New crisis texting service for children and youth of military families across Canada

News release

April 27, 2020 – Ottawa – National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces

A customized crisis texting service was introduced today for the 78,000 children and youth of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members. This dedicated texting service will ensure all kids from military families have access to free, confidential, mental health and wellbeing support in both English and French.

Military children with cell phones can access this service by texting the keyword CAFKIDS at 686868 for service in English or the keyword JEUNESFAC at 686868 for support in French.

This texting service is confidential, free and available 24/7 across Canada.

Kids Help Phone has verified that staff and volunteer Crisis Responders have enhanced training and screening to better understand the complexities of military family lifestyle. The COVID-19 pandemic can worsen existing difficulties for kids, and a parent’s or guardian’s deployment during COVID-19 may add significantly to the stress. Now, more than ever, having the means to stay connected and get support is critical.

April is celebrated as the Month of the Military Child by the defence community; recognizing the sacrifices these children make is important. Thanks, in part, to the support and contribution of military children, their parents and guardians can continue to safeguard and protect Canadians.

For more information, visit Crisis Texting Service for Kids of CAF Families.

About Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services

Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services contributes to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the CAF by ensuring that CAF members and their families have seamless access to morale and welfare programs, services, and facilities regardless of where they serve. These programs help to mitigate some of the challenges that arise for CAF serving members due to conditions of services.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 national service offering professional counselling, information, referrals, and volunteer-led text-based support for young people. Kids Help Phone’s free services are available in both English and French. Kids Help Phone is a registered Canadian charity, with the majority of revenue raised from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising.

About True Patriot Love Foundation

Founded in 2009, True Patriot Love Foundation has become Canada’s leading organization supporting military members, veterans, and their families. The foundation raises awareness around the challenges related to military service, and funds programs that deliver significant impact in the areas of mental and physical health, rehabilitation and recovery from injury, supporting the children and spouses of those who serve, and promoting re-integration into communities. Since its inception, True Patriot Love has committed more than $28 million in funding to 825 community-based programs across the country, helping change the lives of more than 30,000 military members, veterans, and families. 

Quotes

“I would like to thank our Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, True Patriot Love Foundation and Kids Help Phone for introducing this new, free service for children that serve alongside their parents. Making sure that young people have a means to connect and be supported through hardships is critical, especially in these difficult times. I want every teen and kid to know if they reach out for help, someone will answer. Being part of a military family can be tough – it’s okay to want to reach to someone to talk about it.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“The launch of this new dedicated Crisis Text Line for youth is a testament of CFMWS’ commitment to support the Canadian Armed Forces operational effectiveness. When CAF families do well, so do CAF members. This service is one more way that we can support families who contribute so much.”

Sean N. Cantelon, CEO, Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services

“For more than 30 years, Kids Help Phone has been supporting youth across Canada. Now, in partnership with Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services’ Military Family Services and True Patriot Love Foundation, youth in military families will have direct access to 24/7 texting support through the Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone. This partnership is critical as families are forced into self-isolation and many are left unable to access mental health support. We are truly grateful for this partnership during a critical time.”

Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone  

“True Patriot Love Foundation remains deeply committed to supporting the military and veteran community, particularly as those with pre-existing challenges maybe facing additional difficulties amid the global pandemic. We are proud to partner with Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services’ Military Family Services and Kids Help Phone to offer this critical service for youth from military families. Now, more than ever, this community needs our support. We are honoured to stand strong for them just as they stand strong for Canada every day.”

Nick Booth MVO, CEO, True Patriot Love Foundation 

Quick facts

  • Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone is made available through a partnership between CFMWS (Military Family Services), Kids Help Phone, and True Patriot Love Foundation.

  • Children from military families can face unique challenges related to their parent’s or guardian’s service, including frequent geographic relocation and regular separation from family and other loved ones.

  • This service will also make a difference for the 8,000-10,000 transitioning families, who leave the Canadian Armed Forces each year and who may be struggling with moving to a new community.

Associated links

Contacts

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

Floriane Bonneville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100
Email: Floriane.bonneville@forces.gc.ca

Constantina Ellina
Kids Help Phone Communications
Phone: 416-209-8890
Email: constantina.ellinas@KidsHelpPhone.ca

Ya Shan Waley
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
True Patriot Love Foundation
Phone: 416-206-2481
Email: ywaley@truepatriotlove.com


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