United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

Children with Special Needs

The Pediatric Clinic at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center strives to provide outstanding, coordinated, comprehensive care for our families taking care of children with special needs – physical, psychiatric, or educational.  Below are some important links to hopefully help you navigate the confusing sea of information related to military children with special health care needs.

(Extracted from Department of Defense’s “Special Needs Parent Tool Kit: Birth to 18”):

External Link Disclaimer:
By clicking on these links, you will leave the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center website. Lovell FHCC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.

Early Intervention: Detecting Delays, Determining Eligibility, and Locating Support Services

Early Intervention Services (EIS) are usually described as special services to meet the needs of infants and toddlers, from birth through age two, who have a developmental delay or disability, and their families.  Today, Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that all fifty states and jurisdictions, as well as the Department of Defense (DOD), have a system of EIS for all children with disabilities from birth until they turn three years of age.

For More information about IDEA, go to http://idea.ed.gov 

Your doctor may refer your child to an EIS point of contact in your community.  Developmental screenings and evaluations to determine eligibility for services are completed through part of Child Find activities.  Child Find screening, or evaluation, to determine if your child may be eligible for EIS is provided at no cost to you.  For information about Child Find, visit www.childfindidea.org

Even if your doctor does not refer you to an EIS program, you can contact EIS yourself and explain that you are concerned about your child’s development.  A list of state led agencies and contacts can be found at www.nectac.org/contact/Ptccoord.asp.

When planning your child’s transition out of EIS, there are many factors to be considered, forms to complete, evaluations to arrange, and meetings to attend.  For additional information about transitioning out of EIS, visit www.nichcy.org/babies/transition.

For specific information about state EIS procedural safeguards and due process procedures, visit www.nectac.org/topics/procsafe/stateonlinec.asp.

Additional parent resources are available at www.taalliance.org.

Some military installations are equipped with medical departments that provide EIS through Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS).  EDIS program locations can be found on the Military Installations website at www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil. (NOT AVAILABLE AT GREAT LAKES)

For information about military EDIS procedural safeguards and due process procedures, visit www.edis.army.mil/safeguards.htm.

For more information about infant and toddler development and developmental milestones, visit the following websites:



PARENT SUPPORT: Understand, Share, Train, Advocate

HOMEFRONTConnections, a DoD social networking site, provides a secure place where military family members with special needs can meet and interact online to share experiences, post pictures and videos, write blogs, and create discussion boards.   Visit at https://aapps.mhf.dod.mil/homefrontconnections.
Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers are found in every state. They serve families of children and young adults from birth to age twenty-two with disabilities.  Centers may provide information, training, referrals, and advocacy services to assist parents in obtaining needed resources within their communities.  To locate the PTI Center in your state, visit www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp/resources. Click on “State Resources” and choose the link for your state.

You can access a state by state list of protection and advocacy agencies, as well as information on advocacy strategies, through MilitaryHOMEFRONT by visiting www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp/resources. Click on “State Resources” and choose the link for your state.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) offers a wealth of information, in both English and Spanish, on disabilities in children and youth. To learn more about Early Intervention Services for infants and toddlers, special education services for children with special needs, and specific disabilities, visit their website at www.nichcy.org.

Specialized Training for Military Parents Project (STOMP) is dedicated to educating and training military parents of children who have special education or health care needs. STOMP assists military families by providing information, support, and advice. Visit STOMP at www.stompproject.org.

Every state has a Protection and Advocacy Agency.  This organization will help you learn how to advocate for your child within the public school system.  If you have a concern, do not hesitate to contact this agency.  To locate your state agency, visit www.napas.org.
The military community is not immune to personal or family issues.  These concerns can range from minor stressors and challenges related to the unique demands of military life to major difficulties that may place a family at risk for domestic abuse or child abuse and neglect.  The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) sponsors activities and services including public awareness briefings, individual and couples counseling, crisis intervention, victim advocacy, support groups, and stress management and other well-being workshops. FAP services may be found at MTF or installation Family Centers.

**The Great Lakes Naval Base FAP Office is located in the Fleet and Family Support Center (Building 26, 525 Farragut Ave.) on the main Great Lakes Naval Base campus and can be reached at (847)688-3603.**


TRICARE: Benefits and Information

TRICARE is the worldwide health care program available to eligible beneficiaries of the seven uniformed services and certain National Guard and Reserve members.  TRICARE is a major component of America’s Military Health System (MHS).  For additional information on MHS visit www.health.mil.  For additional information on TRICARE, visit www.tricare.mil.
Some service members and their families may qualify for the Transitional Assistance Management Program, which provides 180 days of transitional health care benefits beginning on the day after loss of eligibility for military health care.  Visit http://tricare.mil/tamp to find out who is eligible and for more information on transitional health care benefits.
TRICARE Online is the Department of Defense’s portal for beneficiaries receiving care within the military treatment facilities.  The portal provides secure, interactive access to a host of unique and exciting services, tools, and resources.  You can make appointments for primary care, access a medical library, and find links to information about health and wellness, facilities, and providers.  Visit www.tricareonline.com.

