For service members who have a family member with special needs, navigating through all the services available can be daunting. The Exceptional Family Member Program aims to take some of the stress away by offering comprehensive and coordinated Medical, Educational, Housing and Community support services.

According to Eric Klage, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center EFMP Medical Director, the EFMP in Europe operates through three independent systems.

The EFMP support service is medical, Klage said, and is offered at all Army Health Clinics.

"Specially trained EFMP champion providers are located at every military treatment facility and are familiar with particular diagnoses that require EFMP enrollment such as asthma, a developmental delay, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or Autism, Klage said. "They ensure that proper health care services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology or other specialized therapies can be provided."

Additionally, an EFMP Case Coordinator is positioned at each MTF. This person advocates and assists service members and their families with the EFMP medical and educational enrollment, disenrollment and update procedures.

"The Case Coordinator takes the stress out of this potential worrisome process by conducting face-to-face screening interviews for relevant family members working closely with the designated EFMP providers, scheduling EFMP screening appointment and completing pertinent EFMP forms prior to their EFMP health care provider visit," Klage said.

The second EFMP support service is education. This may be provided either through the Education and Developmental Intervention Services or the Department of Defense Education Activity schools where Individual Educational Plans are developed and applied for children with special educational requirements.

And lastly, the third EFMP support service is through Garrison Army Community Services

According to Shayla Craft, Baumholder ACS Systems Navigator, ACS is one of the first places that service member's come in contact with when relocating to Europe. "Here they are provided an initial EFMP in-processing briefing to ensure that specialized services are in place."

"Our main focus is to provide advocacy for families," Craft said. "We coordinate with losing installation and gaining installations; we provide family education and service plans; promote family support programs; work closely with other organizations such as EDIS, Tricare, Legal and CDC; and we can also assist with IEPs and educational support systems."

If you would like more information on EFMP, you can speak to your child's primary care manager; visit your local military treatment facility's web page; or you can also visit your local ACS.