During the pandemic, many military families have found it difficult to gather information and get support from family and community services. That includes families with a dependent enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
For some families, this is not a new challenge, as they frequently struggle to reach the right person to talk to regarding an overseas screening or to find support. But for others, this is a new challenge.
In fact, EFMP status scares a lot of military families. To say they are worried about the program affecting their service member's career would not be an exaggeration. But the program can be helpful when aligning a duty station with the care available in the area.
On Monday, the Defense Department released the EFMP & Me tool with the goal of guiding EFMP families toward the information and resources they need, without having to go into an office, visit an installation or get someone on the phone.
"The Department of Defense is committed to supporting our families with special needs, and EFMP & Me is an important enhancement to the Exceptional Family Member Program," Kim Joiner, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said in a release.
Joiner added that the tool gives virtual access to military families at all stages of their lives.
Currently, the EFMP & Me tool is available only for family members, but portals for service members, service providers and leadership are coming soon. If you have a Military OneSource account, you can log in and save your information.
Creating an account, however, is not required. Nor is being enrolled in the EFMP. By inputting minimal information, you can curate and download checklists based on your needs. The options include child care, deployments and transition, among many others.
The EFMP & Me tool is available and easy to use on mobile devices, but it is not an app. The extent of the tool's impact is yet to be determined, but more access to information is always better than less.
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