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Exceptional Family Member Program


The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides comprehensive support to Family members with special needs. An Exceptional Family Member is a Family member with any physical, emotional, developmental, or intellectual disorder that requires special treatment, therapy, education, training, or counseling, and meets the eligibility criteria. EFMP pertains to active-duty Soldiers, US Army Reserve Soldiers in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Program, and Army National Guard AGR personnel serving under authority of 10 USC or 32 USC. Department of the Army Civilians do not enroll in the program.

EFMP takes an all-inclusive approach to coordinating military and civilian community, educational, medical, housing, and personnel services to help Soldiers and their Families with special needs. Enrollment in EFMP includes a wide array of benefits, detailed in the EFMP Benefits Fact Sheet.

EFMP enrollment does not adversely affect promotions, schools, or assignments. EFMP information is not made available to selection boards.

Soldiers with Exceptional Family Members are required to register for EFMP and keep enrollment information current. That way, Family needs will be considered during the OCONUS assignments process. If you’re eligible for EFMP services, Family members must be screened and enrolled when they accompany authorized Soldiers on OCONUS assignments. Screenings include a medical records review for all Family members and developmental screening for all children 72 months and younger. (Special education needs are considered only in assignments outside the United States. Assignments within the US and its territories are not based on the educational needs of children.)

For more information about EFMP and helpful articles about the program, look at the Enterprise EFMP site. After that, contact the installation EFMP manager at your local Army Community Service (ACS) office. To learn more about medical enrollment, see the Program Overview.


EFMP Resources

Here are some helpful resources for EFMP Families.

(Government Links)

  • Systems Navigators. Systems navigators are ACS EFMP staff members available on most Army installations. They assist EFMP Families with navigating through the available systems of care.​​​​
  • EFMP Newsletter. The Exceptional Advocate is the DoD’s EFMP newsletter, which includes helpful information and resources.
  • Military OneSouce. Military OneSource’s EFMP & Me tool allows Families to explore the details of EFMP benefits and processes.
  • DirectSTEP. DirectSTEP® eCourses are available for free to Soldiers and Family Members, Army EFMP staff, and Special Education staff associated with teaching military children. DirectSTEP® eCourses teach staff, parents, and educators how to handle critical education issues to obtain positive outcomes.
  • Respite Care Support. The Army’s Respite Care Support services provide a temporary rest period for Family members responsible for regular care of persons with disabilities. Care may be provided in the EFM respite care user’s home.

(Non-Government Links, No Endorsement Implied)

  • Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR). CPIR serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers, so they can focus their efforts on serving Families of children with disabilities. 
  • American Camp Association (ACA). The ACA is a community of camp professionals who join together to share their knowledge and experience and ensure the quality of camp programs, including those for Exceptional Family Members.


Support Group

Fort Irwin’s EFMP invites you to attend our support group. You will receive support from others in similar situations, network within the community, learn new information and resources, and gain the peace of mind of knowing you’re not alone. Please call 380-3698 for the next available Support Group.



Who is an EFM?

The Army defines an EFM as any Family member, regardless of age, who has a disability which limits that individual’s ability to function on a daily basis and/or requires ongoing counseling, training, education, therapy or treatment. The following are some* examples:


Physical Handicaps:

  • Blind/Visually Impaired
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Orthopedically Handicapped
  • (and/or) Need to see a medical specialist more than twice a year



Speech and Language Handicaps/Learning Handicaps:

  • Developmentally Delayed
  • Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Severely Emotional Disturbed
  • Autism

*Many other special needs may qualify an individual for enrollment and/or services.


Enrollment Forms

Medical Enrollment

Education Enrollment (Children Only)

Respite Care Program

What is Respite Care?

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Respite Care is a program for Active Duty Families who are enrolled in the EFMP.  This program provides a temporary rest period for Family members responsible for regular care of persons with disabilities. Care may be provided in the EFMP respite care user’s home or other settings such as special needs camps and enrichment programs.

Eligibility is based on EFMP enrollment and EFM’s severe chronic conditions or significant medical needs.  EFMP respite care is not an entitlement or a guaranteed benefit, it is time limited based on the exceptional Family member’s (EFM) medical condition and availability of funding.

The EFMP has standardized and streamlined the process for delivering respite care to eligible Families in need of support.  The intent is to ensure EFMP Respite Care is effectively managed and Family members with severe, chronic medical conditions and significant medical needs have access to quality respite care services.  In an effort to enhance service delivery to EFMP-enrolled Families, IMCOM revised EFMP respite care policies and procedures including changes in eligibility criteria and Family Services Needs Matrix. An EFMP respite care panel was established to review and recommend approval or disapproval of all respite care submissions to the Garrison Commander, who is the decision authority.


Download Necessary Documents:

DA Form 5189

DA Form 4700

Guidance for Primary Medical Care Provider

Family Needs Assessment

Family Needs Matrix

DD Form 2870

ACS EFMP Authorization for Transferring Files


Relatives or friends living in the home of the Service Member/EFM will not be authorized to be paid as respite care providers. Family members who knowingly provide false information will have respite care services discontinued immediately. Service Members who knowingly provide false information to obtain respite care services may be subject to disciplinary action for offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Contact & Enrollment

To begin the enrollment process, or for more information regarding EFMP or EFMP Respite Care, please contact the EFMP office at 760-380-3698 or

Although appointments are not required, they are strongly encouraged/recommended. 

WACH Clinical EFMP
For Overseas briefings, Enrollment, Disenrollment & Updates please call +1 (760)383-5271.