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Public engagement on FASD results released

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).

By Whitehorse Star on September 7, 2018

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.

Comments (7)

Up 0 Down 0

Marie on Jul 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

@outsider I agree with the premise of your solution. I know a woman who had several children born with FASD. She got caught stealing and ended up in prison for over 6 months. She happened to be early in another pregnancy when she was sentenced. Baby was born before her sentence was complete. I have often considered how that child was spared a life long disability because of circumstance. I disagree with your position on abortion. The deliberate ending of human life is always wrong. We can do better.

Up 3 Down 0

Bill Clark on Sep 13, 2018 at 2:57 pm

As a retired pharmacist with 70 years of continuous observations and ongoing education, I cannot understand why alcohol/ethanol does not go on trial .
It is number one toxic carcinogenic killer world wide according to W H O, and explicit warning labels.
Must attached to ALL alcohol preparation.
Citizens must be informed, protected, and NOT addicted.
Bill Clark B.Ph. B.Ed. North Bay Ontario 705 472 2312

Up 8 Down 9

Dianne O'Connor on Sep 10, 2018 at 11:01 am

Addiction is not simple. It is not simple to just stop drinking if you have a dependency or are addicted to alcohol. I think everyone needs to recognize it takes two to tango, but it is the woman who takes the blame. By criminalizing the women for their addiction, you will force these women underground so they do not get any treatment or help with the pregnancy.

Think about what the woman loses when faced with jail or CPS. She would lose home, clothing, furniture, children, everything she may have had over the years. What would a man lose if he were not the main caregiver? These women need help, not our scorn.

Did you know that most children born with FASD are birthed by women who are college educated, live in the suburbs or have nice apartments, and have health care? What about these women, would you go after them like you would a poor woman?

Up 8 Down 5

Doug Ryder on Sep 10, 2018 at 7:50 am

In the Yukon FASD has become en vogue as the great motivator - In trouble with the law - Just say FASD.

FASD signals the end of moral culpability for everyone who self identifies in the courtroom. My mom drank while I was pregnant even helps mitigate the moral culpability of the system - lack of educational resourcing, poor teacher performance, and even weak adherence to curriculum. One might wonder who is not FASD - my mom drank...

Henry Bodkin 18 MAY 2017 • 12:01 AM
Advising women not to drink when pregnant is “sexist” and causes “needless anxiety”, senior academics have said.

Pregnancy charities and researchers have called for a change to the “alarmist” official Government guidelines, which warn expectant mothers to avoid alcohol completely. They say the policy has no basis in evidence and ends up “stigmatizing” women and excluding them from society.

Studies have shown that consistent heavy drinking during pregnancy can result in foetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause physical developmental and learning difficulties.

However, there is not robust evidence that light to moderate drinking, or even one-off episodes of binge drinking, causes any long-term damage.


Up 15 Down 2

Doug Ryder on Sep 9, 2018 at 9:53 am

@ Outsider - There was a case in the Yukon where a woman was forced to quit drinking alcohol while pregnant.
She made a Human Right challenge and won the right to drink while pregnant.

It is Yukon law that allows women to drink while pregnant. This is supported by Canadian law that does not define the unborn as a person. Therefore women who drink during pregnancy are doing no harm to any person.

You can thank the lawyers for this state of affairs, after all, they were protecting your right to drink while you are pregnant too. Those altruistic purveyors of human rights have achieved great protections for “us” - Next time you see a lawyer you should give them a hug and say, Thank-you for dumbing down society, say nothing else and walk away...

Up 11 Down 3

My Opinion on Sep 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

I agree whole heartedly but in this SJW, Politically correct Liberal society that we are having engineered for us, that just won't happen.
People have rights, (at who's expense?).

If we did as you said we would be paying in the future as we are now for Res School Syndrome, MMIWAG, 60's scoop, Gladue, You name it. Remember when it was illegal for Natives to drink, hmmmm? We can not suggest a cure as it would be infringing on their rights of self determination.

Where we have to get change is in our SJW Court system. I will not call it a Justice system as it is not about Justice, it is in fact a Legal system that keeps Lawyers employed. We have to stop coddling people who make terrible decisions that destroy future generations.

Up 14 Down 1

outsider on Sep 7, 2018 at 11:20 pm

Prevention is very simple. Do not drink while pregnant. Getting some women to adhere to that is proving impossible for some reason. What needs to be done to prevent women who intend to carry a pregnancy to term, from drinking and destroying a person's brain? Why is this legal? "It's my right to drink, even if I am destroying the brain of a child who I fully intend to give birth to."

Somehow that doesn't ring true to me. There is something missing in this equation. Not one more life should be destroyed while everyone wrings their hands wondering what to do, without offending anyone or impinging on their right to drink. This is ridiculous.
I'll tell you what. If I were king or queen so to speak, there would be a nice resort a couple hundred miles out, fly in only. There would be the best food, a pool, massage, a movie room, a library, yoga, you name it. There would be the best treatment available for alcohol and drug withdrawal, even if it meant allowing a little bit of use so they don't get sick.

But the buck would stop. Any woman hitting the bottle hard while pregnant would be bundled up and flown there, hopefully voluntarily but even against her will. I bet you in ten years, or even 9 months, she'll be thanking you when her baby is not born disabled due to her affair with booze. That is one big burden to carry: knowing that 'you did this to your child'.

At any time up until whatever the law says about abortion, she could choose to terminate her pregnancy, as is her right, and go back to the bottle at home. Her choice. But it is not her choice to abuse a person's brain because she feels like drinking. That is child abuse, plain and simple. Okay, maybe not plain and simple, but that's what it is. It should not be allowed.
It's harsh and ugly. Nobody wants to say these things. But this insanity of tip toeing around the subject while what amounts to physical assault is perpetuated on our next generation has to stop. The drinking while pregnant has to stop. Do it as nicely as you can, but do it.

I hold all of you people at FASSY, and all the people living with FAS in very high regard. I could not do what you do. You are strong, good people. I know you are trying to turn this around, and I'd like to encourage you to take dramatic action or to put this on the table as an idea. As a tax payer I'd be very happy to help foot the bill for such a facility.

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