AFSO21 team streamlines process to benefit families with special needs Published March 17, 2010 By Senior Airman Steve Bauer 30th Space Wing Public Affairs VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century team is hosting a conference March 15 - 19 here to improve the base's responsiveness to families with special needs. The AFSO21 team assembled a special needs task force, including the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the 30th Medical Group here, to improve the process of assisting newly identified special needs families in obtaining community and educational support from local city, county and state agencies. "The focus of this project is to identify performance gaps in the support systems that currently exist for Exceptional Family Member Program families, analyze the root causes and develop countermeasures to those root causes," said Elaine Huggins, a 30th Space Wing AFSO21 process manager. Families with special needs include those families who have one or more members who require enhanced medical, educational, or psychological support, said Master Sgt. Jeff Duggins, a co-lead in the AFSO21 project. AFSO21's task force includes members from various organizations on and off base, as well as special need family members. "The process to support EFMP families is a very large and complicated one," said David Marston, a 30th Space Wing AFSO21 process manager. "We invited all of the major stakeholders who work within the process to help with this issue. The contributions of all team members will result in a better process improvement plan." Increasing collaboration among a diverse group of professionals and family members will help AFSO21 rectify problems experienced by families at Vandenberg with special needs. "The process will be streamlined by clearly identifying the support agencies available and how families can access them, to include educational and social support besides the already existing medical support," Ms. Huggins said. "This will take away much of the waste in the process that comes from not knowing what is available and the requirements for access." AFSO21's team project will benefit Vandenberg by creating a more efficient process for obtaining support for EFMP families; indentifying resources and linking them to EFMP families; improving the quality of life for EFMP families; reducing assignment denials; and improving the career potential for military members with special need families. "Our Airmen who have special needs family members are an integral part of our fighting force - we need them," said Ms. Huggins. "We can't have them if they have to excessively attend to their family's needs due to a lack of community support. In order to maintain the best Air Force in the world, we must provide the best support in the world - for our Airmen!"