Although the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) represents over 130,000 military-connected family members there has not been a unified voice that addresses the educational and medical concerns of family members until now. In March 2021, Partners in PROMISE, Exceptional Families of the Military, Military Kids – Special Education Alliance, Military Special Needs Network and the Modern Military Association of America met to form the EFMP Coalition.
EFMP Coalition unites existing EFMP-focused nonprofits who are helping to advance the cause of vulnerable military families enrolled in the program due to medical and/or education concerns.
“Despite tremendous progress made in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, the disability community is often not included in the conversation, ” said Michelle Norman, founder and Executive Director of Partners in PROMISE.
With the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provisions for EFMP and the impact COVID-19 has and will have on our EFMP families need a unified voice more than ever. “We need to work together to ensure our families have access to reliable and medical care and educational services,” said Jennifer Barnhill, Chief Operating Officer for Partners in PROMISE. “COVID-19 has flipped normality on its head, even for military families, but the denial of services should not be part of our ‘new normal.’” The Coalition is closely monitoring all issues that impact EFMP families with special attention being paid to:
“Our mission priorities are focused on serving LGBTQ service members, veterans and families, including those in the Exceptional Family Member Program,”said Jennifer Dane, Executive Director, Modern Military Association of America.“We proudly join this Coalition and are confident that our collective action will bring about positive changes for EFMP families.”
Servicemembers should not have to fight a battle at the homefront, but they are. The Coalition is here to help families advocate for their right to basic healthcare and education.
The Coalition is hopeful that this increased attention to the Exceptional Family Member Program and inclusion effort that have been taken by the DoD and political leadership will result in significant benefits for family members and are excited to have the support of so many other organizations within the military family community.
Partners in PROMISE was founded in January 2020 by four mothers to Protect the Rights Of Military children In Special Education (PROMISE). Focusing on a strategy of educating and advocacy, Partners in PROMISE is the link between special needs families, established military service organizations, the Department of Defense, and legislators, working towards collaborative solutions to complex problems.
Exceptional Families of the Military’s mission is to connect military families with Disabilities, Special Healthcare Needs, or additional Educational needs from all branches of the service in order to navigate within the Exceptional Family Member Programs and identify areas of improvement that affect the families we represent. Using the data we collect while simultaneously assisting our families, we endeavor to create long-lasting systematic changes in the laws and regulations that affect EFMP families. We look forward to the continued collaboration of the newly formed EFMP coalition to further improve the lives of all EFMP families.
Military Kids-Special Education Alliance founded by a Military Kid with the mission of ensuring military connected students with special needs have equal access to public education. Supporting military connected students through education, advocacy, and homefront accountability.
The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) is the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organization for LGBTQ service members, military spouses/partners, veterans, caregivers, and allies. Find out more at www.ModernMilitary.org