National Guard Families-Fresh Ideas and Resources for your work

Good Reasons for Intentional Outreach

  1. Many National Guard families are new veteran families who were recently on full-time active service and may be new to your community and to non-military services for individuals with disabilities
  2. Some National Guard are actually full-time military and move from state-to-state for duty
  3. For many National Guard families, their commitment to the military and its mission is much more than a part-time job.  Like active-duty families, they turn mostly to the military for information and support:
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Branch Resources with Handouts

Handouts can be branded with your Parent Center’s logo, contact information, edited for state specifics, etc.  Download the handouts directly from each article in the website.

Relocation for Military Families-PCS

Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

Medicaid: Referring Families to Supports and Services

Help for Grandparents and Other Temporary Caregivers

Post-High School Transition Resource for Military Families

Scholarships Financial Resources for Military and Non Military Youth with Disabilities

16 Financial Resources for Military Families

Help Military Families Prepare Their Child’s School for Deployment

Resolve School Issues with the Interstate Compact

Help Decide the Course of Medical Research-Benefits for Your Center and Families You Serve

The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRPs) relies on medical consumers, their families, and caregivers to provide direction on which research is most likely to benefit people like themselves. Parent center staff and volunteers, military-connected family members and civilian family members may be eligible to join review panels that decide which research on their disease, injury or condition will get funding from Congress. According to previous participants, it’s an amazing way to help others in similar situations.

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Frequently Asked Questions-Answers from the Branch

Many parent center staff, even those who often work with military-connected families, contact the Branch team with questions about how things work in the military system.

Here are some examples of questions we’ve received—you may have similar questions. While you are  free to contact us, many answers can be found in the resources on our website, such as the resources listed below.  You can also find answers by going to branchta.org and entering the topic in the search area.

K-12 and Post-Secondary

  • “A military family I’m helping is having difficulty getting their child’s records transferred-who can they talk to?”
  • “The new school is insisting the student take an alternate exit exam due to her disability, which will prevent her from getting a regular diploma. The family is active duty military—is there anything to help?”
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Parent Center template for military family-friendly web page

This is an example of a parent center webpage for military families. It covers important state-specific information that military families need. Thank-you to the team at ECAC in North Carolina for providing the examples!

Military Families, Welcome to North Carolina!

General Education Information:

  • Our State Education Agency is the NC Department of Public Instruction
  • Most  Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are county districts (100 counties.) There are also 15 city districts. 
  • Charter schools function like a school district, with the same responsibilities to students with disabilities.
    NC Public Schools receive annual Report Cards.
  • K-12 State Standards apply statewide

Special Education Information

  • In North Carolina, students in special education are referred to as “exceptional children” and the special education departments are referred to as “Exceptional Children’s (EC) Departments”.
  • Our parent rights handbook is referred to as the Procedural Safeguards Manual
  • Policies governing special education in North Carolina can be found here.

Because military family viewers may land on this web page first, you may wish to add a similar “blurb” about your parent center on the page, with contact information

Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC)

ECAC is North Carolina’s Parent Center, serving families with children birth to 26 with disabilities or special health care needs. ECAC helps families navigate special education, know their rights, connect with community resources and find and use their voice.

Logo of the Exceptional Children's Assistance Center, ECAC. 907 Barra Row, Suite 102 and 103, Davidson, NC 28036, www.ecac-parentcenter.org, 704-892-1321, ecac@ecacmail.org, follow us on social media, facebook, youtube, twitter (no links)

North Carolina may differ from other states in these areas:

  • Birth to 3 “Infant-Toddler” program:  This is administered by Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA). Many other states call this an Early Intervention program, or may use other names.
  • Preschool: NC does not provide universal Pre-K.  Contact local school district’s Preschool Coordinator once your child turn 2.5 to explore options
  • Initial Evaluation timeline is 90 days, starting on the day of your written request for an evaluation.  By the 90th calendar day, the school must hold an IEP meeting and develop an IEP if the child is eligible.
  • There is no definite time limit for conducting reevaluations, but they are supposed to be completed in a “timely manner.”
  • North Carolina use 14 Eligibility categories: the 13 found in federal law plus developmental delay (DD). DD can be used until a child’s 8th birthday under NC
  • NC DPI offiers “Facilitated IEP meetings”  as an informal dispute resolution option
  • Principals have sole authority over grade assignment, promotion and retention decisions.
  • IEP forms can be found here
  • Eligibility Worksheets for each disability category can be found here.
  • NC has unique policy around identifying specific learning disabilities (SLD).  
  • North Carolina follows Read to Achieve, which is a law around 3rd grade reading
  • There are specific accommodations allowed for required testing by grade level (includes SAT, PreSAT, etc.)

Some questions you can ask us…

  • How can I be sure my child is receiving “comparable services” when we get to North Carolina?
  • What should I do if I think my child might need special education services? How does the process work here?
  • What are my rights if I hear my child is receiving interventions through MTSS, and I want an evaluation by the school?
  • How does reevaluation work when we move from another state?
  • What do I need to know about the roles and responsibilities at the state and local level?
  • Who should I talk to if I’m not satisfied with my child’s IEP or his/her progress in academic or functional areas?
  • How can I make sure that my high school child stays on track for graduation even though some NC requirements are different?
  • I’ve heard, “we don’t do that in North Carolina.” Is this true?

This is where you may want to post the downloadable, “brandable” resource documents provided separately by Branch-MPTAC. Add your logo and contact information, and post on your website’s version of this military family-friendly web page.

You and your family may find these resources useful:

Find Partners for Outreach to Veterans’ Families

In helping new veterans’ families navigate civilian services and systems, the Branch highlighted situations where parent centers can make a crucial difference.  New veterans’ families are those whose service member has recently transitioned to civilian life. They may be new residents or have lived for years in your state but are now new to all its resources as civilians and parents of a child with a disability. These families may have always used military-provided supports and services and may not even know parent centers exist.

How will veterans’ families know about your parent center?

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3 Training Resources for Parent Centers: for staff and families

The Military Families Learning Network (MFLN)is a project of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Department of Agriculture through the Cooperative Extension Service.

For Parent Centers: These items were selected for their usefulness for your staff development and your coworkers and as parent resources.

  1. Keys to Establishing Trust: Seven Attributes & Three Exercises for Providers

A thought-provoking set of training exercises on establishing trust with military families or indeed any family or individual.

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Key Topics on the minds of military families

Feature your parent center’s information, training and resources on these topics to reach and assist military families:

  • State-specific Information
  • Moving and your child’s IEP
  • Community resources at your new duty station

Highlighting these three key areas using language familiar to military-connected families (“PCSing”) demonstrates your parent center’s knowledge of the issues they face.

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