EFMP offers new family support service

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Lacie Jo Collins
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Most people know they can receive medical help with the Exceptional Family Member Program, but there is another side to EFMP.

The newest addition to the program is EFMP-Family Support, which provides information, referrals, support groups and recreational events to families in need.

"Last year, our Air Force leadership recognized the need for additional support for families with special needs and created 35 EFMP-Family Support Coordinator positions throughout the world," said Nancy Hoehn, Ramstein EFMP-Family Support coordinator. "Even smaller bases have a professional at their Airman & Family Readiness Center designated to support families with special needs, creating a powerful network throughout the Air Force community."

Although families with special needs can benefit from EFMP, some are still hesitant to enroll in the mandatory program. There is a misconception that enrolling will affect promotion opportunities for the military member, and Mrs. Hoehn works hard to dispel this myth.

"Promotion boards do not have access to medical and educational records, and do not know if a family has special needs," she said. "Enrollment in EFMP does not harm a career, it is a misperception people believe because it can limit the assignments family members can accompany their sponsor."

Before PCS orders are issued, EFMP-Medical reviews the needs of family members to make sure their medical and educational needs are met at the new location. If the base cannot meet a family member's needs, the sponsor has the option to accept the assignment, go unaccompanied or request a reassignment.

To ensure the assignment coordination process does not delay orders, military members should make an appointment with the EFMP-medical office as soon as they get their assignment notification.

"The school liaison offices and EFMP-Family Support work closely together to provide information, hold recreational events and provide transition assistance," Mrs. Hoehn said. "We can connect with our networks throughout the world to provide families with information before they start looking for new services, schools and a house."

Families can also get emotional and informational support through services offered by the Air Force and Army EFMP.

"As our EFMP-Family Support is growing, we are developing new partnerships and additional resources," said Mrs. Hoehn. "We promote new services through outreach events, e-mail and websites. It is an exciting time to be a part of the EFMP and I feel privileged to work with our military families."