The military established the Exceptional Family Member Program to assists those families with special needs identify and take advantage of available programs and services offered to them. These programs help families improve the quality of life for the individuals with special needs allowing them the best, most rewarding opportunities and life experiences possible. The family support for the Exceptional Family Member Program informs families of the available services and programs such as the following: information and referral for military and community services, education and outreach, referrals to other family center providers, local school and early intervention services information, warm handoffs to the Exceptional Family Member Program at the next location if the family is relocated, non-clinical case management including individualized services plans to name a few.
The military’s information and referral service is used to help families determine which community resources will best suit their individual needs, help the families access these identified resources, services and programs, follow up with the families to verify the family has been in contact with the support services of their choosing and finally, collaborate with the families to gauge the effectiveness of those resources.
Each family will be assigned a family support provider. The role of this provider is to provide information and referral services, non-medical case management, training and other forms of support including connecting families with similar circumstance to promote collaboration and share valuable experiences and information with one another around a common need or concern. The provider will also work as a liaison between the family and the members of similar programs at the new place of residence to make sure they are aware of all the programs and services available to them and how to apply for these benefits or entitlements. This can be somewhat difficult because often times when moving to a new location program and service names vary or fall under the responsibility of different agencies making transition complicated. The family support provider for the Exceptional Family Member Program will make this transition as smooth and hassle free as possible.
Families with special needs should call their local military installation’s family center or contact Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 and ask for a referral to a special needs consultant to obtain information about their installations Exceptional Family Member Program.
Enrollment in this program ensures that families documented medical and educational needs are taken into consideration in regards to the assignment process and provides support and assistance in finding helpful medical and educational programs and services.
Active duty military members are required to enroll family members with special needs in the Exceptional Family Member Program. Members of the Reserves and National Guard may enroll according to service-specific guidance. Enrollment forms can be obtained from the Exceptional Family Member Program medical point of contact at the installations military treatment facility or from the Marine Corps Community Services if a member of the Marine Corps.