In April 2021 the BC Representative for Children & Youth released a report entitled Excluded: Increasing Understanding, Support and Inclusion for Children with FASD and their Families. This comprehensive report challenges the stigma surrounding FASD and brings attention to the significant issues with services related to FASD assessment, diagnosis, and support. It highlights the major inequalities people with FASD and their families are facing and gives recommendations with how to move forward.
This report raises really important issues for all governments in Canada in relation to service delivery for individuals with FASD and their families. Although it is focused on the challenges and lack of support in BC, the story is similar for people all across the country. I suggest that we all take the time to read this report carefully and share it with our government policy makers and elected officials, as it clearly highlights the needs and frustrations of families as well as the system failures.
CanFASD is here to support governments in Canada to know better and to do better by providing the evidence and information needed to make good policy decisions and train a FASD-informed workforce. We have been asking the Government of Canada to develop a national strategy on FASD to give the provinces and territories guidance on how to meet the needs of those with FASD, their families, and their communities. Each province/territory is struggling to develop supports for this population with limited regional evidence and resources. A National FASD Strategy will give our provinces and territories an evidence-based direction that can improve FASD prevention, diagnosis and support to help Canadians with FASD reach their full potential.
CanFASD thanks the Child & Youth BC Representative and team for putting together this comprehensive report and focusing attention on these areas. We are pleased to see that BC has stepped up to address these inequities and challenges for individuals with FASD in their province and will continue to support and promote this important work.
Written by Audrey McFarlane
CanFASD Research Network