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Update Exceptional Family Members Before Negotiating Orders

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- There are currently 16,000 Navy families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), but some Sailors are not updating their packages before entering their detailing window.

"Enrollment in the EFM program is mandatory for all family members with long-term medical, mental health or educational needs and is required immediately upon identification of a special need," said Cmdr. Cynthia Granby, EFMP branch head at Navy Personnel Command.

"Before a detailer can release orders, an updated EFM status is needed. The sponsor is responsible for knowing his or her EFM update timeframe and for updating the file prior to negotiating for orders. Local coordinators at the nearest Military Treatment Facility can be contacted to confirm update status and timeframe."

Family member status updates are required nine months prior to a Sailor's Projected Rotation Date, every three years, or whenever the enrolled member's need changes. Temporary enrollments (Category VI) must be updated within a year of assignment.

The EFMP is required for authorized family members who possess a physical, emotional, developmental or educational disability, or a condition that requires special medical, mental health or education services and reside with or are in the custody of a Sailor. Enrollment ensures family members' needs are identified so that Sailors are stationed where those needs can best be met.

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"The program is a benefit for Sailors and commands," said Kathleen Wells, Navy EFMP manager. "It's available to help alleviate hardships on family members by ensuring their special needs are considered in the detailing process."

"EFMP remains flexible," Granby said. "Once the sponsor enrolls and family needs are identified, he/she will have a good chance at obtaining a career enhancing assignment."

EFMP families are classed into one of six categories. For those families who have been designated categories IV and V, the Navy has a separate program, Navy EFMP Respite Care, which provides up to 40 hours of free in-home care for exceptional family members and their siblings.

"Many family members enrolled in the program have complex needs that cannot be met using typical in-home care," said Sharon Fatheree, Navy Child and Youth Programs, Outreach program manager for Fleet and Family Readiness. "The Navy EFMP Respite Care Program is provided through the Child and Youth Programs and was designed to offer parents in-home care with specialized providers trained to meet the individual needs of the family member so parents can feel safe leaving children in in-home care to run errands, go to medical appointments or just get a change to reconnect with their spouse."

Currently Respite Care is offered at five locations: Jacksonville, Fla.; Bremerton, Wash.; San Diego; Norfolk, Va.; Naval District of Washington D.C.; and 50 independent locations in the continental U.S. Sailors interested in Respite Care can visit the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies website at for more information or to be put on the waiting list for care.

For more information about EFMP, visit their website at or call the NPC Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-866-827-5672.


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