“The Representation for Exceptional Military Families Act empowers families with members enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) to engage the military services on how to best support them. Our exceptional military families face unique medical and educational challenges when they deploy or change duty stations. This bill leverages their first-hand experience with the program by creating an advisory council to provide feedback and recommend improvements,” Representative Wilson said. “I’m grateful to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleague on the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Elaine Luria. Thank you to Partners in PROMISE, who helped identify the need for this advisory council, and our additional supporting organizations: Exceptional Families of the Military, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, the Military Officers Association of America, and the Military Child Education Coalition.”
“Our exceptional military families face unique challenges and we must ensure there is year-round support for their needs,” Representative Luria said. “Creating this advisory council allows the armed services to hear from experts, the disability community, and the military families with lived-experience on the best ways to provide high-quality and consistent support.”
Representation = Progress
“Partners in PROMISE is excited that our Exceptional military families will have an opportunity to share their own experiences and provide solutions for programming that directly impacts them, especially during the phase of EFMP Standardization,” said Michelle Norman, Executive Director for Partners in PROMISE. “While no experience is quite the same, the data tells us that our struggles are similar and COVID has amplified these struggles. A diverse representative Council would go a long way to amplify these stories and make real change for our EFMP families.”
“At last year’s hearing on EFMP, MOAA highlighted military family frustrations with the program and underscored areas of needed improvement. A formal advisory council will not only help ensure these areas are addressed but will also allow DoD and the Services to identify emerging gaps as the needs of military families evolve. We thank Congressman Joe Wilson and Congresswoman Elaine Luria for this bill that will be instrumental in driving improvements to EFMP in the years to come,” said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), President and CEO, Military Officers Association of America.
The Exceptional Family Member Program is a Department of Defense (DoD) program offered by all branches of the U.S. military. It is a mandatory enrollment program for all active-duty service-members with a family member who has special needs. The program eases transitions like permanent changes of duty station and ensures the family member has access to medical and special education needs.