If you have orders to deploy soon but are the parent to a young child, you need to make arrangements for his or her care in your absence. One tool the military requires you to use is the family care plan.
A family care plan is a plan that provides the chosen caregiver with details regarding everything he or she needs to know to adequately care for your child while you are gone. The plan should include the big details, such as those pertaining to school and health care, as well as the little ones, such as your child’s favorite foods and activities. Military OneSource provides tips for how to create a family care plan that meets military standards.
Provide a list of contacts
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, which your caregiver may discover soon after your departure. Leave a list of names and contact information of every individual and professional who can help when your caregiver needs it.
Include all medical information
Depending on the length of your absence, it is not unrealistic to think that your child may need medical attention while you are gone. Provide your caregiver with the names of your child’s primary care doctor and dentist. List important details, such as the name of your child’s insurer, any medications he or she takes, the name of the hospital he or she is a patient of, any reoccurring medical appointments your child has, and any allergies or preexisting conditions with which your child lives.
Create a schedule
While your child and caregiver will have to establish a routine that works best for them, it is important that the caregiver is aware of major times and events. Create a calendar that includes the start and end times for school or daycare, afterschool activities, days off, bedtimes and upcoming events, such as school plays or birthday parties.
Also, give your caregiver as many details as possible about your and your child’s existing routines. If you go for ice cream after school every Thursday, note this. If you have a carpool arrangement with parents in the neighborhood, explain this. Keeping your child’s routine as similar to his or her existing one as possible can help him or her cope while you are gone.
Identify the location of important documents
Should something happen to you or your child while you are gone, it is imperative that the caregiver can locate important documents. Those include your last will and testament, your child’s birth certificate, insurance paperwork and powers of attorney, among others.
Explain how caregivers can access on-base services
With the right paperwork and authorizations, caregivers can access base services such as the commissary and Military Treatment Facilities. Make sure your caregiver is aware of this and knows what documentation to present at various facilities.