Exceptional Help for Exceptional Families Hacking For Defense Spring 2021

What is the Exceptional Family Member Program?

The Exceptional Family Member Program is a comprehensive program created by the U.S Department of Defense to help support military families with special needs by providing them with community, medical, educational, and personal support.

The Problem and Our Mission

Families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) lack knowledge about the enrollment process and struggle to find the resources available for their exceptional family member at every location. They also lack the connections and contacts needed to seek their best options, leaving families stressed, confused, and frustrated. Families end up receiving delayed or even, no care or specialized education for their exceptional member, and even sometimes are forced to live apart from their service member in order to receive proper care. Our mission is help EFMP members in the Army by eliminating the stress of the enrollment and relocation processes with an app centered around providing these families with all appropriate resources available to them at the click of a button

The Problem: Our Insight and Additional Info

EFMP Member Testimonials

"We were stationed in a base where there was nothing around and we had to drive 3 hours just to get access to medical resources." -Mother of a child enrolled in EFMP

“The biggest challenge has been not knowing what bases to say you want based off of medical needs. It would be nice to have an idea beforehand so you aren’t wasting time on looking at bases that don’t suit your needs.” - A member enrolled in EFMP

“Navigating the enroll and reenrollment forms I needed for my son was like going through a maze.” - A member enrolled in EFMP


We have created an app interface on Figma, which is a tool for the design of apps. The program will demonstrate how our app can help families in EFMP find resources and support anywhere in the country.

We incorporated many different aspects and features based off our interviews and from our research. The two most notable features we implemented were the location resource button and the community support button. With location resources, families are able to find resources in the form of medical, educational, and therapy around a certain area. This will help families during the PCS process find the care there child desperately needs when moving to a new area. With the community support button, families are able to have discussion with other EFMP members about EFMP questions program wide and local questions. The local support groups can help families find the most appropriate facility for their child to go to. For example, the app has the closest children's hospital or school in a given area and can be altered based on needs of the family.


Week 1-2: During the first week we got connected with our sponsor to gain a deeper understanding of the problem and identified the biggest issues. We also gathered resources and contacts for potential interviewees.

Week 3-4: We reached out to our contacts and started the interview process. This gave us a deeper insight to the problems the families were facing. We also began working on the first iteration of the app with a flow map.

Week 5-6: We presented our solution draft to CGI for feedback to aid the design process for the application. We also started connecting with more EFMP families and received input to see problems from their point of view.

Week 7-8: We started to connect with Carestarter and met with Autism Learning Collaborative. We also started implementing the feedback we received from CGI to create a better design and wireframe for the application.

Week 9-10: We introduced our wireframe to the families to receive feedback on how we can improve our design. Then we presented a rough draft of our final solution to CGI to see how we can improve.

Week 11-12: We started using Figma to develop a working prototype and continued to finalize our presentation of our solution.


Created with an image by Foundry - "military camouflage family"