By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
According to the U.S. Defense Department, around 220,000 service members have dependents with Special Needs. But tending to a Special Needs child can be very difficult for military families. Every time the family is transferred to a different school district, parents must figure out the intricacies of local Special Education policies. For spouses of deployed soldiers, the task becomes even more difficult, as they are often forced to deal with it alone.
The Marines and the Army have recently stepped in to provide support to parents of special needs children. For example, the Marine Corps will provide parents with a caseworker and a special education attorney to help them straighten out their child’s educational plan with the local school district. The professionals will accompany parents to meetings with school and, if necessary, to court. Not surprisingly, school districts are more eager to negotiate with a special needs lawyer in the room.
In spite of the positive results of the program, the U.S. Department of Defense reports that fewer than half of all eligible military families have taken advantage of it. Reportedly some service members are afraid that participation will limit their chances for promotion, due to the fact that enrolled members can only be transferred to bases where specialty doctors are available to address their child’s needs. But recent additions to the program, such as forty hours a month of free respite care and attorney help with legal issues has increased enrollment by forty percent.
Find out more about what the military is doing to help families with Special Needs children at Military helps families find care for special-needs kids.