First Responders Children’s Foundation Resiliency Program
We help them cope with stress, manage their fears and build mental resilience.
Mental And Behavioral Health Support For Children Of First Responders
For over 20 years, our foundation has focused on the unique needs of the children of first responders. More than ever, these children carry a heavy burden knowing the daily dangers their parents face. In times of crisis, these burdens weigh even heavier and can impact a child significantly—particularly for those that lose a parent. Our children are our future.
Our program provides free confidential mental health counseling and wellness resources to children of first responders.
Children of first responders live each day with the fear that their parent may not return home. What’s more, they are exposed to stories of loss, illness and danger. These burdens weigh heavy on children and can impact them significantly—particularly for those who lose a parent in the line of duty. And with an existing mental health crisis among US children overall, stress, anxiety, and depression is only magnified for those with first responder parents.
FRCF helps families manage these ever-present stressors by providing free counseling from licensed mental health professionals who specialize in treating children of first responders. The confidential nature of these services helps children feel more comfortable sharing concerns and asking for help. Counselors are available in a growing number of states across the country (currently in New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, Tennessee and Florida). The program also provides access to an ever-expanding roster of wellness resources that support a child’s overall mental health and resilience.
The First Responders Children’s Foundation Resiliency Program provides expert mental and behavioral health counseling—at no cost to first responder families. For first responders the program is free, confidential and developed to help your children manage, process and deal with a range of emotional challenges specific to their unique needs.
Who We Serve
Our Mental Health Resiliency Program protects and strengthens the mental resiliency of the children of police, fire, sheriff, emergency medical personnel and 911 dispatchers.
The Vision Is Simple
Free, confidential, professional, trauma-informed counseling services for the children of first responders. All therapy services for children and family members are:
- Confidential and anonymous
- At no cost to first responder families
- Provided by licensed mental health professionals
- Accessible both virtually and in-person
We Can Help
First Responders Children’s Foundation can help if your child is experiencing any of the following: Fear, anxiety, isolation, depression, nightmares, undeserved shame, victim of Bullying, public humiliation or self-harm ideation.
Available in Six States
The program is available to first responder families in California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas. The program has been developed to scale into more states.
First Responders Children’s Foundation does not provide a suicide hotline. If anyone in your family is experiencing suicidal thoughts or an emergency please call your local emergency number 9-1-1. Or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Immediate family members of the child are supported through the program.
The program will initially launch in six states including California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas with more states launching in the coming months.
After completing the referral form a representative from one of our counseling partners will reach out to schedule your first appointment when the program begins in May.
The program provides virtual appointments. However, in some locations in person appointments may be available.
Is this confidential?
All information you provide through this HIPAA-secure referral form is 100% confidential and will only be shared with First Responders Children’s Foundation and our culturally-competent counseling partners in order to match you with a provider.
All counseling services are completely confidential unless the law requires divulgence. Agencies will NOT be notified unless the first responder requests it. Counseling sessions remain confidential between client and the mental health professional.
The high levels of stress that first responders experience daily on the job can easily carry over to their spouses and children. Children of first responders may fear for the parents’ safety, worrying about if they will come home at night or if they have been hurt on the job. First responders work long shifts or may be called away suddenly for work and miss important dates like holidays or special accomplishments. Children may feel resentment or disconnected from their parent. Additionally, children can experience secondary or vicarious trauma and exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress. With this information in mind, culturally competent counseling is an extremely effective course of action not only for the first responder, but for the children as well.
- Excessive worry or fear of something bad happening
- Feeling easily startled or “on guard” all the time
- Nightmares or recurrent thoughts about traumatic situations
When Secondary Trauma affects children, it is difficult for them to ask for help. A child may exhibit subversive behavior, emotional outbursts, or act out in other ways. All of these expressions may be their way of showing their need for support in some of the following areas:
- Undeserved Shame
- Victim of Bullying
- Public Humiliation
- Self-harm ideation
- Suicidal thoughts
How do you select counselors?
Counselors have specific training, are hand-picked to deal specifically with children and first responder families. All counselors are vetted through background checks, reference checks, license verification, annual certification, thorough interviewing with clinical team, management team, and first responder team. There is also ongoing oversight and communication through the programs clinical director including quarterly clinician meetings and consistent cross communication between counselors and clinical director.
What if my child’s counselor is not the right fit?
From time to time our counselors might not be the best fit for the client they are serving. This happens for a variety of reasons, sometimes personalities are not cohesive. Should this situation occur, we are able to assist in seamlessly assigning a new counselor to your case.
FRCF services are funded through the generosity of the donations, foundations, corporate sponsorships, and other grant support.
The success of our programs is made possible by the generous support of many donors like you.
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