EFMP adds dedicated, specialized attorney to Central Cell

  • Published
  • By Traci Howells
  • The Air Force's Personnel Center

The Exceptional Family Member Program welcomed a specialized attorney from the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAGC) to the EFMP Central Cell here as part of continuing efforts to provide access and support for families.

Bringing a unique set of experiences to the EFMP Central Cell, Sharon Ackah recently assumed the role as Chief of Air Force Exceptional Family Member Legal Assistance and Policy. In her new role, Ackah oversees the Department of the Air Force’s growing legal assistance mission to provide increased assistance to EFMP families.

“Everything in my background has given me training, perspective, experience and passion for the work of the EFMP Central Cell,” she said. “I feel so connected to this mission.”

Ackah is a public health professional with specialized training in management and policy sciences, and has spent more than a decade as a health policy analyst and program manager. Overall, her career encompasses 20-plus years serving the needs of children and families, often in education settings, through health, policy and legal interventions. 

“I am fascinated by the intersection of law and public health,” Ackah said. "I studied public health law to help enable healthier communities.”

The EFMP Central Cell has expanded over the past year, consolidating Air Force resources into one central location, streamlining processes, and adding additional team members, all while ensuring better access for families enrolled in the program.

“The addition of a JAGC attorney to the EFMP Central Cell is a huge win for our families,” said Tammy Hern, chief of the Exceptional Assignment Programs division. “Having a dedicated expert assigned to assist families facing obstacles in the special education process is a big step toward improving the EFMP experience for our Airmen and Guardians and their families.  Ms. Ackah is training attorneys across the AF and providing reach back support whenever needed.”

Ackah will focus on Special Education law, connecting families with base-level legal resources while collaborating with EFMP staff in the Central Cell to create the best possible solutions for members and their families.

Families facing obstacles in their children’s special education experience should first contact or visit their local Judge Advocate offices, Ackah said. There they will find attorneys who can assist or help connect them with other resources. If families are unable to get their issues resolved at the local level, they should reach out to the EFMP Central Cell.

Families can find contact information for their local Judge Advocate legal assistance office at https://legalassistance.law.af.mil/.

“We are focused on growing the legal assistance mission to provide increased assistance to EFMP families with their special education legal issues,” Ackah said.  “The DAF’s base-level attorneys are incredible resources.”

Another key portion of her role will be outreach to families, stakeholder groups, Family Support Coordinators, and others.

“We strongly encourage feedback and will continue looking for opportunities where we can grow our special education legal services to support our Air Force families,” she said. 

EFMP families can find more information through these resources:

-Emailing the EFMP Central Cell – afpc.dp3x.workflow@us.af.mil

-The DAF Family Vector Website – https://daffamilyvector.us.af.mil

-Contacting the Total Force Service Center – (800) 525-0102; (210) 565-0102 (option 7)

-Direct messaging through the DAF EFMP Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AirForceEFMP