O’FALLON – Local districts may soon follow O’Fallon District 90’s lead by adopting the Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) Program for their schools.
Originating from the Department of Defense, the MFLC program mission is to supplement existing support to active military troops and their families through the provision of non-medical counseling services geared toward short term problem resolution.
Dr. Cindy Doil, Scott Air Force Base School Liaison Officer, has been instrumental in seeing that Shiloh and O’Fallon school districts become familiar with the MFLC program.
Doil described her position with the base and school districts as “multifaceted.”
“One of my primary focuses is to educate educators on the needs of military connected children, deployments and military life in general,” Doil said.
According to Doil, most kids with military connections to Scott Air Force base move around six to nine times during their school career.
“Scott is such a unique base, there are a lot of individuals who will come for maybe only a year and then move on to another assignment,” she said.
Dr. Doil was the first school liaison hired by Scott Air Force Base. Now, there are liaison officers throughout military bases across the world.
Doil said that before parents relocate to a military base, they should contact the military base liaison officer to receive information about local schools.
In August, Doil said she briefed the regional office of education about the MFLC program with school administrators present.
Doil said that District 90 Superintendent Carrie Hruby quickly “picked up on it” and then went through the MFLC application process.
“District 90 is pleased to announce the addition of the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, beginning this January of 2019. Through the U.S. Department of Defense, we welcome three MFLC positions available for District 90 students, as an additional layer of support,” Hruby said.
Hruby said there are over 4,000 MFLC positions across the globe and that counselors work with all branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, Reserves, and Guard.
Doil said that kids with an active duty or just off active duty parent is eligible for the MFLC program. If a parent is killed in military action, their child is also eligible.
Doil said “the word has started getting out” about the MFLC program.
OTHS District 203 and First Baptist Academy have applied to take part in the program. At a recent Jan. 23 Shiloh District 85 Board meeting, Superintendent Dale Sauer expressed interest in the MFLC program.
“Dr. Doil has been helping us with an initiative to work toward getting us some counselors for our military students,” Sauer said during the Board of Education meeting. “It is free provided by the federal government based off of our military percentage. They do not take the place of a social worker, they are just a counselor.”
Sauer said that the program may be implemented within District 85 at the beginning of the next school year — the fall of 2019.
“Great praise to Dr. Doil for always bringing us great things and opportunities for our military,” he said. “Our district goes right up to the fence of Scott Air Force Base. We have an appreciation for what they bring to our community and for what they do.”
Doil said the MFLC counselors serve as dedicated individuals that understand military life and can provide counsel for students.
Doil said while she was in a recent District 90 Board meeting, Junior High military connected parents were discussing some of the difficulties their kids were having. “That’s such a tough age,” Doil said.
“Now, kids have someone they can go to and talk to without any fear or reprisal,” she said. “I can’t tell you how highly folks speak of this program and the benefits with the kids.”
Doil said that in order for students to participate in the MFLC program, parents must give their permission and sign a form of authorization.
In order for school districts to participate in the MFLC program, they must have 15 percent of military connected population at their schools.
“Central [District] 104 at this point in time cannot apply.”
Doil said it is “phenomenal” what MFLC counselors are able to accomplish with military connected students.