21.

National Guard and Reserve personnel with family members who have special medical or educational needs may be eligible during the time period when the service member is called for active-duty orders under Title 10 (10 U.S.C.).

Enrollment

Enrollment in EFMP or SNP begins with two enrollment forms that are available for download from Military OneSource:

  • DD Form 2792, “Family Member Medical Summary”: This form must be completed by the family member’s TRICARE-authorized primary care provider. This can be either the primary care manager or a specialty care provider.
  • DD Form 2792-1, “Special Education/Early Intervention Summary”: The instructions state that the child’s IFSP or IEP must also be provided with this form. If the child has an IFSP, is not yet enrolled in school, or is home-schooled, the parents may complete and sign the fields reserved for the educational authority.

Medical providers often require a separate appointment for completing the EFMP paperwork. Ask about the provider’s policy for completing paperwork and how to submit the forms before the visit while scheduling the appointment. The family member’s TRICARE plan and how the provider bills the appointment will determine whether there will be a copay for the visit.

Although all branches of service use the same standardized forms, some of the services have developed website platforms for families to submit the forms electronically.

Save time in the future by keeping a copy of the completed enrollment forms and IFSP or IEP in your home records system. Never give away your last copy!

Help with Enrollment

If this is the first time the family has submitted the EFMP forms, it is a good idea to first take them to the branch-specific military and family support centers on installations for review, including:

Reserve components also have branch-specific military and family support centers.  Learn more about what these programs offer and links to the branch-specific Reserve programs in this article from Military OneSource.

Find your EFMP enrollment or family support. In the drop-down menu for “Program or service”, select “EFMP Family Support” or “EFMP Enrollment”. Then, select your location from the drop-down menu labeled “Location based on”.

Download the EFMP Enrollment Checklist

Learn More about EFMP

This is part of a two-part series on this topic of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). This article continues in Part 2: How Does EFMP Benefit Military Families?

Additional Resources

Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 3: How the Compact Protects Academic Progress toward Graduation 

A Brief Overview 

  • This is part of a three-part series on this topic of MIC3. This article continues from Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 1: The Impact of MIC3 on Military Families and Part 2: Supporting Appropriate Placement and Inclusion of Military Families. 
  • Under MIC3, schools must place military children in courses and programs based on placement and assessments performed by the sending school. 
  • Schools and districts may waive course requirements for placement and/or graduation, if a child has met the sending school’s requirements for grade advancement, placement, or graduation. 
  • A child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan must receive comparable services and reasonable accommodations or modifications until the receiving school can re-evaluate the child. 
  • A child may be allowed additional excused absences for deployment-related activities when approved by the superintendent or school principal. 
  • MIC3 provides guidance for when and how schools must explore alternative means for military children to complete graduation requirements, which may include allowing the student to receive a diploma from the sending school after relocation. 
  • The receiving school shall accept exit exams conducted by the sending school or, if that is not possible, the receiving school must arrange for the child to get their diploma from the sending school. 

Full Article 

The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3, pronounced “mick three”) is the more commonly used name for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children. MIC3’s rules provide consistent guidelines for how public schools address the most common challenges military-connected students experience during a PCS (permanent change of station, the military’s term for “relocation”). MIC3 has been adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Washington codified MIC3 into state policy as RCW 28A.705.010.  

Placement and Attendance 

MIC3 helps students obtain appropriate placement by addressing: 

  • Course and educational program placement. 
  • Special education services. 
  • Deployment-related absences. 

Course and Educational Program Placement 

Under MIC3, after enrollment, the receiving school must place the child in the appropriate courses or programs based on what they were in at the sending school or educational assessments conducted by the sending school. This includes but is not limited to honors, gifted and talented, advanced placement; vocational, technical, and career pathways; and English as a Second Language (ESL). The receiving school may evaluate the child later to ensure the child meets the receiving school’s criteria for eligibility in specific classes or programs. If the receiving school doesn’t offer a similar course or program but another school in the district does, the district may let the child take part in the courses where they are available. 

