Saturday, 13 May 2017

Lanark Leeds Grenville FASD Working Group announcement

The following letter has been sent to the following people:
For Education
Susan Wilson CDSBEO Special Education Advisory Committee Chair who wants to talk and have us present at the next meeting
Dr. Donaleen Hawes, CDSBEO Director of Education
Bill Macpherson, Upper Canada School Board Special Education Advisory Committee Chair who will read the letter at the next meeting.
For Mental Health
Dr. Laurie Dube  Mental Health and Addition for Lanark, Leeds Grenville Board of Directors Chair who will read the letter at the next meeting
Brian Turner Mental Health and Addition for Lanark, Leeds Grenville Board of Directors member as well as Chair of Carleton Place Drug Advisory Chair
For Politics
Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark
Sophie Kiwala, MPP
Michael Coteau, MPP
Steve Clark, MPP who wants to talk thanks to Diane
For Corrections
Larry Bagnell, MP
Yasir Navqi, MPP
Gord Boyd, Chair of local Human Services Justice Coordinating Committee
EMC newspaper
Almonte Millstone
Hometown News Smiths Falls
North Grenville News
Kemptville TV
Lake 88.1
Jack-FM 93.9

May 8, 2017

To Whom May Concern,

On June 12, 2014, a small group of social service providers from the areas of Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville came together through a shared concern of how to best serve the local people who are directly impacted by FASD. This group then began reaching out and creating a network of both individuals, caregivers and service providers to begin the dialogue on what could be done. Through this network, the LLG FASD Working Group was formed and the first "FASD Community Conversation took place on December 8, 2016.

Through this conversation involving multiple agencies and impacted families, we have created this summary of the key themes and points raised by the "FASO Community Conversation" as a means of communicating the strengths, needs, desires and challenges faced by those impacted by FASD in Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Counties.

It was quickly obvious that all parties were aware of what FASD is, the impact it is having on our communities, that education is happening in all aspects of our society, and that our highly collaborative and transparent service providers are wanting to support these individuals.

However, it was also equally obvious that education is still necessary for families and service providers, there is a complete lack of available services and supports for FASD impacted individuals, and that those individuals have very little understanding on how to find those services. Frustration was also seen related to an inability to find someone who can provide a diagnosis for FASD. Interestingly, it was pointed out that our findings correspond with the prominent themes of Granville Anderson's 2015 roundtable report.

Further research was done on current Canadian FASO programs and the British Columbia model is seen as an excellent example. Their model focuses on navigation, diagnostics, outreach, and networking. In particular, their "Key Worker Program" which is being copied by Citizen Advocacy in Ottawa is the starting point for accessing all necessary resources. This model is so important because when an individual impacted by FASD is in crisis, they can't navigate or even problem solve. This third-party individual becomes the person who can lead them to their solutions and break down their barriers.

Based on these findings, the LLG FASO Working Group recommends the following Ministry­ funded initiatives to support these individuals and families.

A "Key Worker Program" that would serve our communities
FASO specialized respite, community support and life-skill development Eligibility to access current services
Increased availability and access to diagnostic resources

The LLG FASO Working Group is also currently creating the following resources. 
Development of a local Lanark, Leeds and Grenville FASO resource list 
Development of a local LLG FASO caregiver and individual support group

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a preventable, lifelong disability with no current cure, resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol. Individuals with FASO have significant risk for disrupted education, incarceration, homelessness, mental health challenges, addiction and shortened life spans. These individuals tend to have learning and memory difficulties, impaired decision-making, social difficulties, health challenges, high anxiety and impulsivity and communication challenges. With supportive modeling and guidance, though, these individuals have demonstrated over and over again, they have the capability of being productive and valued members of our society. Approximately, 6,000+ people in Lanark and Leeds and Grenville Counties are directly impacted by FASO and do not currently meet the eligibility requirements to access any current developmental services.

As Ontario gets set to reveal the details of its first FASO strategy, the LLG FASO Working Group waits with great anticipation that we may finally have the necessary tools to make a real difference in our rural counties and invite the Ontario government and key stakeholders to collaborate with us in providing these supports and resources.


Erin Bertrand, Chair FASO Working Group Lanark, Leeds & Grenville (613)345-1290

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