The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2018 29 school in a country where kindness is valued over competition will be a better environment for a child with learning dif- ficulties than a large public school in the United States. Moreover, modern tech- nology has made it possible for children to receive tele-therapy from anywhere in the world, and this should be a viable option reimbursable with SNEA. The affordability of housekeepers or other help at many overseas posts gives parents more time to dedicate to their special needs children, and this quality of life issue is an important part of the equation. MED’s unwritten changes in policy, and the consequent negative effects on Foreign Service families with special needs children, have been an ongoing issue for almost two years now, with no sign of improvement. State is at risk of losing valuable employees who are not willing to sacrifice their family’s well- being or their rights as parents to have a say in what is best for their children. To date there has been no explanation of the changes and no evidence that they are due to budgetary issues, abuses of the previous system or a need to streamline bureaucracy. We are left with too many unanswered questions, and the frustra- tion is mounting. Parents are not asking for the moon and the stars. We just want our voices to be heard and respected. We want to be able to serve our country as members of the Foreign Service, knowing that our families have the support they need. Give us back the customer service, empower- ment and flexibility that we used to enjoy with MED. We need these tools to help our gardens flourish. n