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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

An Increase of Exceptional Family Member Program Case Liaisons Benefits Those Who We Serve

by Jacob Sippel
17 May 2023
Photo By: SSGT Valerie Halbert
VIRIN: 230517-N-UNK23-1111
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 17, 2023) – Since January, Commander Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) has been able to add 12 additional full-time Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) case liaisons to the staff.

Prior to January 2023, Navy Region Southeast had eight full-time Exceptional Family Member Program case liaisons, some of whom had anywhere from 650 to over 1000 cases each.  The increase in case liaisons allows for the ability to offer more meaningful contacts and more comprehensive support to the families Navy Region Southeast serves. 

The primary goal of the Exceptional Family Member Program is to ensure service members are assigned only to those geographic areas where the medical (physical, developmental, or mental health) or educational needs of their family members can be met. Special emphasis is placed on the member’s obligation to maintain worldwide assignability and meet the needs of the Navy, which may require service members to serve on unaccompanied tours. Additionally, the Exceptional Family Member Program ensures family member’s special needs are supported throughout the service member’s career.

Shannon Klein is an Exceptional Family Member Program Manager at Navy Region Southeast. As program manager, she implements and administers the Exceptional Family Member Program across Navy Region Southeast and provides leadership, guidance, consultation, assistance and coordination for all aspects of the program. Klein also serves as the subject matter expert on the program and ensures the Exceptional Family Member Program case liaisons in the field have the information needed to be in compliance with current Navy policy.

“Every Navy family enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program is assigned a case liaison who is there to help by providing guidance on the enrollment, update, or disenrollment processes. The liaison also assists with understanding and navigating the detailing process, conducts a needs assessment, develops a services plan, aids with special education and individualized education programs support, and provides information and referral to both military and community resources,” Klein said. “The support provided is tailored specifically for each family, based on what they want and need.”

At the end of the day, the Exceptional Family Member Program increases mission and family readiness.

 “Being enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program lessens undue hardship on military families and unnecessary family separations. It also ensures that family members with special needs are considered in the order assignment process so they are not moved to locations where support and services are unavailable,” Klein explained. “This allows for continuity of care, which also increases mission and family readiness.”

The Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) is the primary tool the Navy uses to track Exceptional Family Member Program enrollment and notifications.

Enrollment in the Exceptional Family Member Program is mandatory for all active duty service members and reservists with family members who are identified with medical (physical, developmental, or mental health) or special educational requirements of a chronic nature (6 months or longer).

“Military life can be challenging and having a dependent with special needs can make things even more complicated.  When my husband was active duty, our son was enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program.  It’s a program that I’m passionate about, because I know first-hand how being connected to the right resources made our lives better,” Klein explained. “We didn’t have to do it alone.  Enrollment helped us ensure that we were being proactive regarding our quality of life versus reactive.  It helped us prepare and plan.  I’m grateful to continue to be part of a program that helps military families and to be able to give back to something that that I believe in.  We are here to support you.”

If you have questions or would like more information about the Exceptional Family Member Program, reach out to your installation’s Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) and ask to speak with an Exceptional Family Member Program case liaison. 

Navy Region Southeast manages and oversees shore installation management support and execution for 18 installations within the Southeastern United States, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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