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Researchers aim to improve lives of military families with special needs
Date:11/3/2011

itary base in Korea or Germany would benefit from our work because those installations abroad have responsibility to the families of their military personnel."

Each military branch has a program called the Exceptional Family Member Program that supports special-needs families by providing information, referral to services, advocacy training and outreach. The KU research will enhance the EFMP's delivery of these services and promote its consistency across Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force installations worldwide.

"If you don't have policy informed by the literature and research, you are apt to be floating around, without sufficient direction," Turnbull said. "There most likely will be standardization of policy and practice as a result of our work, and that result becomes very important given the amount of intra-service and intra-base work in the military. Military personnel need some certainty in their lives. But there's a tremendous amount of uncertainty in their lives because they deploy often and they're frequently in harm's way. When we can provide certain standardized policies and services that are available at every branch and at every installation, then we can assist the military family support programs to address the special-needs issues that military families have."

Turnbull said that standardization and improvement of policies designed to help families with special-needs members would likely boost the overall effectiveness of the armed services, while improving the lives of those who serve their country. To this end, research at KU's Beach Center aims to achieve four goals: enhance mission readiness, ease the burdens of redeployment, advance retention in the services and aid recruitment efforts.

"Part of the motivation here is our sense of responsibility to armed forces personnel," said Turnbull. "We recognized the great need that they have. This is more a matter of patriotism than practically any other work we've done, be
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Contact: Brendan Lynch
blynch@ku.edu
785-864-8855
University of Kansas
Source:Eurekalert

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