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 FASS System Navigator fields voluntary referrals for FASS and external FASD programs from the Bissell Centre, Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network (EFAN), and beyond. The FASS System Navigator will meet with eligible participants for one of four streams of services:
- FASS System Navigator Support
- Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP)
- FASD Adult Advocate
- FASD Adult Justice Advocate
About the FASS Streams of Services
The FASS System Navigator is a point of information and provides system navigation support by providing referrals to other FASD programs, FASD Advocate waitlists or other supports. Individuals will be able to discuss their needs and referrals will be made to community services.
If a participant requires longer-term supports, the FASS 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 FASD Adult Advocate works with individuals who have or who may have FASD to assist in the creation of routine and stability. The FASD Adult Advocate provides extensive role-modelling and practical assistance and connects participants to a comprehensive variety of services in the community.
The FASD Justice Adult Advocate is a voluntary program that works with individuals who have or who may have FASD, connecting these individuals to the community with the goal of reducing recidivism.
This is a voluntary program.
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.