The Foreign Service Journal, June 2021

68 JUNE 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT Charlotte Larsen, who has been a Foreign Service family member at six overseas posts over the last 25 years, joined the Family Liaison Office as education and youth program officer in 2020. She served previously as a global employ- ment adviser and a community liaison office coordinator in Asia and Europe and, prior to joining State, taught in international and Department of Defense schools. B idding on one’s next assignment can be a daunting task for any For- eign Service family. It can be even more complex when education options in overseas settings for children with special needs are a part of that decision. The State Department’s Office of Child and Family Programs (known as CFP) under the Bureau of Medical Services (MED) works together with parents and overseas MEDmedical staffmembers to ensure children’s psychological, behav- BY CHARLOTTE LARSEN better serve all FS employees under chief- of-mission authority and their families. In April, as education and youth pro- gramofficer of the Family Liaison Office, I conducted a written interviewwith Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health Programs Charles J. Lilly, M.D., of the State Department’s Bureau of Medical Services. We discussed new staffing and procedures in support of the Special Needs Education Allowance. —Charlotte Larsen, FLO It Takes a Team Charlotte Larsen, FLO: The CFP team has recently expanded. Can you tell us about the team and their roles? Dr. Charles J. Lilly, MED: The MED CFP team currently consists of one part-time child psychiatrist, two clinical psychologists, one education program specialist, one social worker, a nurse liaison and administrative support. The clinical psychologists, education program ioral health and special educational needs are identified and appropriately assessed. The goal is to have an effective treatment and education plan established in advance of and during overseas assignments. Once the need for special education services is determined, families can apply for the Special Needs Education Allowance (known as SNEA). In the past, parents have faced challenges with this process; thanks to their advocacy, the department has put in place new procedures and updated guidance to improve application process- ing time, added staffing with geographi- cal responsibilities, improved electronic reimbursement procedures and adopted a new appeals process. The Bureau of Global Talent Manage- ment’s Family Liaison Office’s education and youth team (E&Y) works closely with CFP and can assist parents in navigating the SNEA process. Recently, FLO spoke with CFP to discuss available resources, previous challenges and new procedures to WHAT’S NEWWITH Special Education Allowances? The Family Liaison Office Talks with the Office of Child and Family Programs