Scott Air Force Base is a big part of the metro-east
In an effort to help families with special/medical needs navigate the various government programs and support outlets available to them, an Exceptional Family Member Program Symposium is planned for Wednesday-Thursday at McKendree University in Lebanon.
Airmen or their family members who have needs in which they see a specialist more than once a year are candidates for EFMP, said Brenda Reed, 375th Force Support Squadron EFMP Family Support Coordinator.
Once a determination is made, and the classification is applied to the member, the family support portion of “EFMP” comes into play.
“When the family is supported, the service member can then focus on the mission. That’s what we’re here for,” said Reed.
However, asking for help may be a difficult process for military families who are trained to be resilient in the face of adversity, she said.
Kelly Calloway, 375th FSS EFMP family support coordinator, added that, “One of our biggest challenges is to get families to open up and ask for help, and that’s why we wanted to have a symposium — to open up the channels of communication and answer questions.”
The need for the symposium was determined via the EFMP Working Group which met over the past few months. The symposium is the kick off for future orientations for EFMP families, slated to be a part of a recurring program at Scott for families new to EFMP, or even new to Scott, and to get information about the EFMP program and its resources.
“Knowledge is power,” said Calloway. “Arming Airmen with the information they need for themselves or their family [is important]. By attending [the symposium], we hope families learn something they didn’t know or that they’re able to prepare themselves for any future situation by knowing what questions to ask and what resources to seek.”
On May 15, Pete Wright from the renowned Wrightslaw organization will present “Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy.” This presentation details federal special education law, rights, and responsibilities, tests and measurements, SMART IEPs, and provides an introduction to strategies for effective advocacy. This is a chance for attendees to learn more about how to make sure their family is protected and prepared for any circumstances they face during their journey.
On May 16, there will be members from Headquarters Air Force, the Air Force Medical Operations Agency and Air Force Personnel Center briefing on all three elements of the EFMP process. Additional break out sessions on a variety of topics and an Information Fair will occur during the afternoon portion.
“It’s a three-legged stool in terms of all the elements of EFMP, between the family support, medical and assignments sections,” said Monica Stouffer, AFRC flight chief. “To have presenters from Air Force-level come to talk to our families is really an opportunity that most families don’t usually have.”
Calloway added that HAF personnel are looking forward to this event to help make things better for those in the EFMP program.
“They’re working hard to make changes every day to support our families,” she said. “They’re eager to hear our feedback. This is the time for our voices to be heard.”
Organized and hosted by the Scott EFMP Working Group, the free event is being held off-base so that members of the community may also attend.
Transportation from Scott AFB will be provided, and attendees wanting to take advantage of that will need to meet at the Scott Event Center no later than 7:45 a.m. each day. Each day will start at 9 a.m., with registration beginning before the start of the events at 8 a.m. Both days are expected to last until approximately 4:30 p.m.
Registration for the event can be found on the Scott Airman and Family Readiness Center, AFRC, website at www.scottafrc.com (click on Appointment Plus), or the Scott EFMP events Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scottefmp.