Highlight on Canadian FASD Service Providers- NB Centre of Excellence

canfasdblogUncategorized1 Comment

The New Brunswick (NB) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Centre of Excellence is a bilingual, provincial, community-based model that incorporates a holistic, collaborative, client-centred, strength-based, women-centred, trauma informed approach to its health care services.

The NB FASD Centre of Excellence takes great pride in providing a safe, kind, caring, and empathetic environment for all their clients and families. The Centre works very hard in creating a safe and compassionate space for individuals and their families to share their unique stories and experiences in order to move towards a place of hope and healing. This culturally appropriate and safe program has also been acknowledged by Health Standards Organization-Leading Practice (Accreditation Canada) as best practice.

The Centre is currently funded by the Department of Health and is operated by Vitalité Health Network. Our mission is to offer services that include prevention, diagnostic, intervention, support and follow-up after the clinic to families and professionals working with individuals who are diagnosed with FASD.

The Centre also provides support and interventions to families and adults who do not meet criteria for diagnosis, or have been previously diagnosed. The core of our services is delivered by 5 Community Coordinators and 1 Aboriginal Liaison located in different parts of the province to ensure full coverage of all the communities, including all 15 First Nations communities in NB.

Let’s take a closer look at some of our services:

  1. Prevention
  • The Centre provides information/ creates awareness / and gives training sessions for mothers and services providers in regards to alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy. The FASD dialogue fosters genuine relationships building with service providers and future parents. This non-judgmental approach opens the doorway to true and honest conversations in regards to alcohol consumption;
  • The Centre provides resource materials that support evidence-based practices;
  • The Centre provides consultations regarding evidence-based approaches to working with women who have addictions issues using woman centred and trauma-informed approaches.
  1. Diagnosis
  • The Centre has a multidisciplinary team that provide a complete diagnostic assessment to individuals that are 0-18 years of age who have been exposed to prenatal alcohol or have a strong suspicious of being exposed to prenatal alcohol;
  • This Comprehensive diagnostic assessment is completed by a bilingual multidisciplinary team made up of Pediatrician, Physician, Psychologist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Community Coordinator or Aboriginal Liaison, and the Program Manager. The Centre also invites other professionals to participate in the multidisciplinary meeting that is held on the last day of clinic week who works directly with the individual being assessed or the family. These professionals may consist but are not limited to: school principal or teachers, resource teachers, mental health workers, social workers, group home directors or workers, elders, justice and public safety, lawyers, doctors, etc.;
  • All diagnostic clinics are held in Moncton over a 4-day period (Monday to Thursday). The Community coordinators in collaboration with Social Development will help find resources and services to help the families who need financial assistance during this week;
  • The family is at the core of the diagnostic process and is considered a very important member of the diagnostic team;
  • A preliminary report that is client-centred and provides strength-based recommendations are given to the family or legal guardian on the last day of clinic during the family meeting;
  • Referral forms are available upon request and we accept referrals from everyone, even self-referrals.
  1. Intervention and Support
  • The Centre will support and lead individuals and their families to appropriate community services before and after the diagnosis and will continue to follow with individuals and their families after diagnosis and this is across the lifespan or as-needed basis;
  • The Centre will provide early interventions training, education and support to families or caregivers and professionals involved prior to diagnosis of a child or infant who has been exposed to prenatal alcohol and identified as high risk of having FASD;
  • The Centre provides consultation to professionals working with adults with FASD;
  • The Centre also provides a 2 day FASD training following diagnosis to everyone involved with the client and their families. This is where we web appropriate resources and services, identify key stakeholders that will need to be involved with the client, addressed any silo’s and map out the wrap around services. The purpose of the wrap around services is to have all professionals and caregivers on board to better understand the client’s need, strengths and challenges based on the diagnostic assessments and recommendations. Our services are not limited to the client, as we will provide services to the family or caregiver and the community as well; our parallel approach is used to better support the family and the community. Because we know that a healthy family and a community engagement will better support the child and the family;
  • The Community Coordinator will participate in case conferences and will provide education and training for professionals to ensure that the recommendations that were put forth on diagnostic day are respected and implemented by advocating for accommodations;
  • The Community Coordinator participates in youth transitioning to adulthood case plans by webbing appropriate services and resources across the lifespan;
  • The Community Coordinators provide education and counselling services on FASD to individuals with FASD and their families.


  1. Building community capacity
  • The Centre truly believes in building community capacity in all regions of the province in regards to FASD; the Centre will work in collaboration with other organizations in the field of education and creating awareness;
  • The Centre works collaboratively with other governmental agencies such as: education, social development, health care, mental health and addictions, aboriginal affaires, and justice and public safety;
  • The Centre believes in building knowledge, community education, and providing FASD intervention strategies;
  • The Centre believes in Building FASD Communities of Practice across the province;
  • The Centre also encourages regional teams to observe and participate in clinics.
  1. Dream Catcher Service Delivery Model

The NB FASD Dream Catcher Service Delivery Model was developed and designed with the knowledge and wisdom of our elders and community partners from all 15 First Nation communities. This very unique gift was given to us by elders for appropriate service delivery in our province in regards to FASD.

This culturally appropriate and safe Apigsigtoagen practice has been identified and is referenced in the NB FASD Dream Catcher Service Delivery Model as a guide to help inform and support change to our health-care providers by merging our traditional western medicines with our First Nations Science and how both can be integrated in our service delivery as Health Care best practice when it comes to working with Indigenous clients. This model was also developed to address the TRC’s 94 call to action, more specifically #33 and #34 that speaks directly about FASD.

This model of care helps to empower community stakeholders working with the client and the family. Due to the complexity of a FASD diagnosis, this model allows for  collaborative and respectful work that results in better understanding and delivery of services to the client and his family.

The Dream Catcher Model is also a means of addressing front-line health-care workers, addressing social determinants of health, identifying “gaps” in services in order to prevent secondary and tertiary outcomes that occur as a result of missing community services or lack of FASD understanding, or that do not address the real needs of individuals with FASD. This model is a living document, and will need to be continually adapted to the changing needs of the individual and his/her family. It is a shared responsibility among all of us to help support interdependence, foster genuine relationship and to ensure that the individual with FASD and their families have a strong and secure foundation that will enable them to contribute to society to the best of their abilities in their own communities.

Check out our website’s videos

We have 4 video’s that were created for better understanding of our services and the approach that we take.

  1. The step by step video will walk you through all 4 days of assessment and this will help orient the families and clients when they come to clinic.
  2. The tour video was created for children and adolescent to watch to help with anxiety and transition.
  3. The stigma video was created to help biological mothers to come forward
  4. And lastly, the Dream Catcher Video was created to show how we have totally adapted our ways of providing services to really meet the needs of our Indigenous population.



One Comment on “Highlight on Canadian FASD Service Providers- NB Centre of Excellence”

Leave a Reply