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Family Programs News
NEWS | July 17, 2009

Respite Care Offers Families Valuable Rest

By Rob McIlvaine Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation Command

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - For Army families who are responsible for regular care of persons with disabilities, the Exceptional Family Member Program Respite Care Program provides a temporary rest period for caregivers.

The EFMP puts respite care in place when needed for eligible families of active Army and active Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers.

Sharon Fields, a program manager for FMWRC Respite Care Services, said the Army hopes to inform families worldwide about respite care opportunities.

"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. "Special needs care is around the clock. When a family has a special needs child or adult, respite care provides a break for the primary caregiver."

Families can apply for the Respite Care Program at the nearest Army Community Service EFMP office. Eligibility for the 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.

During fiscal years 2007 and 2008, FMWRC received $8.2 million in supplemental funds for EFMP respite care. In FY '09, respite care has been included in the base operating funds for ACS and is no longer funded by supplemental funds.

The Army Installation Management Command published revised guidelines for use of FY '09 EFMP respite care funds June 11, to further standardize and expedite service delivery Army-wide. These guidelines become effective Aug. 3.