The U.S. Department of Education emphasized the need for timely evaluations and eligibility determinations for military-connected children in the Letter to State Directors of Special Education on Ensuring a High-Quality Education for Highly Mobile Children (issued November 10, 2022)

The MIC3 allows receiving schools the flexibility to waive specific course requirements when a student has met the sending school’s criteria for advancing to the next grade level. For instance, if a student completed a 6th-grade Civics class at the sending school, but the receiving school mandates a different course before moving on to 7th grade, the receiving school can waive this requirement if the student has met the criteria from the previous state. Transcripts should reflect the student’s eligibility for the next grade, and if needed, the receiving school can contact the sending school for detailed course descriptions. MIC3 State Commissioners can assist parents in exchanging information between districts for Compact-related issues, including course content. 

However, Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) overseas are not covered by the MIC3. Families relocating to these overseas schools must request a cross-comparison of credits. The placement of the child in these schools is determined by the DoDDS school system, and it may not follow the same process as state public schools in the United States. 

Special Education Services 

The Interstate Compact mandates that receiving schools must adhere to laws governing students with special education needs, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. When a child arrives with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 Plan specifying accommodations, the new school is required to provide comparable services and support to meet the child’s needs. This includes services like Extended School Year (ESY), and these services should continue until assessments indicate that the child no longer requires them. However, MIC3 does not cover Individualized Family Services Plans (IFSPs) because these plans are state-specific, and the availability of early intervention services varies widely among states. Eligibility for services is determined by the receiving state, and there is no guarantee that the child will receive the same services. 

In cases involving a child with a Section 504 or ADA Title II plan, the receiving school must provide reasonable accommodations or modifications to ensure equal access to education. Regardless of whether it’s an IEP, 504 Plan, or Title II Plan, the receiving school has the authority to evaluate the child later to assess the continued appropriateness of their educational plan. To facilitate this process, parents are advised to maintain paper copies of their child’s educational plans, service agreements, evaluations, progress reports, and records from sources outside of the school. Sharing these documents, along with unofficial records, can help the receiving school better understand what has and hasn’t been effective for the student in the past. 

Deployment 

Under MIC3, schools can allow additional excused absences for a child whose military parent is called to duty for, is on leave from, or just returned from deployment to a combat zone or combat support posting. The district superintendent or school principal has the authority to make this decision, as well as to limit the number or length of excused absences to make sure a child doesn’t miss too much school. Often, military families may request this time to celebrate the holiday with a servicemember who was deployed during the calendar event, or to visit family following long separations. 

Graduation 

MIC3 seeks to help students graduate on time with guidance regarding: 

  • Waiving graduation requirements. 
  • Exit exams. 
  • Transfers during senior year. 

Waiving Graduation Requirements 

MIC3 instructs the receiving school to waive courses that would otherwise be required for graduation when the student has completed similar courses that met the graduation requirements at the sending school. For example, if the student completed the two of the three mathematics classes required before graduation at the receiving school but the third class, Everyday Math, wasn’t offered at the sending school. Instead, the student took a class called Applied Mathematics that covered similar content. The receiving school may waive the requirement for Everyday Math when shown proof that the student learned the same or similar content in Applied Mathematics. 

If a child already qualified to graduate from the sending school (all required coursework completed satisfactorily), and the receiving school does NOT waive their own required coursework, the receiving school must give the child an “alternative means” of getting the required coursework so the student can graduate on time. If the child transferred at the beginning of or during their senior year and all alternatives have been looked at but the child is still not eligible to graduate from the receiving school; then, the receiving school and sending school can make sure the child gets a diploma from the sending school. 

Exit Exams 

The receiving state shall accept exams from the sending state that are required for graduation, including end-of-course exams, national norm-referenced achievement tests, and alternative testing, in place of testing requirements for graduation in the sending state. If a child transfers to the receiving school in their senior year, and the receiving school can’t accept the exams from the sending school, then the receiving school must arrange for the child to get their diploma from the sending school. 

Learn More about MIC3 

This is part of a three-part series on this topic of MIC3. Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 1: The Impact of MIC3 on Military Families introduces the scope and purpose of MIC3. Part 2: Supporting Appropriate Placement and Inclusion of Military Children outlines MIC3’s guidelines for how public schools address challenges related to enrollment and eligibility. This article explores MIC3s placement, attendance, and graduation provisions. 

