Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Respite Child Care


Call (800) 424-2246 to ask about
Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care

What is Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care?

U.S. Air Force (USAF) Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) families stationed throughout the country have children who require child care services. Some children have special needs that require unique child care considerations. Finding and paying for quality child care for children with special needs can also present significant challenges for military families. The U.S. Air Force EFMP has established a quality respite child care program for families with children having special needs and who are enrolled in the USAF EFMP. Respite Child Care is specially designed for Air Force families who have children diagnosed with moderate or severe special needs.

Where is the program available?

The Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care Program is available for all service members stationed at an Air Force Base within the Continental United States (CONUS) as well as Hawaii and Alaska. Additionally, Child Care Aware® of America will attempt to locate a provider for all Air Force service members who are stationed at alternative locations in the Continental United States.

How many hours of Respite Child Care can I qualify for?

After recent authorization by Air Force Headquarters, all eligible Air Force families may receive up to 40 hours of respite child care per month.

What is authorized in Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care?

  •   Up to 40 hours of respite child care per month
  •   Your choice of an approved* provider in your home, licensed Family Child Care home or child care center/special needs center

*Approved providers have comprehensive background checks and pre-service training: CPR, First Aid, Medication Dispensation, and Child Abuse Recognition & Prevention as well as subject matter training in the care of children with special needs.

How much will Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care cost my family?

Respite Child Care is free to eligible families.

Who is eligible for Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care?

Airmen are eligible if:

  • The family is enrolled in the USAF EFMP
  • The EFM child(ren), ages birth through 18 years, are diagnosed with moderate or severe special needs
  • The sibling, ages birth through 12 years
  • The EFM child(ren) and siblings must reside with the Airman
  • The Airman is stationed within the Continental United States
  • The Airman is active duty, including Air Guard and Reserve, if activated for at least 31 days

How Can EFMP Respite Child Care Help My Family?

Experts agree that parenting is a hard job. Every parent can benefit from a break. Caring for children with developmental delays, behavior problems or disabilities presents challenges that can test the best of parents. Parents with an exceptional family member (EFM) need rest periods and down time.  It may be difficult to find a qualified person who is trained, background screened and is also a truly caring individual to care for exceptional children. EFMP Respite Child Care helps with these challenges.

Respite Child Care is particularly important for Airmen’s families who are often stationed away from their families. Without family support it is often hard to trust someone to take care of the children, especially the children with exceptional needs. EFMP Respite Child Care partner agencies train and screen all providers so families can rest assured their children are getting the care they need while families get a much needed break. Our annual survey respondents have told us that having Respite Child Care not only strengthened their marriages but allowed the Airman to be free from worry about their family during duty hours, and thus be more productive.

EFMP Respite Child Care can strengthen the family. Respite Child Care helps decrease stress and increase health and well-being. It allows families to focus on individual family members, while knowing their children are being well taken care of.

Research shows that having children with disabilities can cause stress on marriages. Finding adequate support outside of the family may be a critical aspect of sustaining a marriage. Without these, a couple is stretched too thin: anxieties increase, resentments mount, and the marital stress can negate the positive aspects of married life. Positive external supports such as Respite Child Care help reduce stress and provide tools, information, and opportunities to build camaraderie with others.

When families have children with special needs, the need for support often exceeds the couple’s capacity within their own family. Some parents miss available resources; they often tough it out alone due to lack of awareness of existing resources or thinking they should be able to manage on their own. Some couples don’t realize that having supports can make the marriage stronger. One of the most common obstacles is difficulty acknowledging the need for help. Asking for help implies weakness for some people.

Couples having regular time alone together can increase communication and reduce marital tension.  Also, having dedicated time to perform necessary household duties without interruption also leads to less stress on a marriage. Respite Child Care can also increase the skills and abilities of the children being cared for.  Trained providers can bring new activities, new ideas and new skills to children who will enhance their development as well as enjoy the new activities.

What Are Ways I Can Use Respite Care?

The word respite means “relief.” Respite Child Care is designed to give families a break from caring for their children, and allows parents time to do things that are relaxing, entertaining or restful while the respite provider cares for their children. A respite break might mean that a parent can take time for a walk, go to the commissary without children, take a nap, or see a friend while a well-trained provider cares for the children. Here are some other ideas:

  • Go for a date with your spouse or significant other
  • Have one-on-one time with one individual child while brothers or sisters receive Respite Child Care
  • Attend a support group
  • Relax at home in a room away or near the Respite Child Caregiver
  • Go for coffee with friends or alone
  • Read a book, magazine or newspaper
  • Go to the library
  • Go for a workout
  • Attend a book club or other hobby  activities
  • Work at home in another room from Respite Child Care, e.g., paying bills, doing laundry, cooking, or organizing without the distraction of children needing your attention.

Who should I call?

Families or interested providers call Child Care Aware® of America toll-free at (800) 424-2246.

How do I apply for Air Force Respite Child Care?

Child Care Aware® of America will connect the Airman’s family to the local participating agency. The agency will work individually with each family to complete the necessary application and assist with connecting the family to a local respite child care provider who will meet their needs.

The local participating agency will provide the family and providers the necessary forms and applications. Please click below to apply online or download the application here.

Apply Now

What do I need to apply for Air Force Respite Child Care?

Child Care Aware® of America will connect the Airman’s family to the local participating agency. The agency will work individually with each family to complete the necessary application and assist with connecting the family to a local respite child care provider who will meet their needs. Child Care Aware® of America will send the family the following form to complete and return: Respite Child Care Verification Statement.

Completed verification forms must be returned to Child Care Aware® of America via fax or email as listed on the form.

Additional documentation:  please fill out the Self Certification Form for children listed on the application.

How long does it take?

The process is individualized for each family. The agency will meet with the family to complete the initial paperwork. The agency and family will work together to identify potential respite child care providers to determine which provider(s) best meet the family’s needs. Once a provider has been interviewed and selected by the family, the family will notify the agency and care can begin.

What are parents saying about Air Force EFMP Respite Child Care?

“This program is invaluable to my family. I don’t know where we would be without it. My family is in a better place mentally, my husband and I are able to strengthen our marriage and parenting skills thanks to this program. Having a special needs child is the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. This program helps all of our family. We are able to dedicate time to each of the children individually, my husband is able to focus on his duties at work during work time and not worried about home life. THANKS A MILLION!!!!”

– Parent Testimonial

Respite Care has been a wonderful gift! It has been such a relief to know my boys, ages three and one, are being taken care of while either I or my husband and I get to get some time. We have…a wonderful respite provider who provides such peace of mind… it’s nice to know the kids are in such capable hands…It is a huge burden that has been lifted…we greatly appreciate it…It keeps us sane! Thank you for the service to our family!”

– Parent, Travis AFB

“…The (application) process..has gone as smooth as silk.  The individuals (providers) referred are phenomenal, they have insight and ideas to use when working with (our daughter) are a great addition to (her) development and growth!  I would venture to say they might even be overqualified but that doesn’t hurt anything.  (Daughter) warmed up to them quickly and liked them a lot.  The process wasn’t hard and we are extremely pleased with every facet of the program, application process, and individuals that we have interacted with along the way…thanks for being an advocate for this program to take flight.”

– Parent Testimonial

This program has been such a relief to my wife and me.  (The provider) we have worked with throughout the program has been amazing, dependable and very professional.  (It is a relief) to have some time alone and a bit of relief from the daily tasks of dealing with a special needs child.  This program is a great thing, and my wife… and I want to thank you so much for offering it and funding it.

– Parent Testimonial

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