Service members learn to establish a Family Care Plan

28 Jun 2012 | Lance Cpl. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

An unexpected crisis can be an overwhelming and chaotic experience for families, and the odds for such events to transpire are greater for military families.

Developing a plan for the worst-case scenario is paramount to family care. Service members interested in preparing for these scenarios attended the Family Care Plan workshop hosted by Marine Corps Community Services’ Marine Corps Family Team Building aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s residential area June 4.

“The Marine Corps is all about being ready,” said Breck Bregel, a retired Navy chaplain and life skills trainer with MCFTB. “Marines are famous throughout the world for fighting and (success) in war because they’re ready and prepared for all contingencies. The same idea of preparedness is being applied to the families.”

Early this year the Marine Corps established Marine Corps order 1740.13B, effective March 26, requiring all Marines with dependents complete a validated FCP within one year of the signed order. However, a command can require its’ completion at an earlier date. Hastened completion of FCPs may be due to the availability of parents who are preparing to deploy.

During the workshop Bregel discussed the conditions of emergencies, long and short-term care providers, and the type of providers needed for different FCPs. The assigned care providers’ role is to assume temporary responsibility for the family member or members in the event of a death or incapacity until a natural, adoptive parent or legal guardian can assume custody by court order.

“Choosing a care provider is huge decision to make,” said Bregel. “It’s a decision to really think through because they’re trusting someone to care for their child or family.”

Parents also have the option of listing their Child Development Center as their registered emergency care provider who can assume responsibility of a child for four hours pending the availability of either a short or long-term care provider. Along with arranging caregivers, FCPs should include financial matters, medical information and daily activities.

“I liked the class because it covered a lot of details about things I didn’t know,” said an acting Family Readiness Officer with 2nd Intelligence Battalion, who attended the workshop. “I didn’t think the logistics as far as the day-to-day schedule for the child or children was just as important as everything else. It’s great to know (MCFTB) will come out to the units to give the class. I will be speaking with the battalion commander to set up a date to host this seminar with our (senior leaders and command).”

Bregel said he meets with units about once a month to offer the FCP class. Care plans should be updated annually or when a major family change occurs such as a divorce, death of a family member, relocation, a child custody decision involveing long-term visitation or the birth of a child. He feels it’s important to keep the service members aware of the requirements in the care plan.

“Marines are all about mission readiness, and the FCP is just an extension of it because mission readiness means being family ready,” said Bregel. “Our heartbeat is to do whatever we can to help the Marine family be prepared, morally and physically. Helping them have greater peace of mind knowing they’ll be ready for whatever emergency might happen. Everything we do is to strengthen the military family.”

For assistance with preparing a FCP, Marines can refer to their chain of command, FRO, legal assistance office, Installation Personnel Administration Center, Relocation Assistance Program Office or Military OneSource.

To contact Military OneSource, call 1-800-342-9647 or visit

For more information about future workshops, call 451-0176 or visit