Support with Compact-Related Issues 

Parents can use this Step-by-Step Checklist to resolve issues that fall under the provisions of MIC3 For additional support, parents may contact their School Liaison, Parent Center, or MIC3 State Commissioner. As the parent center of Washington State, PAVE provides training to military-connected families, individuals with disabilities, and professionals through the STOMP program. Parents seeking individualized support may contact PAVE through the Get Help Form

Additional Information 

Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 2: Supporting Appropriate Placement and Inclusion of Military Families 

A Brief Overview 

  • This is part of a three-part series on this topic of MIC3, which continues from Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 1: The Impact of MIC3 on Military Families. The third part of the series is Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 3: How MIC3 Protects Academic Progress toward Graduation.  
  • MIC3 allows military parents to hand-carry “unofficial” (temporary) school records from the sending school to give to the receiving school for enrollment. 
  • The sending school must provide official records within ten business days of the receiving school’s request. 
  • If students have not been immunized, they have 30 days from enrollment to get the required shots or receive the first shot in a series. 
  • If a child was enrolled and attending kindergarten at the sending school, they must be allowed to enroll and continue at the receiving school, regardless of the school’s age requirement.  
  • A military child can keep going to the school in the school or district they have been attending, even if the person they are living with is in a different school district. 
  • MIC3 allows flexibility concerning extracurricular activities to include military children even if they can’t meet an application deadline. 

Full Article 

The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3, pronounced “mick three”) is the more commonly used name for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children. MIC3’s rules provide consistent guidelines for how public schools address the most common challenges military-connected students experience during a PCS (permanent change of station, the military’s term for “relocation”). Washington codified MIC3 into state policy as RCW 28A.705.010.  

Enrollment 

MIC3 seeks to prevent students from losing academic time with enrollment provisions that address: 

  • Unofficial or hand-carried records. 
  • Official records and transcripts. 
  • Immunization requirements. 
  • Kindergarten and first-grade entrance ages. 

Unofficial or Hand-Carried Records 

MIC3 allows military parents to hand-carry photocopied or “unofficial” (temporary) school records from the sending school to give to the receiving school. Waiting for the original official transcripts can be time-consuming and not beneficial to the student since receiving official documentation from another state or overseas can take weeks. Under MIC3, the receiving school must use the unofficial records for the child’s enrollment. The unofficial records must include attendance records, academic information, and grade placement (part of the primary documents package). 

Official Records and Transcripts 

It is the receiving school’s responsibility to immediately request an official set of records (transcripts) from the sending school. The sending school must send out the official records within ten business days, with extensions allowed for school breaks. After school staff return from a break, the official records must be provided within ten business days.  

Immunization Requirements 

If a child hasn’t already had the immunizations (shots to protect against certain diseases) the receiving school requires, the student has 30 days from enrollment to get the shots. If the child needs a series of shots to be immunized, they must get the first shot within 30 days. The school may require a negative test for tuberculosis, which is not an immunization and, therefore, not covered by MIC3. 

Kindergarten and First Grade Entrance Ages 

When enrolling a child in school, MIC3 enables them to enter the grade they were in at the sending school. Suppose a child was enrolled and already attending kindergarten at their previous school. In that case, the new school must allow the child to enroll in kindergarten even if the age requirement differs. Suppose the child should be starting first grade. In that case, MIC3 says that if the child completed the previous grade in the sending school (including kindergarten), they could enroll in the next grade at the receiving school, even if the age requirements differ. The letter or transcript from the sending school must show the child’s attendance in kindergarten if the concerns is about kindergarten eligibility. 

Eligibility 

Regarding eligibility, MIC3 provides guidance on the issues of: 

  • Special power of attorney with guardianship. 
  • Extracurricular activities. 

Special Power of Attorney with Guardianship 

During deployments and other military mobilizations, children of servicemembers may live with another family member, non-custodial parent, or guardian through a Military Family Care Plan. Under MIC3, a military child can keep going to the school in the school or district they have been attending, even if the person they are living with is in a different school district. The school district cannot charge local tuition for living outside the district under these circumstances, except for optional programs offered by the school or district. The person taking care of the child will be responsible for transporting the student to the school while the child resides out-of-district. At enrollment, if not given to the school earlier, the parent or guardian must be provided with the Military Family Care Plan, Special Powers of Attorney, and/or custody orders. 

Extracurricular Activities 

States and local schools can be flexible so military children can be in sports and extracurricular activities, even if the child can’t meet an application deadline, including tryouts, seasonal conditioning, and other prerequisites instituted by the district or team supervisor. The child will still have to meet the eligibility standards for the activity, such as auditioning for sports or a music program. MIC3 requires that school and district programs make “reasonable efforts” to allow military children to participate in extracurricular activities, but this does not include holding open or creating additional spaces. MIC3 does not apply to state athletic associations, like travel teams or sportsman clubs, which are not a part of state or district education systems. 

