[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                  October 23, 2009
Armywide News

Exceptional Family Member Program supports respite care

By Bob Mcilvaine, FMWRC Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA, VA. — For active Army and Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) families who are responsible for regular care of persons with disabilities, the Exceptional Family Members Program (EFMP) Respite Care Program provides a temporary rest period. Care may be provided in the family’s home or other settings such as special needs camps and enrichment programs.

The Army EFMP put respite care into place to give eligible families, especially now with multiple deployments, the opportunity to receive respite care when it’s needed. Families apply for the Respite Care Program at the nearest installation Army Community Service (ACS) EFMP Office.

At Fort McCoy, authorized people can apply at the Fort McCoy ACS, 2111 South 8th Ave., said Becky Wapp-Sawyer, Fort McCoy ACS director. “We have an active program that serves mobilized Wisconsin and Minnesota Army National Guard, mobilized Reserves and active-duty (families),” Sawyer said.

People seeking additional information in the Fort McCoy community are advised to call ACS at 608-388-3505 for the application packet. The people providing the service can be anyone of the family’s choosing who meet the qualifications outlined in the application packet, Sawyer said.

Eligibility for the Respite Care Program is based on EFMP enrollment and the medical or educational condition of the family member requiring care. Qualifying families are eligible to receive up to 40 hours of funded EFMP respite care monthly for each certified family member and can receive up to $45 per hour for care.

“The (EFMP) Respite Care Program supports the Army Family and Community Covenants to ensure Army Families stay strong and allows them time to regenerate and do things in the community,” Sawyer said.

During fiscal years 2007 and 2008, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center (FMWRC) received $8.2 million in supplemental funds for EFMP respite care. In FY 09, respite care was included in the base operating funds for ACS and was no longer funded by supplemental funds. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) published revised guidelines for use of FY 09 EFMP respite care to further standardize and expedite service delivery Army-wide. These guidelines became effective Aug. 3.

Brig. Gen. Al Aycock, Deputy Commanding General, IMCOM, said that as part of the Army Family Covenant, it is important to ensure the Army’s EFMP Respite Care Program is run well, and that the Army gets the word out to the families who need it.

According to Sharon Fields, program manager for FMWRC Respite Care Services, the Department of Army is working to inform families worldwide about the changes involving respite care.

“Our primary goal is to ensure consistency and continuity of our Respite Care Program, regardless of where our Soldiers and families are located,” Fields said.

The ACS staff will be required to use the Family Services Needs Matrix to determine allowable respite care hours and cost per month. The matrix is updated as the EFMP condition changes or annually, whichever comes first. Stateside garrisons will access a national network of respite care providers through an IMCOM contract with Alignstaffing.

Special needs care is around-the-clock,” Fields said. “When a family has a special needs child or adult, respite care provides a break for the primary caregiver.”

(Some information in the story is from the Fort McCoy Army Community Service Center.)


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