Improved Screening Needed for Military Families Being Transferred to Europe

HRD-79-22: Published: Dec 28, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 28, 1978.

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GAO surveyed Army and Air Force practices in screening the dependents of active duty personnel assigned overseas, to identify special educational and medical problems that cannot be adequately handled overseas.

Army and Air Force regulations are similar, but Army screening practices are less effective, resulting in the transfer of numbers of Army dependents to overseas locations without the resources to provide the necessary medical and educational attention. This overtaxes existing medical and educational facilities and proportionately reduces the services available to all. Specialized medical facilities at the surveyed hospitals in West Germany fall short of the demands upon them, particularly in speech pathology, neurology, psychiatry, and orthopedics. Department of Defense Dependent Schools, Europe (DODDSEUR) cannot treat all the children with emotional or psychological problems, about 1,100, or 1 percent, of the total enrolled. Neither the Army nor the Air Force applies its screening procedures to all families requesting overseas travel, but the Air Force procedures evaluate the medical and educational problems of dependent children and determine the adequacy of facilities in Europe to deal with them. The large number of Army dependents with serious problems permitted to go to Europe has added to the burden of providing specialized care, and placed hardships on families having these problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Army should emulate the Air Force's dependent screening procedures for verification of existing problems, and require screening for dependents on nonconcurrent travel. Both services should screen noncommand sponsored dependents to the extent possible, and evaluate their screening programs periodically. Navy screening programs should also be reviewed and necessary improvements made.

    Agency Affected:

 

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