Support with MIC3-Related Issues 

Parents can use this Step-by-Step Checklist to resolve issues that fall under the provisions of MIC3. For additional support, parents may contact their School Liaison, Parent Center, or MIC3 State Commissioner. As the parent center of Washington State, PAVE provides training to military-connected families, individuals with disabilities, and professionals through the STOMP program. Parents seeking individualized support may contact PAVE through the Get Help Form

Learn More about MIC3 

This article is part of a three-part series on the topic of MIC3. Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, Part 1: The Impact of MIC3 on Military Families introduces the scope and purpose of MIC3. This article outlines MIC3’s guidelines for how public schools address challenges related to enrollment and eligibility. Part 3: How MIC3 Protects Academic Progress toward Graduation explores MIC3’s placement, attendance, and graduation provisions. 

Additional Information 

Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 1: The Impact of MIC3 on Military Families 

A Brief Overview 

Full Article 

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children was created to provide a smooth transition for military children as their families relocate from installation to installation during a permanent change of station, or PCS (the military’s word for “relocation”). Often referred to as the MIC3 (“mick three”) for Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. MIC3 was created to address the most common challenges military-connected students experience while relocating. MIC3 helps students keep from losing academic time during military-related relocation, obtain appropriate placement, and be able to graduate on time. All 50 states and the District of Columbia participate. Washington State implements MIC3 as a state policy under RCW 28A.705.010

Applicability of MIC3 

MIC3’s rules provide consistent guidelines for how public schools address the most common challenges military-connected students experience when relocating. MIC3 rules only affect students in public schools and Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) from kindergarten to 12th grade if their parent falls into one of these categories: 

  • An active-duty service member, including members of the National Guard and Reserve activated under Title 10. 
  • A veteran for one year following medical discharge or retirement. 
  • A service member who died on active duty for one year after the death. 
  • A uniformed member of the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the United States Public Health Services (USPHS). 

MIC3 State Representation 

The MIC3 operates through a network of state commissioners, and each U.S. state and territory has its own MIC3 State Commissioner. These commissioners are typically appointed or designated by the state or territory governor and serve as the point of contact for military families, educators, and other stakeholders within their jurisdiction.  

The Commission ensures that Member States adhere to the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3). Its primary responsibilities encompass three main areas: 

  1. The Commission ensures that each Member State establishes a state commissioner, a designated authority responsible for overseeing MIC3 compliance within their respective state. 
  2. It ensures the establishment or development of a state council in each state, facilitating communication and coordination among key stakeholders. 
  3. The Commission ensures Member States’ compliance with MIC3 rules, regulations, and by-laws, as well as their state statutes, to ensure uniform educational opportunities for military children across state lines.  

In 2009, Washington State adopted MIC3 and appointed the current Washington Commissioner

Key Provisions of MIC3 

MIC3 doesn’t address all issues military families encounter, but it provides clear and consistent guidance for critical issues related to: 

  1. Enrollment, 
  2. Eligibility, 
  3. Placement and attendance, and 
  4. Graduation. 

Support with MIC3-Related Issues 

Parents can use this Step-by-Step Checklist to resolve issues that fall under the provisions of MIC3. For additional support, parents may contact their School Liaison, Parent Center, or MIC3 State Commissioner. As the parent center of Washington State, PAVE provides training to military-connected families, individuals with disabilities, and professionals through the STOMP program. Parents seeking individualized support may contact PAVE through the Get Help Form

Learn More about MIC3 

This is part of a three-part series on this topic of MIC3, which continues in Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), Part 2: MIC3 Supporting Appropriate Placement and Inclusion of Military Children, and Part 3: How MIC3 Protects Academic Progress toward Graduation. 

Additional Information 

MIC3 Step-by-Step Checklist-Resolve School Issues with the Interstate Compact

This resource shows you specific steps to take to resolve school issues for your child, using the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.  It gives you contact information for people who can help you with different situations covered by the Compact. 

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (“the Compact”) is an agreement among all 50 States and the District of Columbia to address certain school transition issues for military children consistently, from State to State. It’s often known by the acronym MIC3 (“mick-three”), which stands for Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, after the commission responsible for designing it and getting it passed as legislation. The Compact applies to a student if he or she is a school-aged child enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, when their parent is a(n):

  • Active-duty member of the uniformed services, including members of the National Guard and Reserve on active-duty orders (Title 10)
  • Member or veteran for one year following medical discharge or retirement
  • Member who died on active duty, for one year after the death
  • Uniformed member of the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and United States Public Health Services (USPHS)

What Does the Compact Helps With?

