A family unit can be a unique dynamic filled with members who are continuously developing, growing and coming into their own. While each member navigates their personal experience, additional services may be needed to ensure optimal support and care.
A program in place equipped to assist with specialized needs and care is the Exceptional Family Member Program. Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., has two EFMP-Family Support coordinators who serve as a central focal point for all EFMP related information.
The EFMP-FS coordinators assist exceptional family members by providing resources, information and care. EFMP services are tailored to each family’s specific situation, which is identified through a Family Needs Assessment.
“This assessment allows us to identify and prioritize concerns for each family,” said Senaida Larson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center EFMP-FS coordinator. “This process helps identify immediate and long-term needs, family’s strengths and their goals, which helps the family understand what processes they are already doing well, while also outlining strategies to help meet their objectives.”
Additionally, all Department of Defense card holders and their families are eligible for program offers such as local community and early intervention services, education and outreach, and individualized care plans. The goal is to provide information, referrals and specialized support to enhance the quality of life for all military members and their families.
“We want families to know there are community resources available to assist at the local, state and federal level,” said Sonya Struble, 56th FSS A&FRC EFMP-FS coordinator. “We always strive to decrease stress and increase support for our members. We help families by creating a Family Services Plan, which breaks down specific goals and support needed, not only here at Luke, but during their time of PCS where we complete a “warm hand over” to the EFMP at their next base.”
Being able to support EFMP families in transition, is only one aspect of Struble’s job that brings her an immense amount of joy and a sense of accomplishment.
“Being an EFMP family support coordinator was my dream job for many years,” said Struble. “It’s so rewarding to help families get the support they need, while being a friendly face and an open ear.”
Like her counterpart, Struble, Larson says she also finds a great sense of pride in being an EFMP-FS coordinator. She described her experience as gratifying and one of the most important roles in her career.
“This has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve had in my tenure with the Air Force,” said Larson. “Our goal is to positively impact each of our EFMP families by providing a place to share concerns, celebrations and milestones. We listen to family’s needs and try to provide as many on and off base support options.”
Struble said the EFMP offering a variety of support services, to include support through difficult times, might be the most impactful tool the EFMP-FS coordinators use.
“There are always movements, transitions and deviations happening, but the EFMP family support team can help ease stress and provide guidance through those trying times,” said Struble. “It’s important to celebrate individuals and recognize their resilience when faced with hard times, which is an effort that the EFMP family support team at Luke Air Force Base always remembers to highlight.”
If feeling overwhelmed on where to start with the EFMP, Struble recommends a simple solution of finding solace through attending an EFMP installation orientation, which is held quarterly.
“We highly encourage all EFMP families, people interested in learning about the program, leaders and supervisors to attend,” said Struble. “The orientation is a great place to gather an abundance of information on the Exceptional Family Member Program.”
Additionally, attendees will receive more information on EFMP-FS, EFMP-Identification and Enrollments and EFMP-Assignments.
To learn more, families can visit the A&FRC, call 623-856-6426/6840/6550 or visit the Department of the Air Force family vector website at https://daffamilyvector.us.af.mil.