Military Family Life Consultants Program

Thursday March 22, 2007

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. OSD funded the MFLC program to provide support to families of extended 1st Armored Division (1AD) Soldiers. 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 MFLC hold a Masters degree and at least five years of experience in social work, counseling or a related clinical discipline. Consultants are trained on military specific topics including a basic orientation to the deployment cycle, military culture, the chain of command, and reporting requirements IAW 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 IAW AR 608-18, discussions with Consultants remain private.

What has Army done? The tremendous success of the program in USAREUR resulted in a HQDA initiative to replicate the 1AD pilot program in the Continental United States (CONUS) and Eighth United States Army in Korea. The OSD allocated hours of service for DA to implement a similar program to support Army Commands (Active and Reserve Components) and DA civilians. Currently, a team of 46 consultants provides services at different installations throughout Germany, Italy, Brussels and the Netherlands; 70 consultants are providing services at 25 installations throughout CONUS, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico; and consultants provide a variety of on demand services to meet the needs of RC Soldiers and their families. When the 172nd Stryker Brigade was unexpectedly extended, MFLCs were deployed within 28 hours to assist family members.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? The Army will continue to utilize the services of MFLC for outreach efforts: direct consultation, classes, groups and sessions for emotional well being, relationship issues, couples issues, parenting issues, change management, stress management, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, prevention of domestic violence, everyday issues, deployment related issues, transition assistance for wounded Soldiers and families and surviving spouses. 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 MFLC where and when needed. Individuals may be requested with specific skills to respond to installation specific needs. This program provides necessary augmentation of existing services to meet surge needs as units deploy and redeploy.

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