Through community development, advocacy and intensive supports, Bissell Centre’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum of Services (FASS) program enhances the community’s awareness through education, and supports for the well-being of individuals, families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and their caregivers.
“I’m not so scared anymore, I don’t feel like I have to go through everything alone.”
-FASS Community Member
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term describing the constellation of effects that result from prenatal alcohol exposure. Making a diagnosis of FASD requires a multidisciplinary team and involves a complex physical and neurodevelopmental assessment. In Canada, prenatal exposure to alcohol is a leading cause of preventable brain damage and birth defects. Children and adults with FASD may have a range of symptoms, including difficulty with regulating emotions that appear reactive and understanding consequences. Approximately nine out of every 1,000 children born in Canada are affected by FASD or roughly 1% of the population.
The FASD System Navigator fields referrals for FASS and external FASD programs from the Bissell Centre, Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network (EFAN), and beyond. The FASD System Navigator will meet with eligible participants for one of three streams of services:
- Short Term Support
- Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP)
- Adult Advocate
The FASD System Navigator will provide short-term support such as accessing income support, AISH, identification, and treatment.
If a participant requires longer term supports, the FASD System Navigator assists them with their immediate needs while they await an Adult Advocate or PCAP worker. When a participant is ready to be transferred, the FASD System Navigator facilitates soft handovers to Adult Advocates and PCAP Advocates for ongoing supports.
The PCAP staff work with women who are currently pregnant or 6 months post-partum and are at risk of delivering a child exposed to drugs and/or alcohol. The PCAP advocates will work with the women for up to 3 years in a mentorship role and will never ask the women to leave the program no matter the outcome of the pregnancy.
The Adult Advocates individuals diagnosed or suspected of having FASD to assist in the creation of routine and stability. The Adult Advocate provides extensive role-modeling and practical assistance and connects participants to a comprehensive variety of services in the community.
FASD MedicAlert Bracelets
This program is a part of the Connect Program with EPS and aims to achieve more equitable treatment for persons living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder by raising awareness among emergency first responders on how to approach these individuals as identified through their MedicAlert ID.
Contact us for more information or for assistance with applying.
FASD Frontline Worker Meetings
An opportunity for frontline workers to meet with each other and discuss issues they face in their work. Through collaboration, we can find new and different ways to support our clients with FASD. There is an opportunity to case conference, learn about resources through presenters and network with community resources for FASD supports.
For more information on location and dates for FASD Frontline Worker Meetings or to book a presentation please contact:
Team Lead, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum of Services