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Obstacles when confronting a geographic move

Most employees face obstacles when confronting a geographic move involving a spouse and children and especially so when one or more of the children have special needs.

For the 100,000 active-duty military families who have children or other dependents with special needs, the obstacles can be tremendous (when retirees are added, the numbers swell to 220,000).

This is especially true when it comes to overcoming the barriers faced in the education system. After all, transporting an IEP and services across state lines is almost impossible as there is no stay-put provision. These families must navigate a new maze each time they move.

In October 2009, Congress created the Office of Community Support for Military Families With Special Needs.

This new office is charged with developing a comprehensive policy on support to families who have children with disabilities and advocate for military families to help resolve problems such as those experienced with special education. These children change schools regularly and often attend schools outside the U.S. but they are still protected by U.S. Federal Law to a Free, Appropriate Education (FAPE).

To provide even more assistance, in January of this year, the Defense Department launched a free, online tutoring service for service members and their families that offers round-the-clock professional tutors who can assist with homework, studying, test preparation, resume writing and more online.

If any of your employees are married to an active-duty or retired service member, these are valuable services that should be communicated. It is very tough for all kids to move, but for kids with special needs, it is much harder to ensure that they get a good education and especially so when the moves are frequent.