MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Since 2008, the Exceptional Family Member Program has offered respite care as one of the many programs available to military families with special needs. Those taking advantage of the program will find several changes starting Oct. 1, 2013.
Respite care is a benefit designed to enhance the welfare of families and reduce stress by providing monthly reimbursement for childcare, giving families brief rest periods.
“Some people just want to get a haircut without taking all their kids,” said Monique O’Neil, Exceptional Family Member Program manager. “Quantico covers a large area, with around 250 families using respite care.”
Cuts in funding from a projected $4.5 million in 2013, to a projected $2 million in 2014, are directly reflected in the way the program is run.
Some of the changes families can expect are: ineligibility of respite care for anyone under a Level of Need 3, the exclusion of reimbursement for children up to 12 who aren’t enrolled in the EFMP, age-typical siblings, and the reduction of program hours from 40 hours to 20 hours a month.
With the changes occurring in October, O’Neil has hope for those who will be affected.
“We want to assist in prevention efforts,” said O’Neil. “And we want to help families find what the base and local communities have to offer. Especially, for those who will be cut altogether.”
Col. David Maxwell, commanding officer, Marine Corps Base Quantico agrees.
“There are other options and skills we can make available,” said Maxwell. “The benefit of being in a military community is the resources that are available. We just need to get the word out so that families are able to reach in and connect with those resources.”
For those interested in more information, the EFMP will be giving a brief on the changes at 1 p.m., on Sept. 12, at the Religious and Family Services Center aboard base. Information can also be found by calling 571-931-0524 or visiting www.usmc-mccs.org.