Mental health care benefits can be confusing.  Your regional contractor can assist you.  To find out more about what conditions and treatments are covered by TRICARE, please visit the following websites:

Conditions: www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/MentalHealthAndBehavior/Conditions

Treatments: www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/MentalHealthAndBehavior/TypesOfTreatments

Extended Care Health Option (ECHO): TRICARE’s ECHO supplements basic TRICARE coverage.  The ECHO provides financial assistance for certain services and supplies to qualified active duty family members (including eligible family members of activated National Guard or Reserve).  For a detailed ECHO pamphlet that includes how to enroll, visit www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/SpecialPrograms/ECHO

Active duty sponsors pay a cost share that is based on their grade and is separate from other TRICARE program cost shares.  The sponsor pays one cost share per month an ECHO benefit is received by the family member(s), regardless of the number of family members receiving an ECHO benefit that month.  For more information, visit www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/SpecialPrograms/ECHO/Costs.



Families in Transition: Preparing, Moving, Deployments, and Adjusting

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) includes a variety of personnel and family support functions.  Enrollment is a component of the program and is mandatory for all military personnel who have a family member with a medical and/or educational disability.  Being enrolled means medical and/or educational needs are considered as a duty station is being selected.  Service members will be assigned to an area where their family member’s educational and medical needs can be met, provided a valid personnel requirement for the service member’s grade and specialty exists.  By submitting a completed DD2792 (http://www.lovell.fhcc.va.gov/MedicalHomeport/PediatricDocs/EFMP.pdf), Family Member Medical Summary, and/or the DD2792-1 (http://www.lovell.fhcc.va.gov/MedicalHomeport/PediatricDocs
), Special Education/Early Intervention Summary, the military member identifies that a family member has a special need. You can find a listing of installation EFMP offices by visiting the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website at www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil

**The Great Lakes Naval Base EFMP Coordinator is located on the Lovell FHCC campus (Building 135) and can be reached at (224) 610-4763. ** The EFMP Representative can be reached at 224-610-3087.

Military families with special needs who are not located near a military installation are encouraged to call Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 and ask to speak with a Special Needs Specialty Consultant. The Military OneSource program is designed to supplement programs and services available on the installation and can be especially helpful to National Guard and Reserve families who do not live near an installation, or to members who are geographically isolated.  You can also visit Military OneSource online at www.militaryonesource.com.

The Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) offers a wealth of services to make your next move as smooth as possible. Family Centers are located on military installations and are specially equipped to assist with relocation.  They can offer a variety of free services and support services such as; relocation information, lending lockers, employment, and financial management.  The Family Center can connect you to the installation EFMP and to available respite care programs.  To find a Family center near you, visit www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil.

The Military Youth on the Move website reaches out to youth with creative ways to cope with issues that arise in the face of a move, such as transitioning to a new school, saying goodbye to friends, and getting involved in a new community.  The website is divided into three primary target audiences: elementary school, middle school, and high school.  It also includes information specifically designed to help parents help their children navigate challenges such as a move, a new school, or making decisions about life after high school. Visit http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/myom.

For state education resources and information, visit MilitaryHOMEFRONT at www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp.

To locate Child Development Centers (CDCs) and school-age programs, visit www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil.
Plan My Move is a comprehensive tool that includes information for military families with special needs.  You can create customized moving tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and arrival checklists, which are intended to help you stay organized and make your next move as smooth as possible. Visit www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/movingandrelocation.

Employment Assistance Program, which has a slightly different name in each of the Services, provides spouses with the tools and skills necessary to identify and actively pursue employment that matches well with their needs and skills. Visit the Spouse Employment section on MilitaryHOMEFRONT at www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/spouseemployment.

