It can be difficult to make decisions when a spouse deploys and isn't available to talk about the situation. Having a family care plan can make decisions much easier since it documents what each spouse's thoughts, beliefs, and wishes. Understand what should be included in a family care plan and where to receive military assistance to create your own.
What to Include In a Plan
- Designate an agent to take care of your children while you are away. This should include a power of attorney that explains the responsibilities that a guardian takes on while in charge of your children.
- Ensure that identification and commissary cards for all members of the family are kept in an accessible spot. Everyone should be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and all ID cards should be up to date.
- Arrange for travel so that your children will be able to get to their guardian. Buy plane, bus or train tickets and have a way for your children to get from their place of arrival to the home of their guardian.
- Get your estate in order by drafting a will. While a hard subject to think about, you must have a legal document in place in the event that you are incapacitated or pass away during your deployment or even on a drill. Contact a lawyer who specializes in this area of law to help you get your affairs in order.
- Enroll in a life insurance plan such as the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance or a similar plan designed for members of the military.
- Establish a way for your family to get everything that they need, from basic needs like food, transportation and housing to more specific needs such as things your family will need in the event of an emergency.
- Provide means for your children's guardian to access necessary funds to pay for their care. This might be included in your power of attorney, or it might mean setting up a separate bank account that the guardian can access.
- Outline your children's daily activities. Including what they do before and after school because this will help your designated guardian understand what you expect for your family.
- The location of important documents such as your will and the children's birth certificates.
- Any relevant medical information, such as medical conditions, prescriptions and allergies.
- As many details as possible about how your family works. This should include information like whether or not you and your children attend religious services regularly, what you expect from your children in terms of performance at school and how you expect the guardian to discipline the children.
- Calendars for school and religious services.
- Contact information for: neighbors, relatives, friends, doctors, dentists, military unit, Commanding Officer, First Sergeant, any other supervisors and your point of contact at the family readiness program.
For further information, resources and assistance with a military family care plan:
You should also consult with your Base Commander. In many cases, your Commanding Officer must approve your care plan.
Create One Now for Peace of Mind
An army family care plan is essential for caring for your family while you are away, be it on a long-term deployment or just drilling for a weekend. This will ensure that your kids are taken care of in a manner that you consider appropriate while you are away and give you the peace of mind to concentrate on your duties in your absence.