MFRC offers extra support for CAF parents

Kateryna Bandura, 

The Esquimalt Military Family and Resource Centre (MFRC) offers community resources and information for parents looking for extra support this school year.

“With the military lifestyle, oftentimes newly-arrived parents don’t have family support in their new community,” said Kaitlyn Ross, Social Worker-Counsellor with MFRC. “The point of our activities and services is for them to build their networks and integrate not only into the local military family community but also into the broader community. We know strong networks create healthy families.”

Some of the MFRC support programs include:

  • Monthly community dinners, which will provide an opportunity to meet others in the military family community and share tips about living the military lifestyle. MFRC staff and volunteers will be on-site to provide requested information about programs and services. After dinner, there will be activities for children. The first MFRC community dinner will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
  • Coffee nights/Kids connect program, which provides opportunities to build social supports in the community. Ross said it has a similar concept to monthly dinners, allowing adults to connect over coffee while their children partake in various activities, such as playing outdoor games, doing an obstacle course, or creating arts and crafts. The program is offered monthly, with the next session running on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
  • Supporting Children Through Absence is a workshop for children with a deployed parent. It is an opportunity to learn why mom or dad is away, and connect to others their age with similar experiences. Workshops run continuously throughout the year, with one session per week.
  • Pre-school programs help children with their social and learning skills, and prepare them for their school years. ‘123 Music’ and ‘Stay & Play’ programs provide fun opportunities for children and their parents, while ‘Growing Parents’ group supports new parents and prepares them for the journey ahead.
  • Family Wellness and Counselling through MFRC’s Family Wellness and Counselling Team (FWCT) offers one-on-one counselling support for CAF families. They provide support with military lifestyle challenges such as back-to-school changes, stress, and transitions. Supportive counselling for children five and older is also available. To access the FWCT, please contact or 778-533-7736.

Ross said parents find the support helpful, especially those who have deployed partners.

“We currently have HMCS Winnipeg and Vancouver away for six months, so that’s a long time to be at home with kids, entertaining them, and trying to build community, especially for those who have just been posted here,” she said. “So, it gives them the opportunity to connect with other adults while their children socialize.”

She said the MFRC supports all families that deal with work-related absence of their loved ones, such as those who are away on shorter missions, on courses, or on Imposed Restricted postings. Any CAF-connected family who is managing increased stress due to relocation, deployment, children with additional needs, mental health concerns, and back-to-school challenges could find MFRC support helpful.

“A network of people that provides you with practical and emotional support can benefit your wellbeing, increase coping skills, and reduce symptoms of stress,” Ross said.

For more information about the resources, please visit

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