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Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)

What is it?
The EFMP is a mandatory program based on public law and Department of Defense mandates. The program works with military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical, and personnel services to Army Families with special needs. Army Community Service coordinates and manages the installation EFMP for the garrison commander.

What has the Army done?
Soldier assignment agencies consider exceptional Family member needs in the assignment process and the Army Medical Department screens, documents needs, and initiates enrollment of Soldiers into the program. Soldiers update their records every three years or as conditions change. Family members are screened and EFMP enrollment is initiated during routine medical care and prior to overseas deployments. Screening occurs during in-processing, reassignment processing, and out-processing if a Soldier indicates they have or suspect they have an exceptional Family member. Civilian employees must identify dependent children with special education and medically-related service needs. Family members with medical needs should be identified each time a Civilian employee processes for an assignment to an overseas location where Family member travel is authorized at government expense.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Additional initiatives include partnerships with E.P. Global Communications, Inc. for education support to Families with special needs through resource directories, magazines, books, and seminars. The Military Child Education Coalition conducts and produces research reports, training modules, parent handbooks, and resource data. ALIGN Staffing, Inc. provides a network of respite workers and direct respite care services within the United States and is developing an EFMP working group to identify EFMP issues from a global perspective and to develop an action plan. A summit focusing on autism and other exceptional Family member topics is scheduled for February 2009.

Why is this important to the Army?
The EFMP contributes to force readiness by supplying resources to Families with members who have special needs, and this enhances their overall quality of life. Through the support provided to Family members with special needs, the EFMP helps bring balance to the lives of Army Families.

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