by Jeremy Beaman, Breaking News Reporter | | July 17, 2021The Pentagon will change the language on new plastic identification cards designating the children of some service members as a “stepchild” following complaints of insensitivity. Identification cards will be changed to replace the stepchild designation with “child” to identify relationships to the service member, said Defense Department spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz. “The Defense Manpower Data Center has reviewed the concerns raised, and DMDC will modify the ID Card System so that the term ‘Step Child’ is replaced with the word ‘Child,’” Dietz said. ALABAMA MILITARY BASE REQUIRING PROOF OF VACCINATION STATUS FOR UNMASKED PERSONS An image of one of the cards posted to Twitter showed the word “stepchild” on the top. “Please retweet for attention,” a user who identified herself as an Army spouse wrote alongside the picture. “Why are we now specifying *stepchild* on dependent IDs? This is not ok.”
Another parent in a military family complained that the designation was hurtful to her son, saying that blended families “experience challenges within the familial unit related to stepchildren feeling equal in love and acceptance as biological children.”
“It was rather devastating to see in bold letters on the front of the card the designation of STEPCHILD,” mother Shannon Taylor wrote in a complaint to a regional Navy services office, according to Stars and Stripes. “It was actually the first thing my [14-year-old son] stated when he looked at the card. His dad has been his dad since he was 3 years old and we firmly believe that our family is a unit, there is no step anything. We’re all in.”
The paper-based identifications, which the new plastic cards are replacing, reportedly displayed an abbreviation of child and stepchild as “CH” and “SC.” Foster child, ward, and preadoptive child (categories that were also abbreviated) will all be spelled out on the new plastic cards.
“The relationship field’s primary purpose is for benefits eligibility,” Dietz said of the reason for designations. “For example: Foster children are not eligible for TRICARE. Stepchildren are not eligible for benefits if the parents divorce.”