Military families to address Congress about troubled DOD program for special needs children

The Carrigg family poses with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, in July 2017 on Capitol Hill. Army 1st Sgt. Joshua Carrigg and his wife Austin were among dozens of special needs families to file a complaint that the military failed them after care to their sick children was denied. From left: Christian and Nickolas Carrigg, their father Joshua Carrigg, Coons, Melanie and Austin Carrigg. PHOTO COURTESY OF AUSTIN CARRIGG
The Carrigg family poses with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, in July 2017 on Capitol Hill. Army 1st Sgt. Joshua Carrigg and his wife Austin were among dozens of special needs families to file a complaint that the military failed them after care to their sick children was denied. From left: Christian and Nickolas Carrigg, their father Joshua Carrigg, Coons, Melanie and Austin Carrigg. PHOTO COURTESY OF AUSTIN CARRIGG

Military families to address Congress about troubled DOD program for special needs children

by Rose L. Thayer
Stars and Stripes

Army spouse Austin Carrigg has prepared a statement that she will deliver Wednesday before Congress about the Defense Department’s Exceptional Family Member Program, which is intended to help military families with special needs children.

Carrigg said she isn’t nervous about public speaking, but she is concerned about how to squeeze everything that is wrong with the program into a five-minute statement.

“The struggle with EFMP is that it’s so many different things,” she said from her home in Washington, D.C. “How do we tell them everything that’s broken and all the ways that they’re failing our families in five minutes?”

EFMP is a mandatory enrollment program for family members of active-duty military personnel who have special needs to ensure that service members receive duty assignments in locations that offer support to that family member while also providing resources and a service plan. Special needs can range from diabetes to mental and learning disabilities to rare diseases, cancer and heart conditions. About 132,500 family members were enrolled in the program as of February 2018, according to information from the Government Accountability Office, which released a report on the program later that year.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.617582

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