The Air Force is in the preliminary stages of setting up a respite program for our EFM families. If your are an AF family, I would ask that you write me a letter that will be sent on to AFHQ. We need to let them know the urgent need for a program in the AF. Please tell your story, and how the lack of respite has impacted the member and families readiness, mental health and well-being, and anything else you are willing to share. I have included below what I sent in.
It is time for us to make our voices heard. It is time for us to take action. If you would, please send the email directly to me with the subject line to read only - Air Force Respite - so I can create a folder and keep track of all the emails to be sent on.
At the end of my letter I also included my mailing addy and phone number. I have removed that information for the purpose of this posting as it's getting sent out to the masses. I would encourage you to include your mailing addy and phone number. If you do, that information will remain confidential with me and will be used for no other purpose other than being sent to AFHQ.
Please feel free to pass this post on to any AF family you may know.
Thank you all for your help and action. Warmly, Angela
June 8, 2009
To Whom It May Concern;
After receiving respite care that is crucial to the health, well-being, and stability of our family, I was informed by my provider on Saturday night that the funding for this program has dried up and respite will no longer be available after June 30, 2009.
In 2006 my husband went TDY and was supposed to be gone for three months. Our younger son with autism regressed severely, and when reaching out for the support of our base, our family program coordinator recommended that I put our son in foster care. The Air Force has continually lagged behind the other branches of service when it comes to effective and accessible respite programs. This is quite unacceptable, and is completely out of line with the Air Force Core Values.
The ability to receive respite care this past year has probably saved our marriage, tremendously helped our mental health, and provided my husband the ability to excel in his position, and truly be "at the ready". Without the ability to continue to receive respite; the lack of action and implementation of a beneficial and accessible respite program by the Air Force, our family is again pushed into a precarious situation.
In order for the Air Force to retain an all volunteer force comprised of high quality members, the issue of providing respite must be addressed quickly and effectively, because many of these high quality members, such as my husband, happen to have children with disabilities. We realize respite is not an entitlement, but rather a crucial support just as any other support, which allows the member to be "at the ready". Our families are reaching crisis state, and this can be prevented. I implore of you to take swift action to bring implementation of an effective and accessible respite program for our Air Force EFM families.
Very Respectfully, Angela Warner – Air Force spouse and mom to four children (two with autism) Founder: http://www.autismsalutes.com autismrr at gmail dot com