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The Yukon government has released a What We Heard document that summarizes the key findings of its public engagement on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
The public engagement took place from May 2017 through February 2018.
Representatives from the FASD Interagency Advisory Committee travelled to nine Yukon communities to meet with identified stakeholders. Those included First Nation and municipal governments, service providers and community members.
The information gathered through this engagement is now being considered by the government as it develops a Yukon FASD Action Plan.
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in our engagement sessions for their honesty and openness,” Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said today.
“Overall, we heard that Yukoners lack awareness and understanding about FASD, and that people are frustrated by lack of support in their communities.
“This government is dedicated to changing that. This valuable input will guide us as we work collectively to take better care of one of Yukon’s most vulnerable populations.”
“Through interactive discussions, the FASD interagency committee learned about the many strengths in Yukon communities and that communities are wanting to, and are able to, lead the work to address issues around FASD within their community,” said Wenda Bradley, the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon’s (FASSY’s) executive director and the committee’s co-chair.
“A collaborative approach between First Nations governments, local and territorial governments, NGOs and community agencies is thought to be the best approach to address the issues for people living with FASD, their families and their communities.”
FASD’s impacts affect all sectors of the community, the government said in a statement.
“People with FASD can be successful and contributing members of their communities when provided with the right supports,” it said.
FASD may be the Yukon’s leading preventable cause of non-genetic intellectual disability. Without effective tools for prevention, FASD contributes to lower life expectancy, abuse and neglect, poor educational achievement, substance use, possible involvement with the criminal justice system, mental health issues and benefit dependence.
The Yukon has been a member of the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership since 1999 and is currently the organization lead.
Through the partnership, Yukon provides funds to the Canada FASD Research Network to stimulate high quality and relevant research into FASD prevention, assessment and support to inform policy and practice throughout Canada.
International FASD Awareness Day is observed every year on Sept. 9.
On Sunday, the committee will host an FASD awareness barbecue and celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Shipyards Park.
The committee and FASSY are also supporting the first community FASD International Awareness Day event in Ross River on Sunday.
Committee members include representatives from First Nations governments, the Yukon and federal governments, community agencies and non-profit organizations, as well as people with lived experience and their families.
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