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Province Adds New Supports for Children, Families Living with FASD

News Release – Manitoba

February 8, 2011

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) programming in Manitoba will receive $47,300 for new support services for families coping with the disorder, Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.

“These programs will make a difference in the lives of families affected by FASD by providing them with information and the opportunity to draw on the support of other parents and program experts,” said Rondeau. “Including these family-support funds, this year’s FASD investment is $11.5 million.”Of the total, $35,000 will be going toward the development and management of three family-support services by the Rehabilitation Centre for Children and the Manitoba FASD Centre. A parent-advisory and support network, facilitated family support groups and recreation programs for children and youth living with FASD will be established.

The parent-advisory and support network will provide input and advice on FASD program activities and will create a forum for information exchange and social connections. Network meetings will occur four to six times per year. A series of family-support groups will be run for specific populations such as the caregivers of adolescents, birth parents or others identified by the parent network. Each session will be focused on particular issues of concern to the specific group.

The details of the enhanced recreational programming will be developed based on input from the parent network but will likely include activities for the children while their parents are participating in the network meetings or support groups, the minister noted. These would be activities such as art, music and cooking. Family outings with activities like sleigh rides, fall festivals or bowling will also be considered. The recreational programs will be offered in Winnipeg as well as some northern and rural sites.

The Building Circles of Support program offered by the Manitoba FASD Centre will receive $12,300 for its eight-week information series for parents and caregivers. Each session consists of an educational component as well as time for participants to share or ask questions. Topics include concerns such as sensory and communication issues, medical issues and medication, managing behaviour and how to talk to a child about their disability. As well as being offered in Winnipeg, sessions will be held for rural and northern communities via Telehealth at least once per year.

“From working with families, we know that they would welcome additional support and education opportunities”, said Mary Cox-Millar, manager of the Manitoba FASD Centre. “We look forward to establishing the parent network and working with parents on the development of support groups, recreational activities and educational events.”

“These initiatives have been designed to complement existing FASD programming,” said Rondeau. “In the past year, we’ve announced support for programs such as Project Choices which works to reduce the incidence of FASD, as well as programs like Stepping Out on Saturdays which provide caregivers with respite while helping children with FASD to develop social skills. We are ensuring that a full continuum of services is in place.”

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED

FASD Programs and Initiatives Government-wide 2010-11