MFRC’s new Veterans Family Program supports medically released veterans

quote - Transition out of the military may be challenging for some families in a way people might not have anticipated.

Transition out of the military may be challenging for some families in a way people might not have anticipated.

Rachel Lallouz, Staff Writer ~

Military members who are medically releasing, and in need of support for themselves and their families in the transition to civilian life, can now turn to the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) for assistance.

The recently launched Veterans Family Program is a four-year pilot project that extends the services of the MFRC to meet the needs of veterans and their family members.

Any medically releasing military member or medically released veteran can use services at the MFRC for two years post-release, says Colleen Cahoon, Family Navigator Program Coordinator and Veteran Family Coordinator at the Esquimalt MFRC.  

Once a member contacts their local MFRC, staff will work the family to assess their needs, provide assistance, and help direct the family to any appropriate community agencies.

The Veterans Family Program might provide counselling or emergency respite child care to one participant, or help another search for a family doctor. The program will also connect veterans with resources or other community programs, such as Living Life to the Full, a resiliency based program that helps people deal with everyday life challenges by learning better self-management skills.

“That transition (out of the military) may be challenging for some families and sometimes it’s challenging in a way people might not have anticipated,” says Cahoon. “This big life change adds a whole level of complexity to the lives of members and their families. By helping ease the member’s transition, we can help both them and their family feel assisted throughout the journey.”  

A newly released member can make use of the program for a maximum of two years. Anyone who has released since Nov. 30,  2014, onwards is eligible.

The four-year project is currently being implemented at CAF bases in Esquimalt, Edmonton, Shilo, North Bay, Trenton, Valcartier, and Halifax.

VAC and the CAF were aware that some veterans and their families were experiencing challenges during the release process,” explains Cahoon. “As a result, VAC created a plan in conjunction with the Canadian Armed Forces to establish seven pilot sites at various bases to provide extra resources for medically releasing members and their families.”

For more information on the program contact the Esquimalt MFRC at 250-363-2640.

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