In 2016-2017, CFAN, our service partners and community members continued to work together to mobilize and expand how we respond to and understand FASD.
This year saw a number of changes to our network of service partners. We were sad to see the closing of Parent Support Association (PSA), which for many years offered the highly-regarded FASD Parent Peer Support Program. Their closing has left a void in the caregiver community. We also wish to thank PSA for their generous donation to the CFAN Empowerment Fund.
With the closing of PSA, CFAN tendered a request for proposals for a new caregiver support program and the ‘Whole Family’ program put forward by Wood’s Homes was selected from among many excellent proposals. We welcome Wood’s to our network of service partners.
Our network grew with the addition of a residential addictions treatment pilot program through Aventa, partnering with Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society. This program provides two new FASD-priority treatment beds at Aventa, as well as local and rural residential addictions transitions workers to support women with FASD transitioning back into the community.
CFAN implemented the Network Resource Worker program, providing short term supports and system navigation to individuals, families and professionals who contact us directly or are referred by other professionals or organizations.
CFAN continues with the Collective Impact framework and saw the formation of two working groups from the larger strategy table. The Research Group is overseeing a study into the factors behind alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The Coordinated Access Working Group is exploring ways to tackle barriers to access to services for people with FASD
Another highlight was the launching of the Caregivers Advisory committee. In 2016-17, this committee organized the Caregivers’ Night Out and is currently exploring ways to engage with CFAN in an advisory capacity.
CFAN’s commitment to evidence-based practice within the network is being integrated through including findings of the Best and Emerging Practices in FASD Interventions Through the Lifespan research in program reporting, client surveys and our FASD training programs.
Although we have taken significant steps this year, there are still many obstacles faced by those affected by FASD, such as significant challenges in obtaining appropriate housing, access to mental health and addictions services, and access to assessment and diagnosis. For caregivers and families, it is difficult to find respite that is adequate for their needs. CFAN looks forward to supporting our networks and building on our collective response to address these barriers.
The achievements of the last year would not be possible were it not for the strength of our network. CFAN would like to recognize the dedication and work our service partners provide, the strength and dedication of the caregivers, new partners willing to invest in our work, the amazing support of our Board of Directors, and the foresight of the FASD Cross Ministry.
Executive Director, CFAN