by Nicholas Sabula
We’re a week out from the upcoming DoD Advisory Panel on Special Needs and the clock is ticking on providing your input.
In order to bring as many voices to the panel and help advocate for all our families with a special need, the 2012 Military Families with Special Needs Survey is open through Tuesday.
Military families go through a lot, take on a lot of burden with a life supporting the defense of our great nation and typically do it without much complaining. My mission as a member of the panel is to communicate issues, ideas and solutions for the Exceptional Family Member Program and other activities supporting our families.
Like the last two panels, my objective is to hear from as many people as possible on their experiences, difficulties, successes and needs.
While the survey is one method, you can also write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story and what changes in DoD policy are needed to improve your situation.
Please pass the survey to anyone who has feedback on military support of our special needs families. This includes active duty, Guard, Reserve, AGR, retired, etc. The more input we get, the more good we can do for our families.
Based upon the last two panels, I expect to see representation from DoD’s Office of Community Support for Families with Special Needs (OSN), each of the service EFMP offices, TRICARE Management Activity, each of the TRICARE regions, Military OneSource and others. Hopefully in attendance will also be Charles E. Milam, currently serving as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy.
They are there to listen, so help me deliver concrete examples on how they need to improve support. The details are in the data. If your concern is with a particular service or need, tell how it impacts you and what type of change will make lasting improvement to the processes the military provides.
Last year’s Military Families Special Needs Survey offered a lot of data outside of the statistics, including 100 printed pages of written feedback delivered to Office of Special Needs leaders. We’ve almost reached the number of responses as last year to the survey and will make the written information available again, following a scrub for privacy.
Right now we have pretty good representation from the services, with Army 102 responses (34%); Air Force 73 (24.33%); Marine Corps 32 (10.67%); Navy 77 (25.67%); and Coast Guard 9 (3.33%). Two percent gave no answer.
I’ll be collecting data through Tuesday night and presenting the data and all feedback to officials on Thursday during the panel.
While this is an unofficial survey (with some room for error in statistics), it’s important to communicating our needs and experiences to those who can make a difference for us. But to do that I need as many military families in our shoes to help make a difference for us first by taking the survey or sending an email.
To take the survey please visit http://feedback.amfas.org.