Why do we have Family Care Plans?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bruce Stohlman
  • 31st Testing and Evaluation Squadron First Sergeant
During the first Gulf War, many Air Force members had difficulty balancing family responsibilities. There was a need for preparedness in this area and thus, the Family Care Plan was born.

The first Gulf War highlighted military deployment and inadequate family preparation. Leaving families behind with very little notice, many military members found it challenging to fulfill their military duties, due to lack of forecasted, alternative care for their families.

The intent of the Family Care Plan Program ensures Air Force readiness and care for Air Force families. Short- and long-term providers, who are not military members, are identified to care for dependents in times of military need, like extended work hours, temporary duty, or deployments.

A Family Care Plan is needed for any military member with a legal dependent under the age of 19 or with special needs. Whether a dual military couple or single parent, Family Care Plans are critical to mission success.

Members are encouraged to consider all family needs when developing their Family Care Plan and concerns should include but are not limited to: children, dependent elderly parents for whom the member is responsible, and pets.

All military members should be briefed on plan requirements upon initial in-processing. Members are given 60 days to complete their initial plan, and 30 days to make any updates as their tour progresses. Annual recurring training and review of the Family Care Plan should take place.

To complete a Family Care Plan, the member will complete an AF Form 357, which identifies providers. Members will need a Power of Attorney for each identified care provider. Powers of Attorney, which are critical for care-givers who complete actions on the sponsor's behalf, can be accomplished free of charge with assistance from the Legal Office.
Lastly, the member will complete a locally devised memorandum describing special needs or requirements for their dependents. Unit first sergeants can provide guidance on these and other concerns either the servicemember or their family members might have.

For more information or assistance completing your Family Care Plan, please contact your unit's first sergeant or the Edwards Airmen and Family Readiness Center at 277-5433; refer to Air Force Instruction 36-2908.