In the event of deployment, military families must make a Family Care Plan, often as part of their custody agreement which provides information about how children should be cared for and which meets the requirements of your branch of the military.
Your plan should designate a short-term and long-term caretaker for your children, in addition to providing comprehensive details about caring for them, including:
Essential documents and medical information: Provide copies of birth certificates, wills, powers of attorney and insurance information. Also provide details about your children’s doctors and dentists, medication and allergies, local hospitals and the dates and times of appointments which happen on a regular schedule.
Regular routines and activities: Provide your designated caregivers with an outline of your children’s daily living and school schedules and include any extracurricular activities, in addition to meal and bedtimes, so they can keep schedules consistent.
A list of essential people and military family resources: Caregivers should be instructed who your military unit and Family Readiness Program points of contact are and how to reach them. You should also provide full contact information for the child’s relatives, friends or neighbors, military and community resources, and contact information for your military unit’s family readiness program.
Registration in DEERS and up to date ID cards. Make sure that any ID cards used by your family or dependents aren’t expired and that your dependents are registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
Designation of powers of attorney. You need to make providing financial support and medical care for your children seamless for their caregivers. By ensuring that you’ve established legal powers of attorney, you will help your children get the care they need when they need it.
Documentation about how the caregiver can use military facilities. Your designated caregiver isn’t required to obtain a military ID. If they provide documentation of power of attorney and their family ID card, they're able to shop and run other errands on behalf of your children or dependents.
Update your plan annually with your commanding officer and caretakers and be sure to make updates if things change for you, such as having another child or if your spouse cannot care your for your children.
Creating a Family Care Plan is easy with the right guidance. Talk with an experienced military child custody lawyer for help navigating the process and making sure your children and dependents are safe and secure while you’re deployed.