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Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

Can a Soldier volunteer for separation due to not having a valid Family Care Plan?

Can I receive a voluntary chapter for failure to obtain a family care plan?

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Separation due to the responsibilities of parenthood is covered under paragraph 5-8, AR 635-200, “Involuntary Separation Due to Parenthood.” IAW this paragraph, Soldiers will be considered for involuntary separation when the obligations of parenthood interfere with fulfillment of military responsibilities.

Specific reasons for separation under this paragraph include, but are not limited to:

  1. Inability to perform prescribed duties satisfactorily.
  2. Repeated absenteeism.
  3. Repeated tardiness.
  4. Inability to participate in field training exercises or perform special duties such as CQ and staff duty noncommissioned officer (NCO).
  5. Non-availability for worldwide assignment or deployment according to the needs of the Army.

Separation is not mandatory. If the command determines that they can work with the Soldier’s situation, then the command may decide not to separate. I have also seen units that decide if a Soldier is within 12 months of their ETS date, they will not separate the Soldier early, but work with that Soldier to complete their contract. This normally occurs when the unit is not on a rotation schedule for say NTC or JRTC before the Soldier’s ETS.

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Staff Sergeant(R) Douglas “Eck” Eckstein is a former Paralegal NCO with over eleven years of service in the Army. He has served overseas tours in Korea and Iraq. Eck served on active duty for seven years working in the personnel administration field then, after a break in service, returned to active duty in 2009 when he earned the Military Occupational Specialty, 27D (paralegal). He has worked in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate from Division level down to unit level. He has expertise in all aspects of military law, with extensive emphasis in Administrative Law and Soldiers Rights. “I am not an attorney and any views presented are my own and are not to be interpreted as legal advice. Furthermore, my views do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its Components.”

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    Comments

  • Leanda

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    I have 2 children to care for and unable to attend drill due to no care plan or having someone to watch then. I have had to bring them to drill many times. My commander has submitted the separation packet. How long could this take and what are the next steps if it is denied?

    • Mark Gerecht

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      Processing time is depends on how fast your unit and the HQ’s above you processes the packet. There is no set time limit. From experience I would say between 30-60 days would not be unreasonable.

      Hope this helps!
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  • Michael carson

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    So my wife has SVT, and P.O.T.S, It is a heart condition to where she has “attacks” everyday, when an episode happens she can’t breath, she can’t move, she can’t even speak, her heart rate goes to 254 bpm to where I’ve taken her to the emergency room several time, I was supposed to get a family care plan two months ago we were unable to, but they never started the separation, they literally refuse to start it and my wife needs to move back home bc of the low altitude, that is the reason all this is happening because of the high altitude here I can’t preform duties such as SD or CQ or fields and I don’t plan on extending or re-enlisting.

  • MJ

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    Is a family care plan supposed to cover instances where a child is sick or other such last minute things that prevent him from going to daycare?

    • Mark Gerecht

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      If your chain of command wants to play by the letter of the law yes. You can request to take leave, work from home (if your unit allows that option), and/or have someone watch your child such as a daycare provider. Other than these options the only other option is the family care plan.

  • Jonesha

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    Im a single parent and have. A 4 year old daughter. The father is barely in the child life and he don’t even have a phone. My mother is the only one on the child care plan and she isn’t able to watch her on my drill weekends. So I’m no longer able to make it to drill sometimes. Will I be able to qualify for involuntary?

    • Eck

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      Hi Jonesha,

      This is something you will need to discuss with your drill unit. I am not sure how it works with the active reserves or state national guard. I would suggest you speak with your Platoon Sergeant and/or First Sergeant and let them know your situation. Sorry I could not be of more help, but active reserves and national guard regulations are entirely different than active duty cases.

      Eck

  • Tori

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    We have 4 children…3 are 4 years and younger. I have a work-from-home job and tons of student loan debt. If I put our children in daycare, it would defeat the point of working. My mom had to have surgery and will be having another in 4-6 months. We have no other family to help with the kids. If he was separated, due to the family care plan, would we be entitled to any medical benefits? He’s been in for 10 years.

    • Eck

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      A family care plan is only required for single military parents or married couples when both are in the military. If I understand your situation correctly, your husband is active duty and you are his dependant. That being the case, your husband is not required to have a family care plan as you are there to care for the children. The family care plan is intended to identify who will take care of the service member’s minor dependants in the event the service member is deployed. In your situation, as his non-military spouse, he does not require a family care plan.

      Eck

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