Council of Yukon First Nations hiring coordinator for FASD Action Plan

The Yukon’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Action Plan was released in 2019

The Council of Yukon First Nations is hiring a coordinator to implement aspects of the Yukon FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Action Plan.

The action plan was released in September 2019 by the Yukon government and FASD interagency advisory committee. It sets out seven priorities for addressing FASD in the territory.

Those priorities include supports for people with FASD; support for families and caregivers; awareness; prevention; assessment and diagnosis; knowledge exchange and mentoring; and research and evaluation.

The Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) FASD coordinator will work to implement some of those priorities in Yukon communities.

“The position will work with Yukon First Nations to increase awareness and understanding of FASD and support access to culturally appropriate support and services to communities,” the council said.

The FASD coordinator will liaise with local health and service providers, develop and implement supports through outreach, collaborate with community service providers, and report to the council’s senior justice analyst.

The 2019 action plan envisioned person- and family-centred supports, inspired by extensive outreach to individuals with FASD and their families. It noted that support should be “sensitive to the historical contexts, traditions and practices of Yukon First Nations” and utilize traditional knowledge.

The action plan encourages awareness campaigns focusing on FASD prevention, while also highlighting that campaigns frequently ignore the positive community contributions that people with FASD make.

“We will work to develop campaigns centred around positive and strength-based messages that also highlight the role communities can play in supporting people with FASD and their families,” the plan says.

The action plan also calls for non-stigmatizing, trauma-informed support that will aid in harm reduction and respond to individuals’ changing needs.

The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon (FASSY) issued a strategic plan for 2020-23 that outlined intention to actively support the action plan as a method for increasing quality and access to FASD services.

According to a 2019 report to the Yukon justice department by Dr. Kaitlyn McLachlan, assistant professor at McMaster University, the prevalence of FASD in the Yukon is difficult to measure because it is a largely invisible disability.

Small-scale studies have shown, however, that rural and northern Indigenous communities have “substantially higher” rates of FASD than the rest of Canada. McLachlan also found that 17.5 per cent of a group surveyed at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre showed evidence of FASD.

Supportive Housing, Challenge Disability Resource Group and Community Wellness Court are examples of FASD programs already existing in the Yukon.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

Council of Yukon First Nations

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