FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Exceptional Family Member Program ensures family members with special needs get the help they need and also helps Soldiers get assigned to places where those needs can be met.
The Fort Rucker Army Community Service Exceptional Family Member Program now offers a short training briefing for educating Soldiers and families on what the program is, and how it helps take care of family members with special needs, according to Amanda Guettler, EFMP coordinator
“We have found overall that folks just don’t really understand if they need to be enrolled, why they need to be enrolled, or what the benefits of enrolling are,” she said, adding that she hopes that the EFMP 101 brief will help “mitigate some of that and clarify a lot of the unknowns about EFMP.
“The briefing is just the basics – we don’t get too deep into the weeds with it,” Guettler said.
EFMP is a mandatory program, and she said that many become frustrated when they find they must enroll in the program.
“A lot of that frustration comes from a lack of understanding about the EFMP process,” Guettler said. “Some Soldiers or family members are waiting until it is crunch time to take care of enrollment, whether it’s just an additional enrollment update or going overseas and needing a screening. The EFMP enrollment process is not speedy. On average, it’s a 45-day process once all of the information has been provided – that can take a couple of weeks or so for the family to gather – so, we just want to help make it a more seamless process for our Soldiers and family members.”
Guettler based EFMP 101 off of an Air Force briefing she recently observed being presented virtually at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, she said, adding that she was greatly impressed with the presentation.
She and the EFMP coordinator at Camp Simons, located at Eglin and supporting the 7th Special Forces Group, have both presented the EFMP 101 brief once a piece, and the feedback has been enthusiastically positive, Guettler said.
Guettler provided her brief to an NCO Academy class before it was even finalized, and said it went really well.
“They were highly engaged in the subject and asked so many questions,” she said. “They said that they just did not know all of these things that they were learning about EFMP, so that really encouraged me to go ahead faster than I was planning to, and get this up and running.”
The EFMP 101 brief lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on how many questions are asked by participants, Guettler said, adding that she will bring the brief to the requesting organization’s location of choice.
It is open to all Fort Rucker units and Soldiers as a training opportunity, and Guettler feels it would also benefit spouses and family readiness groups.
To request the brief or get more information on EFMP, call 255-9277.