Manitoba will double the capacity of a respected fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) support program and expand FASD diagnostic capacity in northern and rural communities as part of new funding for its five-year FASD strategy, Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief announced Friday.
Manitoba's five-year FASD strategy is now in its fifth year and Budget 2012 will add nearly $500,000 to the strategy for a total investment of $13.3 million, Chief said.
Part of the new funding will go to double the capacity of Stepping Out on Saturdays in Winnipeg, a respite and socialization program for children and families affected by FASD that are involved with Manitoba Child and Family Services.
The funding will also be used to expand multidisciplinary FASD diagnostic capacity within rural and northern areas of Manitoba. "Manitoba FASD Centre staff members are profoundly grateful and enthusiastic for the opportunities of expanding FASD diagnosis in Manitoba," said Dr. Sally Longstaffe, medical director of the Manitoba FASD Centre and network.
There will also be new funding for projects that address awareness and prevention, diagnosis, intervention and support, community engagement, research and training such as:
-- support for Visions and Voices, a public-speaking program for adults with FASD;
-- services for youth and adults with FASD in rural and northern areas;
-- support for The Mothering Project, a new drop-in program launching in 2013 to offer a variety of supports for women who use substances and are pregnant or have young children;
-- expansion of the Youth Justice Program;
-- additional direct service support for children, youth and families in Winnipeg;
-- a new FASD Parent Support Program to help families and service providers outside Winnipeg understand FASD and connect effectively with local supports and services;
-- funding for community coalitions across Manitoba to network, share ideas and successes, and learn about current FASD research and best practices;
-- expansion of research capacity and more training opportunities for a variety of direct service providers.