The Compact provides uniform policy guidance for how States respond to the most common challenges highly mobile military families experience, including:

  1. Temporarily accepting unofficial school records for enrollment and conditional placement
  2. Requiring schools to transfer official school records within ten (10) business days with adaptations in specific situations
  3. Starting ages for kindergarten and first grade
  4. Continuing Special Education, Accommodations and Modifications following a move
  5. Waiving State-specific course requirements to avoid repeating courses
  6. Getting the right program or course placement
  7. Accepting specific testing alternatives in place of those required for graduation in the receiving state
  8. Allowing a student to complete their diploma through the sending school while finishing their education at the receiving school
  9. Requiring that schools make a reasonable effort to ensure that eligible students can take part in extra-curricular activities
  10. Excusing absences related to deployment activities

What are My Responsibilities as a Parent?

Make sure you have completed your responsibilities under the Compact before you try to apply it to your student’s situation.

  1. Gather and provide a copy of your student’s basic document package, including:
  2. Birth certificate
  3. Shot record (immunizations)
  4. Letter or transcript from the sending school showing attendance, academic information, and grade placement
  5. Official military orders
  6. Family Care Plan or proof of guardianship if the child lives with another family member or legal guardian
  7. Add any extra records related to a specific issue. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), or a Section 504 or ADA Title II plan, include this in the documents package.  Keep paper copies of the plan or program, service agreements, evaluations and progress reports, and records from non-school sources.
  8. Make copies of all documents and never give away your last copy. Hand-carry the entire documents package to the receiving school.
  9. Read the Compact to understand what it does and does not do.  The Parent Guide provides an overview of the Compact and the Compact Rules contain the full policy document to guide how the Compact applies to a situation.
  10. Know who to contact for help resolving a conflict with an issue covered by the Compact. (See Steps 2 and 3, below)

Step-by-Step Suggestions for Using the Compact

Step 1: Try to resolve the issue at the school level. 

Contact your child’s school principal or other top-level school administrator.  You can usually find email information on your child’s school or district website, or you can call the school’s front office.

Keep a written record of what happens. To have a record, either contact by email, or if you speak to them in person or by phone, send a follow-up email or letter (keep a copy of the letter). When you get a response, keep the response email or letter. Keep all emails or letters about this issue in the folder or binder where you keep all your child’s school records and information.

Here are some things to include in the letter or email:

  • Describe the issue
  • State that your child is covered by the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
  • Describe what you have already done (provided documents, called the school, etc.)
  • Ask the school to resolve the issue
  • Ask for a response by email or by letter
  • Attach a copy of or link to the Compact rules document
  • Attach copies of your child’s basic document package and any additional information needed

Step 2: If the issue is not fixed by the school’s principal or top administrator, contact either your Parent Center (for issues about special education, supports and services, Section 504, or ADA Title II Plan) or School Liaison for help. They are familiar with the process and can connect with the most useful staff to resolve your child’s situation.

Parent Centers are federally funded organizations in each State, District of Columbia, and US Territories. They work with families of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities, birth to 26. They will provide you with state-specific training and information, so you can resolve issues relating to your child’s disabilities. Parent Centers can help you whether your child attends a public school or a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school.

School Liaisons connect students and families with information, resources, and people. They are the point of contact between an installation’s military families and local schools and school districts. They are experts in the complications that can come up during a PCS to a new duty station.

Step 3: If the issue continues despite involving your Parent Center and/or School Liaison, contact your MIC3 State Commissioner.  The State Commissioner is responsible for knowing their state’s compact statute.  They assist in informal dispute resolution between military families, school districts, and others involved.  To locate your State Commissioner’s contact information, click on your state in the interactive map

More Assistance and Information:

Military Onesource searchable database (School Liaison contact information)

The MIC3 Parent Toolkit is a downloadable pdf with all the links you need related to using the Compact.

Learn about the role of School Liaisons

MIC3 contact form to request help with a school issue

Find Compact legislation in your state

OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs) Letter to State Directors of Special Education on Ensuring a High-Quality Education for Highly Mobile Children (Policy Support 22-02)