Members of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel met on Tuesday to evaluate the current state of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), a DOD enrollment program that helps coordinate PCS assignments to support military families with special needs members.

The hearing titled “Exceptional Family Member Program – Are the Military Services Really Taking Care of Family Members?” highlighted a program seen as failing to provide necessities to many members of the military community in critical need of assistance.
“Somehow families are being taken for granted and are not being provided the services they both deserved and are required to have by law,” said subcommittee chair Jackie Speier.

The first panel represented advocates ranging from individuals to organizations which promote military family health related-issues.
“A theme for many EFMP families is that they have to repeatedly fight for basic special needs services,” said Dr. Becky Porter, president and CEO of the Military Child Education Coalition.

One of the difficulties expressed by panel members is that service quality provided by EFMP varied across military branches. EFMP success was seen as highest in the United States Marine Corps, represented at the hearing by EFMP program manager Jennifer Stewart.

“Customer feedback was central to the transformative change,” Stewart said. “We are committed to evaluating the effectiveness to our program and making necessary changes when we miss the mark.”

Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lillian Miller