Military Family Life Consultants Program
What is it?
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) recognized an emerging need to provide informal support to Soldiers and Families in addition to the resident-counseling services at installations. This resulted in the Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC) Initiative. The goal is to prevent Family distress by providing education and information on Family dynamics, parent education, available support services, and the effects of stress and positive coping mechanisms. The MFLCs hold a Master’s degree and at least five years of experience in social work, counseling, or a related clinical discipline. Consultants receive training on military-specific topics, including a basic orientation on the deployment cycle, military culture, the chain of command, and reporting requirements under AR 608-18, The Army Family Advocacy Program. Consultants work directly with Army Community Service (ACS) to assist units, rear detachment commanders, Soldiers, and their Families during pre-deployment and post-deployment. Except as required by AR 608-18, discussions with consultants remain private.
What has Army done?
The tremendous success of the program in Europe resulted in a headquarters initiative to replicate the program in the Continental United States (CONUS) and Eighth U.S. Army in Korea. The OSD allocated hours of service for the Department of the Army to implement a similar program to support Army commands (active and reserve) and Department of the Army Civilians. Currently, 40 consultants provide services at different installations throughout Germany, Italy, Belgium, and The Netherlands; 78 consultants are providing services at 24 installations throughout CONUS, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico; and consultants provide a variety of on-demand services to meet the needs of reserve component Soldiers and their Families.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army will continue to use the services of MFLCs for outreach efforts, including direct consultation, classes, groups, and sessions devoted to emotional well-being, relationship issues, couples issues, parenting issues, change management, stress management, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, domestic violence, deployment-related issues, and transition assistance for wounded Soldiers and their Families. The MFLCs will also provide assistance to ACS Child and Youth Services staff to prevent Family distress and emotional burnout.
Why is this important to the Army?
The flexibility of the program allows for the Army to deploy and redeploy MFLCs where and when needed. Individuals may be requested with specific skills to respond to installation-specific needs. This program is also capable of augmenting existing services to meet surge needs as units deploy and redeploy.