Manitoba will double the capacity of a respected fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) support program and expand FASD diagnostic capacity in northern and rural communities as part of new funding for its five-year FASD strategy. This announcement was made by Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief.
“Manitoba is a recognized a leader in the area of FASD diagnosis and treatment across Canada,” said Chief. “Our continuing investments will help ensure that people living with FASD, and their families, have the supports they need to succeed in their communities, wherever they live in the province.”
Manitoba’s five-year FASD strategy is now in its fifth year and Budget 2012 will add nearly $500,000 to the strategy for a total investment of $13.3 million.
Part of the new funding will go to double to the capacity of Stepping Out on Saturdays in Winnipeg, a respite and socialization program for children and families affected by FASD that are involved with Manitoba Child and Family Services. The funding will also be used to expand multi-disciplinary FASD diagnostic capacity within rural and northern areas of Manitoba. Multi-disciplinary diagnostics are a proven approach that ensures children affected by FASD have early support services tailored to their specific needs.
“Manitoba FASD Centre staff members are profoundly grateful and enthusiastic for the opportunities of expanding FASD diagnosis in Manitoba,” said Dr. Sally Longstaffe, medical director of the Manitoba FASD Centre and network. “We are equally eager to work collaboratively in enhancing diagnostic capacity both here at the Manitoba FASD Centre and within the rural and northern communities. This will be greatly beneficial for families across the province.”
There will also be new funding for projects that address awareness and prevention, diagnosis, intervention and support, community engagement, research and training such as:
• support for Visions and Voices, a public speaking program for adults with FASD;
• services for youth and adults with FASD in rural and northern areas;
• support for The Mothering Project, a new drop-in program launching in 2013 to offer a variety of supports for women who use substances and are pregnant or have young children;
• expansion of the Youth Justice Program;
• additional direct service support for children, youth and families in Winnipeg;
• a new FASD Parent Support Program to help families and service providers outside Winnipeg understand FASD and connect effectively with local supports and services;
• funding for community coalitions across Manitoba to network, share ideas and successes, and learn about current FASD research and best practices;
• expansion of research capacity; and
• more training opportunities for a variety of direct service providers.
In April 2007, the government of Manitoba announced a co-ordinated fetal alcohol spectrum disorder strategy developed by an interdepartmental committee in consultation with experts and community stakeholders. The strategy builds upon existing multi-departmental, multi-million-dollar prevention activities and service supports available for individuals with FASD throughout their lives, said the minister.