Frayme Supported Project 

WWC Kids Program

Focus Areas

There is increased awareness of the secondary impact trauma has on children, especially those with a parent diagnosed with Operational Stress Injuries (such as PTSD) from service related experiences. While several treatment programs have been designed for caregivers, limited programs exist that support children/youth through the stressors connected to parental Operational Stress Injuries.

The WWC Warrior Kids program’s clinical framework pulls from resilience theory, trauma-informed practices, and child-centred play therapy and is designed to capture effective evaluation measures.


Ultimately, our goal is for kids to build positive relationships with peers, gain knowledge of the injury, and develop new coping skills that will help them grow and thrive.


The Warriors Kids program is grounded in the understanding and responsiveness to the impact of trauma and emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors.

We aim to empower children to increase their capacity for developing resilience.

Specific objectives are:

a) to support development of healthy peer connections
b) normalize their experiences around a parental mental health injury
c) provide developmentally appropriate education on OSI’s
d) offer a variety of evidence informed play-based activities that kids can learn effective ways to regulate emotions to effectively cope with stress and increase their self-esteem.


What did we do?

Frayme provided funding to support Wounded Warriors Canada in offering their six-week Warrior Kids Virtual program to 51 young people. This program is designed to teach young people about the cause and effects of Operational Stress Injury (OSI), so that they are better able to understand their own emotions as well as the emotions and states of parental figures with OSI. In addition, young people are taught communication and coping strategies.


Attendance for the six week program showed high engagement. Parents reported how the program opened communication within the family.  As a result of the program, the young people reported learning effective ways “of how to take care of my stress” and how the activities help them with stress. Participants also felt more comfortable identifying what feelings are and how expressing their feelings helps them know what coping strategy to use. Finally, young people reported feeling less ownership and guilt around their parent’s Operational Stress Injury.  They stated that the three main points around the lesson of OSI’s including such as a) Their parent still loves them; b) It’s not their fault; and c) it’s not their responsibility to fix their parent was important in shifting blame they put on themselves for their parent’s anger and acting out behaviors they witnessed at home.


What were the key learnings and insights?

  1. The virtual program help create connections between youth in 1st responder families with OSI though sharing their unique experiences

  2. There is a need for resources addressing scenarios often faced by young people living with a parent impacted by an OSI

  3. Building comfort with participants in a new digital setting important to the success of the Wounded Warriors program - from guidelines to leadership in breakout rooms to engagement via chat, how facilitators and participants can build a safe environment to participate, learn, and build each other up. 


What are the actionables and next steps?

  1. Developing an engaging video or podcast series specifically focused on the lived experiences of young people from first-responder and veteran-connected families impacted by an OSI.

  2. Developing a family friendly infographic explaining what an operational stress injury is and how it looks from a family systems framework (since other models only include member-centric information). 

  3. Create unique ways to introduce the concept of OSI to children since existing resources use the language of PTSD as opposed to the prefered language of OSI. 

Where can I find out more information? 


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