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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
EFMP stays in step with special needs families

By Sgt. Cristina Porras | | September 22, 2011

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Dr. John King, Naval Medical Center San Diego developmental pediatrician, answers questions during Exceptional Family Member Program Basic Training Sept. 22 in the family readiness classroom aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. The MCRD/Western Recruiting Region EFMP hosted this pilot event in order to inform EFMP enrollees of the many services and resources available to assist their special needs family members. During the one-day event a host of presenters spoke about special needs education and rights, financial issues and other topics pertinent to those with special needs dependents.

Dr. John King, Naval Medical Center San Diego developmental pediatrician, answers questions during Exceptional Family Member Program Basic Training Sept. 22 in the family readiness classroom aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. The MCRD/Western Recruiting Region EFMP hosted this pilot event in order to inform EFMP enrollees of the many services and resources available to assist their special needs family members. During the one-day event a host of presenters spoke about special needs education and rights, financial issues and other topics pertinent to those with special needs dependents. (Photo by Sgt. Cristina N. Porras)


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MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- When a family finds out one of their dependents has a medical or developmental condition that requires special attention, it can be a devastating time for them.

The Marine Corps’ Exceptional Family Member Program exists to stay in step with those families, ensuring they have easy access to the care they need.

Since the amount of resources and information available to those with exception family members can be overwhelming, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Western Recruiting Region EFMP team hosted a day-long basic training event Sept. 22 to help local families understand the system.

“The EFM Program is basically a network of people who will bend over backwards to help you,” said Marcellena Nieves, a Marine spouse whose family is part of the program. “When you have a family member who has been recently diagnosed with (a medical or developmental condition), you don’t always know where to turn, so this training really helps people find the resources they need.”

Several speakers presented information to the attendees, including special education, financial and medical training as well as other topics relevant to special needs families. A developmental pediatrician also spoke to them and allowed time for individuals to ask questions about the military medical system in place to help their special needs children.

“Today is meant to be beneficial to all service members with special needs dependents,” said Jan King, EFMP manager. “There are just so many programs and services available to help them and we’ve put it all under one roof to make it easier. Even if a family’s been enrolled in the program for awhile, sometimes there may be information they may not have known or have forgotten about.”

The Marine Corps’ EFMP was established in 1987, in order to assist Marines in the duty assignment process and ensure they have access to the care needed wherever they are stationed. Since then it has been expanded to provide case management, respite care and education.

“Our main goal is family readiness,” said King. “If you have family readiness, then you have mission readiness. If a Marine can have that peace of mind knowing his family is taken care of, he can perform his job as expected.”

This is the first basic training event the MCRD EFMP has hosted, and depending on its success, King plans to host many more in the future in order to help service members take advantage of the resources in place to help them.

“If you think you know everything there is to know,” said Nieves, “You’ll realize that there is always brand new information. Things are constantly changing.”

For more information on the MCRD/WRR EFMP, go to www. mccsmcrd.com/efmp.html or call (619)524-8031/8086.

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