Family Care Plans

Who will be responsible for your family while the service member is deployed or mobilized? While the Department of Defense (DoD) requires service members who are single parents, or are responsible for a disabled spouse, parent or other family member, to have a family care plan, all families should have a back-up plan to cover the "what ifs." Obvious "what if" situations to plan for could be the caregiver spouse becoming seriously ill or involved in a debilitating accident. But don't forget the everyday concerns about who will be there to help the spouse who does not understand English or one who doesn't drive? What circle of support can be developed for a parent with a severely disabled child while the service member parent is far from home? These are the kinds of situations and scenarios that should be planned for before deployment. DoD policy for formal family care plans can be found at (www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134219p.pdf).

If you develop an informal family care plan, you might want to share that information with a deployment homefront "battle buddy" who could contact the family member if the deployed spouse is unable to communicate.

Choosing a caregiver for your family care plan is a serious endeavor. There are many areas to consider. When considering a grandparent, are they healthy and active enough to handle a two-year-old? A sixteen-year-old? Will their work schedule allow someone to be home to send the kids off to school? Will grandma come live with the kids or will the kids go live with grandma? What kind of financial support will you provide while you are gone? Many custodial parents turn to the non-custodial parent to care for children during a deployment. It would be worthwhile to consult with an attorney to see how you can safeguard your custody while you are gone.

Resources

Navy – Fleet and Family Support Center Website

Marine Forces Reserve Family Readiness

Navy Individual Augmentees Family Support

Navy JAG - Family Care Plan: What it Does and Doesn't Do

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