Ottawa, September 9, 2015 – Citizen Advocacy Ottawa is launching a two-year project with an overall aim to increase capacity to identify and meet the needs of children, youth, adults and families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Determining how many Canadians are living with FASD is difficult as, although FASD is present from birth, individuals are often not diagnosed until later in life when symptoms related to learning disabilities and a range of social problems emerge. In 2006, Health Canada estimated that approximately 1% of the population is affected, but this is a significant underestimation. However, despite the large numbers of people affected by this permanent brain injury, there is no strong, comprehensive system of inter-related, complementary services and supports for individuals and their families affected by FASD.
Citizen Advocacy Ottawa has hired three coordinators, with strong and diverse backgrounds in the FASD arena, who will draw together resources, skills and knowledge that already exist within the partnering/funding agencies, social services sector, institutions, families and community at large. The Fetal Alcohol Resource Program will concentrate on:
education to professionals (including health, education, justice, law enforcement, corrections, child welfare and social services),
- community development leadership to assist existing resources in building their capacity to respond to and support individuals affected by FASD and their families and
- service navigation by providing coordinated access to support services to individuals affected by FASD.
Funding and support for the project is provided by Citizen Advocacy Ottawa, NeuroDevNet, Children’s Aid Society, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and donor-directed funds through the Community Foundation of Ottawa.
“We are very excited to be able to launch, on International FASD Awareness Day, this much needed service for the many people in Ottawa affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Our dynamic FASD team will develop a plan that builds on local needs, strengths and networks, while drawing on a growing national body of tools and knowledge.” said Brian Tardif, Executive Director, Citizen Advocacy. “With this initiative Ottawa is at the forefront of increasing capacity for the children, youth, adults and families affected by FASD in Ontario.”
September 9th is International FASD Awareness Day when people all around the world gather for events to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and the lifelong challenges of individuals and families who struggle with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The first FASD day was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.
Citizen Advocacy Ottawa is a small but powerful registered charity and is one of the few organizations that support people of all ages across the disability spectrum and their families – those with physical, intellectual, developmental, psychiatric and age-related disabilities.