(Above left to right) Lindsay Fraser, Family Counsellor; Manager of Military Family Services Felicia Arsenault; and Family Program Coordinator Anne-Marie Audet. (Submitted photos)


New Family Services for CANSOFCOM

By Felicia Arsenault, Manager MFS

Posted on Thursday September 6, 2018


Beginning September 1st, new family services are available to the personnel and family members of the three units in Petawawa belonging to the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).

CANSOFCOM is bringing oversight of dedicated unit resources into their command structure with embedded Military Family Services (MFS) staff, a division of Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Service. The MFS Program is meant to supplement local Military Family Resource Centre services, providing dedicated services in areas that have been identified as unique to the lifestyle of the personnel of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, Canadian Special Operations Training Centre and 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron. The program will tailor and enhance specialized family support due to the high level of risk, continuous training and deployments that separate members from their families at a higher frequency than other Canadian Armed Force personnel.

Services provided will include educational programming, community integration, deployment support, and counselling support. The MFS officially opened on September 1, and its operating hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or as needed based on programming and client needs.

No stranger to Petawawa, Felicia Arsenault is the Manager of Military Family Services in both Petawawa and Trenton. She has worked for 18 years with Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services in Petawawa and many will recognize her from her work as a Community Recreation Coordinator.

The goal of the CANSOFCOM Family Services Program is to ensure ease of access to programs and services to support families within their communities. The program will focus on developing real and innovative solutions that deliver tangible results for families. Felicia and her staff will engage and work closely with clients, community partners and enablers to develop effective networks that contribute to the overall well-being of the CANSOFCOM community.

“Military Family Services is inclusive of all CANSOFCOM families near and far,” she said. “We will support the entire family unit including the single soldier’s choice of family and friends regardless of their physical location.”

Joining Felicia is Anne-Marie Audet, the Family Program Coordinator and Lindsay Fraser, Family Counsellor.

The daughter of a soldier, Anne-Marie was born in Pembroke and is a proud military wife and mother.

She will be coordinating and overseeing family support programming such as deployment support and personal development workshops, special events, and community integration initiatives.

“I will also be looking after our volunteer program, emergency and respite child care, clear-ins/out, deployment briefings, newsletters and communications to the units and families,” said Anne-Marie.

Anne-Marie is also bilingual and has over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.

Lindsay Fraser, a Registered Social Worker who holds a Master of Social Work, and is proud mom to puppy Maverick, has lived in Petawawa for almost three years. She recently transitioned from her role as a Family Liaison Officer with the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre to her current position as one of the Family Counsellors with MFS. Her role with MFS is to provide confidential counselling services to individuals, couples and families.

“My hope is to break down barriers to accessing counselling, including any misconceptions or stigma that may exist around mental health, and place a greater focus on preventative mental health programming,” she said. “We would also love to hear from the families about what support and services they would like to see offered moving forward.”

Lindsay will start seeing clients in the new location at the start of September. She and another Family Counsellor will be the main point of contact for intakes and referrals.

To find out more about MFS, its team and the services they can provide contact Felicia, Anne-Marie or Lindsay by email: Lindsay.fraser@forces.gc.ca, Felicia.Arsenault@ forces.gc.ca, Anne-Marie.Audet@forces.gc.ca.