DOD Web site targets families' special needs

DOD Web site targets families' special needs

BY DAWN S. ONLEY | GCN STAFF

A new Defense Department Web site makes it easier for military families to access information, including news on public or duty station schools and health care services, before relocating.

DOD's Special Needs Network is designed to point service members with special requirements to organizations that can provide information. For instance, if relocating military families have children with physical disabilities, they can log on to www.mfrc.calib.com/snn to learn if their new home can accommodate them.

The site also features a confidential members network that lets families and service providers exchange information, said Rebecca Posante, a program analyst at DOD's Office of Educational Opportunity, who founded the site.

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Military families with special needs can access a variety of information at www.mfrc.calib.com/snn.
'The members' network will allow people to raise issues with others' in a similar situation, Posante said. 'For example, I'm moving to Fort Lewis, Wash., or Fort Hood, Texas, and I need to find a dentist who works with autistic kids. Members can put this information out.'

The Exceptional Family Member Program, which is offered in each service branch, works with the site. The program, which has a membership of more than 100,000 service men and women, provides referrals to families with special needs.

'Children with severe health problems, this is going to help them because it will give families more knowledge as far as resources and referrals,' Posante said.

Caliber Associates, an Oakton, Va., company, designed the user-friendly Web site. Menu items range from relocation, health and education to federal and state programs and resources.

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