Single parents: family plans keep mission moving

Capt. Carol A. Kotlowski
415th Base Support Battalion Headquarters,
Headquarters Detachment commander

***image1***When I deployed in 2003 to operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, I was hoping to come back home safe and sound to my daughter.

Being a single parent in today’s Army is challenging.
Before a Soldier deploys, it’s very important that single and dual-military parents develop a family care plan in accordance with Army Regulation 600-20.

The plan, which is annotated on Department of Army Form 5305, is used to document proof that a guardian has agreed to take care of dependent children under the age of 18. Powers of Attorney for medical care, guardianship and the authorization to start or stop financial support should be included in the packet as well.

We all know that military children 10-years-old and older are issued military ID cards. What is not commonly known is that children of single or dual-military parents should get military ID cards at any age because they need access to their privileges while their parents are deployed.

The regulation also requires a letter of instruction to the guardian or escort. This letter should contain specific instructions needed for the guardian to ensure the care of the dependents.

Other things the regulation doesn’t require but should be considered for the packet are: birth certificates, social security cards, shot records, other medical or insurance cards, medication dosages for the child if necessary, and list of family member addresses and phone numbers in case an emergency arises.

The FCP should also be given to children’s doctors, schools, financial institutions or other important family agencies. Having a plan makes it a lot easier and puts parents’ minds at ease knowing their children are taken care of, making it easier to focus on the mission. Commanders can test the plan at any time to ensure everything that’s annotated in the Soldier’s plan is true and accurate.

I encourage all single and dual-military Soldiers to always have an updated FCP to take care of their children when they are deployed. With the current world situation, you never know when it will be needed.