While the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included groundbreaking updates to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), families continue to report a lack of communication on how these changes will benefit their daily lives. We know that our annual survey data + family stories = change.
Partners in PROMISE is focused on finding evidence-based solutions to the issues faced by military families in special education and within EFMP. On September 7, 2021, we released our annual Military Special Education Survey in order to translate the stories of Exceptional Families into actionable data. This year’s survey will take roughly 15 minutes to complete and will focus on timelines experienced by military families including diagnosis, evaluation and the receipt of medical and special education services. Other areas of focus include the utilization and efficiency of available DOD programming on the 2021 NDAA updates. The survey will be open now – October 8, 2021.
Are You Ready for Change?
Some of the 2021 NDAA changes included many of Partners in PROMISE previous recommendations based on stories shared by EFMP families in their previous years’ surveys (2019 & 2020):
EFMP standardization across service branches
Standardization of the respite care program
GAO studies: special education and impact aid
Special education attorneys and advocates
“Unfortunately, our families have reported frustration with a lack of clarity surrounding these amazing changes,” said Michelle Norman, Executive Director of Partners in PROMISE. “We want our families to know that we are working with our service branch leadership and change is coming. But we need your feedback about what you are experiencing today to help make EFMP all that it CAN be.”
This year Partners in PROMISE is partnering with Ohio State University’s Dr. Amy Shuman. Not only does Dr. Shuman love data as much as Partners in PROMISE, but she is also a research-based storyteller. She is a professor in the English department specializing in folklore, narrative, critical theory and the author of books and articles on disability, conversational narrative, literacy, political asylum, food customs, feminist theory, and critical theory. Our partnership with OSU will allow us to not only learn more about our families but continue to use this information to inform Partners in PROMISE programs and support recommendations.