If you haven't seen the latest MCYS announcement regarding FASD, be sure and go to http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/fasd/letter-2017-09-08.aspx. However, I have also been making weekly phone calls to Jacqueline Hamelin, MPP Kiwala's Executive Assistant to get clarification on how they are rolling out the 6 step, 26 million initiative announced in the last budget and received a reply yesterday. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4G_PCr5fBe9b2RpNXNGZ19yOGpfXy1MaTVHeHZ4QUJVb3k4/view?usp=sharing
Within the reply, MPP Kiwala's office also answered my direct inquiry of the Worker proposal. It is not clear at this point if they will be using the same method of inviting expressions of interest from organizations to provide a Worker who focuses on system navigation for those directly impacted by FASD under the age of 18. They have targeted 50 regions who will receive one Worker each. I also know they have also completed their fifth initiative of establishing a consultation group for planning and prioritization. It is this consultation group who are establishing the role of the worker with an emphasis on system navigation with current service providers. It also appears this group will be instrumental in determining the recruitment and allocation of these workers. The LLG FASD Work Group is planning on submitting a proposal on how that Worker will be allocated and recruited in our local area. It is important to note MCYS is only providing the worker for children and youth. Clearly, this is an area that will need to change going forward. FASD is a permanent, lifetime disability and so the individual directly impacted by FASD needs lifetime support.
Finally, I also know MPP Kiwala is not finished. She has been given the opportunity to present a motion to the floor of Queen's Park. As a parliamentary assistant within the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, this is highly unusual and a reflection of how effective she has become as our advocate. Her motion is currently under discussion within the Premier's office and if she receives assent, it is highly likely the motion will pass. She recognizes FASD is beyond the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and so she is endeavoring to make it a provincial wide issue in other relevant ministries. Stay tuned to when the motion will be read. She has asked that once we get that date, we turn out en masse at the Queen's Park gallery to show our support.
I was initially concerned on how quickly the 26 million for four years would get used up, but it appears MCYS is doing a good job ensuring all initiatives will have the necessary funding to get started. Obviously, funding will need to continue to increase but at least it gives us a start.