<b>FORT STEWART, Ga.</b> - Military Family Life Consultants, each a certified mental health professional, have been assigned to five Liberty County schools whose enrollment includes a large number of military-connected students.

MFLCs also have been assigned to the three Department of Defense Education Activity on-post elementary schools for the 2010-2011 school year, as they were last year.

David Smith, Youth Education Support Services Director, said MFLCs add "an additional layer of support for students in these schools" as well as lessening the burden of already-busy school counselors and staff in meeting the students' needs.

"MFLCs not only help out with students who might be having some concerns, or anxiety issues with a deployed parent and may need some intervention support, but are a two-fold resource for the school staff itself," Smith said.

"We find there is a good percentage of military-connected spouses who are teachers as well, and they might have a deployed spouse. So the MFLCs are support for those teachers and a resource for the school in general to provide education and help for kids who might be having some difficulties."

Smith said that written permission from the parent must be given before any contact will be made or counseling conducted with students. The counseling is free and no records are kept except in a duty-to-warn situation (such as domestic/Family violence, child abuse or threats to self or others).

The MFLCs began their work at the schools Aug. 9 and are busy blending in, getting to know the students, teachers and staff as they get the word out that they are there to help in any way possible. They'll be seen at football games, at special events, sometimes when the students arrive in the morning, and on other occasions.

"They want the students, staff and teachers to know that they are available and that they want to help," Smith said.

MFLCs can provide support to military-connected students on topics including, but not limited to identifying feelings, problem-solving, bullying, conflict resolution, self-esteem, coping with deployment and reunification, transition and moving, sibling/parental relationships, managing anger, time management, separation from parent(s) and divorce.

Military-connected parents are invited to talk with an MFLC about issues their child might be having at school and to request any related support, Smith said.

MFLCs are assigned are Bradwell Institute, Liberty County High School, Midway Middle School, Lewis Frasier Middle School and Snelson Golden Middle School. Fort Stewart DoDEA schools to which they are assigned are Brittin Elementary, Diamond Elementary and Kessler Elementary.

Military-connected students attending Liberty County elementary schools in which an MFLC is not serving on-site are invited to contact an MFLC. To speak to with an MFLC, contact the participating school your child attends; or, for more information, call the School Liaison Office at 912-767-6533.

Page last updated Fri September 17th, 2010 at 12:46