Jillian Crane, President and CEO of First Responders Children’s Foundation, addresses members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and representatives from the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during a peer support training day at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum on Thursday April 13.
Adds 900 Hours of Counseling for 90 Children Over Next 90 Days
“What’s Raised in L.A. Stays in L.A.”
New York, May 2 … First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF), a national 501-c3 organization dedicated to serving the children of U.S. first responders, which includes firefighters, police officers, paramedics, EMTs, and 911 dispatchers, has expanded a major initiative to provide mental health resilience counseling to the children of Los Angeles first responders. The announcement was made at a gathering of more than 200 first responder peer-to-peer support counselors, department psychologists, and agency chaplains representing the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum on Thursday, April 13. Representatives of L.A.’s NFL franchises were also in attendance, including L.A. Rams star safety Jordan Fuller and L.A. Chargers team clinician Herb Martin. FRCF has previously paid for 600 hours of youth counseling to the children of California first responders.
“Children of first responders can experience a variety of mental health issues due to the stress, trauma, and uncertainty that their parent(s) experience in their line of work,” Ms. Crane continued. “This often manifests in the form of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, and developmental delays. Children of first responders may need extra emotional support due to the high-stress environment that their family is in, so FRCF is making available to them up to 10 hours of counseling with culturally competent, trauma-trained therapists.”
FRCF, which is making an additional 900 hours of youth counseling available beginning on May 1, the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month, is working with the region’s first responder agencies to sign up 90 children for the services within the next 90 days. Additional wellness programs for the children of L.A. first responders will be rolled out in the coming months. Ms. Crane said that much of the funding for the 900 hours of counseling has come from within the entertainment industry. Donors have included Scooter Braun, SB Projects, Universal Music Group Nashville and their artists Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, George Strait, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Mickey Guyton, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Jon Pardi, Jordan Davis, Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Sam Hunt, and Tyler Hubbard.
Ms. Crane emphasized that what’s raised in L.A. stays in L.A.: “This is just the beginning of our initiative,” she said. “We’re actively seeking support from individual and corporate partners in the L.A. area to expand the number of counseling slots and other services that we can make available to these children. Please stay tuned for future announcements!”
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the First Responders Children’s Foundation to bolster resources and programs available to our families,” said County of Los Angeles Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone. “It is important to ensure everyone is included when focusing on the behavioral health and wellbeing of our membership, especially the youngest members of our Fire Department families.”
“In a time when a significant percentage of American youth struggle with mental health, the First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF) Resiliency Program is a welcome addition to the employee wellness resources of the Los Angeles Police Department. Other services provided by FRCF include financial assistance, grants, scholarships and bereavement assistance for both officers and dispatchers. When personal matters are supported, our first responders are able come to work with a state of mind allowing them to better handle the high stress demands of being a public servant. The Los Angeles Police Department is always looking for opportunities to serve those who serve others, and looks forward to working with FRCF,” said Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore.
“Firefighting is one of the most stressful occupations imaginable—only combat soldiers endure more stress. Firefighters routinely experience stress on the job which inevitably can impact home life,” said Los Angeles City Fire Chief Kristin Crowley. “With the First Responders Children’s Foundation’s new Resiliency Program, LAFD members will be giving their children the best gift – getting them the help they need to cope with stress, manage their fears, and build mental resilience.”
In addition to mental health counseling, FRCF provides scholarships, bereavement grants, emergency financial hardship grants, disaster relief, and community engagement programs.