While families in the United States sometimes struggle to get the right diagnoses and services for their children with disabilities, a new report from the Government Accountability Office highlights the special challenges families in the military face.
Overseas, Department of Defense schools offer widely varying services, the GAO said. For example, DOD schools in Ramstein, Germany, can serve children with severe disabilities of any type, but schools in some other overseas locations don't have any special education programs at all.
Although the Department of Defense recently created an office of special needs to help these families, the office is still working on improving screening and overseas assignment of military families with special needs, the GAO said. The office has limited authority to force different branches of the military to act, and the Defense Department doesn't have benchmarks and performance goals for how programs created for these families should work. "Without overall performance information to proactively identify emerging problem areas, some of the branches have had to conduct investigations to address problems after they have arisen," the report says.
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