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Air Force creates new division to better help families with special needs

The Air Force has created a new division to consolidate how it provides medical support, family support and help with assignments to families with special-needs members

In a July 1 release, the Air Force said the new Exceptional Assignment Program division will provide members of the Exceptional Family Member Program a single point of contact so the service can respond to their requests more quickly and efficiently.

The new division, part of the Air Force Personnel Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas, will also handle humanitarian and expedited transfer requests, and carry out the enhanced Air Force Family Member Travel Screening process. The FMTS activity lets airmen and space professionals virtually track and complete these permanent change-of-station family screening requests and communicate with medical personnel along the way.

The Air Force also plans to add more core components, including legal support, special education liaison and Tricare support to the division in the future.

There are about 33,400 active-duty service members in the Air Force and Space Force, sponsoring more than 55,000 family members enrolled in EFMP.

Kimberly Schuler, the Air Force’s chief for humanitarian, EFMP and expedited transfer reassignments, said in the release that consolidating those components will mean families won’t have to work through a complex process and deal with multiple organizations to get one request answered.

“Your voices were heard,” Schuler said. “Our goal is to improve the customer experience of our airmen and their families during challenging times.”

The Air Force said it has already made several changes to improve the program. The service has standardized family support coordinator training so families receive better and more consistent information, the release said. Face-to-face orientations are available for EFMP families at all Air Force installations, as well as online orientations for geographically separated units and leaders.

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