Certain Families who receive respite services from the Exceptional Family Member Program at Fort Bragg will no longer be eligible for these services as of July 1. On that date, exceptional Family members in levels 1 and 2 cannot seek respite services from EFMP, according to Trisha Newton, manager, EFMP, Army Community Service.

Over 40 Families are losing respite care services entirely. Newton said the Families affected have exceptional Family members with conduct disorders, behavior management issues and autism.

“(Autism) is the biggest hit,” she said. “Most of our Family members on the (autism) spectrum and with Down Syndrome are level 2 Families.”

The reason for the change is budget cuts. An Installation Management Command memorandum, signed by Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, IMCOM commanding general, outlines all updates to the respite care program.

Changes are also coming for level 3 and 4 Families. Historically, these Families have been eligible for up to 40 hours of respite care per month, but on July 1, the maximum number of hours will be reduced to 25 per month, according to Newton.

“At this time, we do not know how the matrix will break down,” Newton said. “Currently, it can be anywhere from eight hours to 40 and it goes up in four hour increments, but how that new matrix will look, we have not received it yet, so we do not know.”

Newton said her team is helping Families with the transition and has sent several letters explaining the changes to those affected.

“Basically it means that they are going to lose a qualified, completely vetted provider that can come in and take care of the EFM so the primary caretaker can take a break and leave the home,” she said.

EFMP is ready and willing to help these Families as much as they can, said Newton. One of the backup options for respite care is through the TRICARE Extended Care Health Option, and Newton’s team is working with TRICARE to have one of their educators visit Fort Bragg and discuss options with Families.

She said her systems navigators can also work with Families trying to go through the county education systems to access services, as well.

“The biggest thing is we are here to help and we will do our best,” Newton said.

For more information about the changes, call Trisha Newton at 907-3395.