Minnesota National Guard

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Exceptional Family Member Support

What is EFMS

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is a mandatory enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical, and personnel services to families with special needs. Soldiers on active duty enroll in the program when they have a family member with a physical, emotional, development, or intellectual issue requiring specialized services so their needs can be considered in the military personnel assignment process.

EFMP is a Department of the Army program which assists eligible family members of active duty or retired Soldiers, DA Civilians, Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve.

Family members must be screened and enrolled, if eligible, when the Soldier is on assignment instructions to an OCONUS area for which command sponsorship/family member travel is authorized and the Soldier elects to serve the accompanied tour. This screening consists of medical records review for all family members and developmental screening for all children 72 months of age and younger. Soldiers are responsible for keeping their EFMP enrollment current as exceptional family member conditions change or at least every three years, whichever comes first.

Who is an Exceptional Family Member?

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 requires ongoing counseling, training, education, therapy or treatment.

•Blind/Visually Impaired
•Deaf/Hard of Hearing
•Orthopedically Handicapped
•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
*Many other special needs may qualify an individual for enrollment and/or services.


The Military Services use the term Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) to refer to two different functions: a personnel function and a family support function.

The EFMP personnel function:

  • Is a mandatory program for all active duty service members.

  • Is standard across all Services.

  • Identifies family members with special medical and/or educational needs,

  • Documents the services they require, and

  • Considers those needs during the personnel assignment process (especially when approving family members for accompanied travel to overseas locations).

  • Involves the personnel and medical commands and the Department of Defense educational system overseas.

The EFMP family support function:

  • Is not mandatory. DoD policy on family centers allows, but does not require, the Military Services to offer family support services to exceptional family members within the Military Services' family support systems.

  • Differs from Service to Service.

The Army and the Marine Corps staff their family centers with individuals whose responsibility is to provide support to families with exceptional family members. They are called the EFMP Managers (Army) or EFMP Coordinators (Marine Corps).

In the Navy, the EFMP staff who support the Personnel Function may also provide family support services, but the Navy does not staff their family centers with EFMP Coordinators.

In the Air Force, the Special Needs staff are located in the Military Treatment Facility (MTF) only. The EFMP Re-Assignments Branch is a personnel function. Family Support Center staff provides Family Life Education, Information and Referral and Personal Finance Management services but do not have a designated Coordinator.


EFMP enrollment is mandatory and required immediately upon identification of a special need.   The required forms for enrollment are:


For more information, visit the Military Homefront website.