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Resources for Military Families

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Military Family Resource Center
A virtual resource for policy makers and those providing services toactive duty service members, reservists, and their families.

National Military Family Association (NMFA)
A national organization dedicated to identifying and resolving issuesof concern to military families through education, information, andadvocacy.

Adoption Reimbursement Policy U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 1341.9,issued by the DoD Washington Headquarters Services' Directives andRecord Division, is posted online. This instruction outlines the policyand responsibilities for the reimbursement of qualifying adoptionexpenses. Up to $2,000 per child (or up to $5,000 per year) forqualifying expenses is available to military families whose adoptionswere arranged by a qualified adoption agency. Benefits are paid afterthe adoption is complete. The National Military Family Association (NMFA) has a fact sheet, DoD Adoption Reimbursement Program (PDF 35 KB),with further information on allowable expenses. A child is considered adependent in determining travel and transportation allowances (PublicLaw No. 102-190, section 621, reference (d)). Check with your JudgeAdvocate General (JAG) if there is a question about this instruction asinterpretation varies from installation to installation.

Child Development Programs are available at approximately 300DoD locations, including 800 centers and approximately 9,000 familychild care homes. The services may include full day, part-day andhourly (drop-in) childcare, part-day preschool programs, before- andafter-school programs for school-aged children, and extended hourscare, including nights and weekends. Not all services are available atall installations.

Deployment Deferment or Extension of Assignment are options military families may request if they need to remain in one State to finalize an adoption. According to DoD Instruction 1341.9,commanders are encouraged to approve requests for ordinary leave once achild is placed in the home of a member. The instruction states thatsingle members or one member of a military couple shall receive a 4-month assignment and deployment deferment immediately following the date a child is placed.

The Exceptional Family Member Programwithin the military provides many services including assisting familieswho need to be stationed in areas that provide for specific medical orother services that might not be available in remote locations. Itshould be noted that the military definition of special needsis more narrowly defined to mean "persons with physical or mentaldisabilities or severe illness." This differs from what adoptionprofessionals often refer to as children with special needs - more broadly defined to include children who may be healthy but are older, in sibling groups, or members of a minority group.

Family Service Centers located on every major militaryinstallation can provide military families with information regardingadoption reimbursement and other familial benefits.

Medical Care is available to military families at militarytreatment facilities, and health care benefits are provided underTRICARE in civilian medical facilities if access to care is notavailable at an installation. TRICARE is the military medical benefitsprogram that replaced CHAMPUS. An adopted child, including a childplaced in the home of a service member by a placement agency, iseligible for benefits after the child is enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)phone: (800) 538-9552.The patient affairs personnel at a specific medical treatment facilitymay have information. Specific information on access and eligibility isavailable on the TRICARE Web site or by calling the DoD Worldwide Tricare Information Center at (888) 363-2273.

Family Advocacy Program provides individual and familycounseling services for military families. Most of the programs aregeared toward prevention and the development of a healthier lifestyle.The New Parent Support Programs available at some militaryinstallations are one component of the Family Advocacy Program. Theseprograms are available to all families (birth or adoptive) withchildren ages 3 or under. The MFRC has a New Parent Support Programs in the Military (PDF 107 KB) fact sheet that provides more information.

Tax Benefits for Adoption. A taxbenefit of up to $10,390 is available for all adoptive families. While military families do not qualify for services under the Family Medical Leave Act, they do qualify for this tax benefit.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)

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