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Collateral Damage-Children Of Canadian Soldiers Suffer

Children of Canadian soldiers posted to battle in Afghanistan are increasingly suffering from war–related anxiety and other such psychological disorders, say// concerned experts.

Ontario’s ombudsman Andre Marin had undertaken a recent investigation into the matter. It was seen that a center for treatment of such traumatized children was caught in a mire of poor funding due to government bodies unwilling to take financial responsibilities.

Mr. Marin's investigation into what he names a "crisis" situation at CFB Petawawa, found that the Phoenix Center for Children and Families, which provides mental health services in the region, was sorely in need of funding and staff required to help the community cope with a tenfold increase in cases of war-related anxiety and psychological problems, among soldiers' families. According to Marin, it is the province’s responsibility, and not the federal government’s, to help these children.

"These children are the collateral damage of the war we have asked their parents to fight. We can and should be doing more for them" Marin was quoted.

The Phoenix Center’s last request for $536,250 over two years was initially turned down by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which urged the center to seek federal government help instead, stating that the children's problems were the result of a federal military commitment.

The probe also found that children across Ontario are enduring long waits for mental health services, which in turn were competing for slivers of a small funding pie.

Says Marin: "There was no provision for dealing with a crisis situation like Petawawa's, where 16 members of the community have been killed and 80 wounded in Afghanistan since last summer - and every child of a soldier lives with the fear that his or her parent could be next. "One mental health professional likened it to a tornado hitting the community several times a week."

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