As part of the mandated Family Care Plan, military parents must have a document in place stating caregiving policies while they are away for deployment, drills and training. This document would establish a policy, assign responsibilities and prescribe procedures for dependent children. Here is what the Department of Defense also suggests military families prep before deployment.
1. Prepare a Power of Attorney. Assign another person legal authority for your affairs and your children. The document should be prepared in advance but signed and notarized when deployment is imminent to incorporate any last-minute changes.
2. Complete your will. It's best to work with a lawyer to draft a formal document.
3. Select a guardian. Use your will to assign someone, with whom you feel comfortable, to care for children or other family members. Do not choose another service member since he or she can be deployed or mobilized.
4. Talk to the guardian. Make sure that the guardian understands what will be required and is willing to step in and fulfill the responsibilities on short notice and for an extended period, if necessary.
5. Prep certain files. Provide the guardian with the locations of pertinent documents, and the procedures for accessing military and civilian facilities and services on behalf of your dependents.
6. Gather identification. Obtain ID and commissary cards for each family member to ensure they have access to military benefits and privileges in your absence.
7. Get life insurance. Enroll in Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI). The policy is available to all active duty and reserve members and supervised by Veterans Affairs. You can also contact USAA, a company dedicated to the military and their families, for affordable military life insurance to supplement your SGLI coverage.
8. Update info. Make sure all insurance beneficiary information is up-to-date.
9. Talk it through. Discuss your plans with your older children.
10. Create an FCP. If you already have a Family Care Plan (FCP), update it to reflect any changes in status such as divorce and remarriage. If you need an FCP, Family Readiness coordinators have the appropriate forms for you to fill out. (Download the FCP form.)
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