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News > Family First: Care Plans Ensure Deployment Readiness
Family First: Care Plans Ensure Deployment Readiness

Posted 2/28/2011   Updated 2/28/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Tabitha Dupas
403rd Wing Public Affairs

2/28/2011 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS. -- An Airman who is deployed has a specific duty. His thoughts and actions should be geared toward the mission at hand. If things are uncertain with his family back home, the focus can easily shift and put fellow Airmen in danger. 

Air Force Instruction 36-2908 requires that single parent members, military couples, and special cases decided by the commander or first sergeant have a detailed plan for family members in case of deployment. 

"This is a mandatory program. If an Airman does not take care of his Family Care Plan, the commander has the authority to issue discipline," said Chief Master Sgt. Jahir Medina, 403rd Force Support Squadron superintendent. "If we have an Airman deployed and he doesn't know who is taking care of his children, it could compromise the mission. Also, if something were to happen, a change in location or schedule, we are able to locate and inform your family." 

Airmen of the 403rd Wing are briefed about planning for deployment upon in-processing to their unit. 

"Usually, there is a family care briefing at the newcomers meetings," said Tech. Sgt. Callie Jones, 403rd Force Support Squadron. "This is when we find out who will need the program and add them to a list that is sent out to all the commanders and first sergeants. From there, it is the first sergeants job to inform the Airmen of what they need to do." 

"Airmen have 60 days after they are notified to comply with the regulations of the Family Care Plan," said Chief Medina. 

It is each individual airman's responsibility to make sure the proper steps are taken to establish the appropriate arrangements. 

The best place to begin the planning process is with the first sergeant. An Air Force Form 357 should be filled out. 

In this form, the Airmen choose the primary caregiver for their children while deployed.

"Our people don't have to worry about their children because they will be with people they choose and trust," said Chief Medina. 

In order for the children to get proper medical or dental attention or have certain situations adressed in the Airman's absence, a power of attorney must be designated. This can be the same person as the primary caregiver. 

Directions and maps for residence, schools or other regularly attended addresses are to be disclosed with paperwork to ensure the caregiver has everything necessary to accommodate the dependents. Also, it is the Airmen's responsibility to make certain the dependents are financially taken care of. 

If something changes in the information on the form, the service member must inform the first sergeant immediately. 

"There are annual evaluations to keep the program up to date," said Chief Medina. "It helps if the Airman come to us the minute there is a change." 

Sergeant Jones has put her Family Care Plan to use. 

"You want to make sure your loved ones are being taken care of while you are gone," she said. "This is one of the most important things to have completed before you leave because it is for them." 

The Family Care Plan is unavoidable. It is a requirement as an Air Force member. Without the worry of who is caring for their family, they are better able to complete their mission. 

"There is a peace of mind for a servicemember to know that his family is taken care of in the departure of deployment." said Chief Medina. "That will allow them to focus more on their duty."

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