The Purple is Muddy


While Seadaddy is Navy, we live on an Army post.  He  is on his second shore command in this area and despite a brief hiccup (that might have bothered me slightly), he is back to working where he used to work (four(ish) out of five days anyway).  Although this new command keeps to their sailor-selves pretty much exclusively, most schools and workspaces are decidedly Team Purple.  So despite living on an Army post, our neighbors are also Navy, Air Force, Marines and we've even seen a Coast Guard bumper sticker or two. Most times there is no real issue with this Joint Services existence.  Our trips to the Commissary and enrolling the kids in hourly care go smoothly.  We get on post just fine and booking appointments at the MTF isn't any harder for us.  But there are times when things do not go smoothly.

This has become terribly apparent in our (so far failed) attempt to get our son's EFMP status properly filed.  I am not sure why this is proving so problematic, but it sure makes me wish there was one EFMP person that handled the paperwork for the Army and all of the "partner organizations" as they call us on their facebook page.   The MTF's EFMP coordinator tells us the ins and outs of how the paperwork is handled and what the timeline will be between handing over the completed forms and when we can expect our letter confirming completion.  Then she finds out we are Navy and takes back everything she just told me and says I'll need to talk to someone else but she is pretty sure the ten days she was talking about will turn into six weeks for us.  I talk to the Army's ACS EFMP person to get signed up for their email list and discuss the services and activities on post and then talk to the Navy's FFSC EFMP person for details on paperwork.  She tells me she'll forward the paperwork on to it's next destination and we bid a polite adieu.

Fast forward a few weeks and I call around for an update.  Nothing is entered into the system officially and somehow my paperwork no longer exists at the MTF's EFMP coordinator's office.  After this is remedied, I get a phone call about a week later from a nearby Army location that processes EFMP paperwork asking me if I have a copy of the paperwork because *I* sent it to them in error being that I am Navy so they will be *shredding* it.  Oh Dear Lord, did I mention I have my father's temper?

I'm not entirely sure if things are straightened out yet, but I was able to get some help with enrolling in ECHO so our son can hopefully start receiving some services that I feel are quite necessary at this point.

An additional Team Purple FAIL was trying to get someone from the EFMP team to attend our son's IEP meeting.  Despite some positive aspects of the services and interactions we have had with our county's Infants and Toddlers program, there has also been some huge disappointments.  Having never been through an IEP meeting, I was relieved to see our post offered to have someone attend meetings on our behalf.  I am generally not one to ask for help, yet I did follow the directions on the website to see if someone could attend our meeting.  Turns out this service only applies easily to Army families and if you are a Navy family you can play Who's on First? with a couple of people and possibly get somewhere but I couldn't tell you how long you'd have to try for it because I honestly gave up.  It is more helpful and less frustrating googling 'first iep meeting' etc etc ad nauseam.

From my experience it seems families stationed at their sister service's bases and posts are not being given access to services they need in a way that works as well as it should.   When it comes to special needs families, time is of a premium and being shuffled around (and around and around) and not getting anywhere is really not how I'm looking to spend my kids' nap time.  I am not sure what the best solution is or if there are more Joint Services commands that haven't worked things out effectively, but I hope improvements come down the pike.

I'm wondering, anyone else have experience running into trouble because your branch is not the main branch where you are stationed?  What about things working perfectly smooth?

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