Military OneSource endeavors to support military spouses in meeting their personal, education, and career goals and finding portable careers through the following education, career, and financial resources: MyCareer Exploration, MyEducation and Training, MyCareer Readiness, MyCareer Connections, MyCAA Program.  Please call 800-342-9647 or by visiting Military OneSource online at www.militaryonesource.com.
Deployments: If you or your children are having a particularly difficult time adjusting to the deployment, counseling is readily available through several sources.  Military OneSource offers twelve free, in-person counseling sessions per person.  Sessions are short-term, problem focused, and address a variety of issues that are non-medical in nature.  Telephone consultations and online consultations can be arranged for those unable to attend face-to-face counseling.  Please visit www.militaryonesource.com. TRICARE offers eight counseling sessions without a referral from your primary care manager; more sessions can be authorized if necessary.  Chaplains can also be a great source of support to assist with handling deployment-related issues.

Disaster or Emergency Preparedness: If you are experiencing financial difficulty because of a natural disaster or other crisis, your military aid society or the American Red Cross may be able to help.  Disability.gov has comprehensive information on emergency preparedness, response, and recovery plans that take into account the needs of people with disabilities.  Please visit www.disability.gov.

Army Emergency Relief Society: 866-878-6378
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: 703-696-4904
Air Force Aid Society: 800-769-8951
The American Red Cross: 202-303-4498


Special Needs Children Transitioning to Adulthood: Social, Medical, and Legal Needs

Independent Living: Contact your states Parent Training and Information Center and ask about public or private programs that help with transition.  Contact information can be found at www.taaliance.org.

The Special Care Organizational Record (SCOR) for Children with Special Health Care Needs can help with a Letter of Intent that enables parents to share a variety of information with the person designated to care and make decisions for their child after they have passed away.  Within the SCOR, parents can also specify estate information, including financial information, advanced directives, life insurance policy information, and guardianship. You can download the SCOR at www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp/toolbox or order a hardcopy at www.militaryonesource.com.

Guardianship and Declaration of Incapacitation: When a child reaches the age of majority, eighteen in most states, it is assumed that he or she will be able to make decisions about health, finances, and the future. If you are concerned that your child will not be capable of making these decisions responsibly, consider petitioning your local court for guardianship.  Visit www.militaryhomefron.dod.mil/tf/efmp to find information about guardianship.

Identification Cards for Adult Children: Service members’ unmarried children who are age twenty-one and over, severely disabled, and who are disabled due to a condition prior to the child’s twenty-first birthday are entitled to TRICARE benefits and are eligible to retain their military identification cards.  In the Navy and Marine Corps, this program is called The Incapacitated Dependents Program.  In the Army the program is called the Incapacitated Children Over 21.  See below for Service-specific information on retaining military identification cards:

Army – 317-212-1621
Marine Corps – 703-784-9529/30 (If you are retired or a former spouse, call 800-336-4649)
Navy – 888-332-7411
Air Force – 317-212-0129

***If you are considering obtaining guardianship for your child, you should begin the process before your child turns eighteen. ***


Legislation: Rights, Resources, and Education

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability.  Because Section 504’s definition of disability is broader than the IDEA’s definition, some children who do not qualify for special education under the IDEA may qualify for special help under Section 504.  This can be especially useful for children with invisible conditions, such as learning disabilities or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  For more information about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, visit www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.  It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.  For more information visit www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp.

(DoD) Directive 1020.1 “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs and Activities Assisted or Conducted by the Department of Defense,” prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs and activities receiving federal funds through DoD. For more information about this Directive, visit www.dtic.mil.

For further information or assistance, contact your state’s Protection and Advocacy Agency.  The National Disability Rights Network lists state agencies at www.napas.org.

Medicaid: Medicaid pays for health care for some individuals and families with low income and few resources.  It is a national program with broad guidelines, but each state sets its own eligibility rules and decides what services to provide. States can also choose to cover other groups of children under the age of nineteen or those who live in higher income families.

Many states qualify children under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, also known as the Katie Beckett Waiver or the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver.  This allows children to qualify without considering their parents’ income.  To find information on Medicaid and Medicaid waivers in your state, visit www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/tf/efmp/resources.
Military families struggling with the cost of care for a family member with a disability should consider applying for Medicaid and the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver.  Benefits may exceed those offered by TRICARE.

School Liaisons network, educate, and work in partnership with local schools to advise military parents of school-aged children on educational issues and needs.  The School Liaison may also assist in solving education-related problems.  To locate your installation School Liaison, visit www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil.

The National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice (EDJJ) is concerned by the number of youth with disabilities at risk for contact with the courts or already involved in the juvenile delinquency system.  EDJJ provides assistance, conducts research, and disseminates resources in three areas: prevention of school failure and delinquency, education and special education for detained and committed youth, and transition services for youth returning to schools and communities.  For more information, visit www.edjj.org or call 301-405-6462.


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