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
In my last post, we looked at the One-Stop Hub initiative and its impact. In this post, we will look at initiative number two and number three: a program to augment the number of family/caregiver support networks and assist those already in existence; and a FASD research fund to learn more about FASD, and how to prevent it.
Again, the announcement states organizations will be invited to submit an expression of interest to request funding to develop a program which augments family/caregiver support networks and assist those in existence. It is interesting they have separated this initiative from all others. The Key Worker which we will look at later is not part of this funding. Websites are not part of this funding. Research is not part of this funding. This money is devoted exclusively to parent support networks. Augment means add or increase. So they are likely looking for organizations which can receive provincial monies to create new parent support groups within this new program and assist those already in existence. The LLG FASD Work Group would love to start a parent support group but currently needs funding for a location, child care and possibly guest speakers. This announcement is extremely exciting and will allow us to get started. However, it also means if there is a pocket of people anywhere in the province who want to start a FASD Parent Support Group, you only need to approach one of these organizations receiving this funding and get it started.
It is due to our involvement in our local FASD network that we have learned about FASD and how we and our children can manage it. I have said before and will state again it is our local pioneers from the last generation of people impacted by FASD that we know anything at all. They had no support but still wanted to pass their experiences along to benefit us. We are in a much better place today on their backs. We need to continue building on this momentum and that leads to research.
I consider the third initiative of research funding to directly impact us as well. While we will not be the organization applying for this funding, we need to be encouraging those individuals to do so. In turn, they will need people impacted by FASD to be available for research purposes. In an earlier post, I stated my wife and I are working with the Strongest Families Advisory Committee for a research project. It is a very minor commitment of participating in a couple Skype sessions, and then give feedback on a website. However, it will have a large impact on families impacted by FASD. Seek out those opportunities and don't be afraid to give your opinion. If you are like us, it is hard to believe that we are experts, but we truly are. It doesn't take long to have a conversation with someone not impacted by FASD to realize we really do have a lot to share.
In the last post, we will look at the fourth initiative of the Key Worker.