ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
With a new school year in full swing, the Exceptional Family Member Program staff at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, wants to remind active-duty Airmen the office is available to provide support for them and their family members who have special needs.
EFMP is a Department of Defense program which is available through all service branches and enrollment is mandatory.
“Our job is to help service members navigate or overcome whatever challenges their household could be facing because they have a child or spouse with a special need,” said Renea McFeeters, EFMP Family Support coordinator. “For instance, if an Airman has a child with autism, this office could find services to help the child, such as speech therapy or work with the parents in preparing for an individualized educational plan.
“We try to ease whatever may be a burden,” she continued. “If an Airman is worried about the well-being of a dependent, it can be hard to fully focus on the Air Force mission, and that could be detrimental.”
As a coordinator, McFeeters assesses the need of each family’s needs, works to identify gaps in service, advocates for improved services on and off the installation and pursues community resource information and referrals.
EFMP requires the identification of all family members who require long-term general medical, special education, early intervention or modified housing.
“We also want to care for the caregiver,” she added. “This is done through the respite service provided through the program. Eligible families can receive up to 40 hours each month, of in-home childcare free of charge. This is an opportunity to allow the caregiver to rejuvenate how they choose.”
According to McFeeters, respite care is provided by well-trained and background screened providers who are monitored by local partner agencies.
“Families are grateful for the program because they don’t have to swim in this big ocean by themselves,” she said. “And when they PCS to another base, we reach out to the gaining installation to make sure they can connect with their family with community services there, and so there will be a continuity in service. We don’t want them to show up at the new base without support.”
DoD civil Service employees can utilize the service as a benefit on a space-available basis, but are not required to enroll in EFMP.
To get more information on the Air Force EFMP, visit https://www.afpc.af.mil/Airman-and-Family/Exceptional-Family-Member-Program/.
For more information about EFMP at Robins, call 478-926-1259 or e-mail Virginia.McFeeters.firstname.lastname@example.org.