Helping you balance your Work and your Life
Family Resource Program
Special Needs Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Is enrollment in the Special Needs Program mandatory? If so, why?
Yes, enrollment is mandatory. Commandant policy requires Coast Guard members to be available for unrestricted duty assignment worldwide (see CG Personnel Manual, Chapter 4.A.6). When a family member’s special need limits a member’s availability as per this policy, we need to make sure A) an assignment will be in a place where your family member gets the most appropriate care, and B) assignment not become a family hardship. Remember, there are CG duty locations where some special needs services are not available.
Does my Family Resource Specialist (FRS) decide where I get assigned?
No. Assignment decisions are made by Assignment Officers (AO) based on many factors within the categories of unit, service, and member needs. AOs check with the active duty member's assigned FRS to determine (Yes or No) if the proposed location is appropriate for the services required by the family. FRSs do not tell AOs where to send families nor do they discuss the special need(s) with the AOs.
Does being enrolled in the Special Needs Program hurt my career?
Per CG policy, "Active duty members shall not be adversely affected in their selection for promotion, schools or assignment due to their enrollment in this program." The FRSs at ISC Boston take great care in their responsibility of making recommendations to Assignment Officers. We understand that the more places you can be assigned, you will have more career opportunities and the CG will benefit from your availability. At the same time, FRSs will recommend to AOs against your assignment to places where you cannot access appropriate care for your family.
How often do I need to provide updates to my FRS?
Information in your file needs to be less than 2 years old. Any changes in your family member’s condition, treatment, and/or diagnosis need to be reported. This allows the FRS to appropriately screen possible assignment locations to ensure that your family members are well taken care of at your next duty station location.
What information from medical and other professional service providers, etc., is most helpful?
Information that helps your FRS understand which locations have the services your family member needs. This includes medical specialists seen by your family member, concerns about proximity to services, continuity of care issues, and type of medical facilities needed. Don’t assume that your FRS understands your family member’s needs as well as you and your doctors/providers.
Who is responsible for keeping your Special Needs file up to date?
Both you and your FRS. Due to the large number of families enrolled in the Special Needs Program, we strongly encourage families to reach out to and communicate with their assigned FRS. At transfer time, you will want your FRS to be current on all of your family's needs.
Can I work with my FRS to anticipate and prepare for transfer?
Yes. We strongly recommend and encourage you to do so. We recommend reaching out to your FRS well before assignment season. Also, remember to contact your FRS if you are due to transfer earlier than expected due to promotion, special assignment, or other reasons.