Funding announced for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

The federal government has committed $500,000 to train healthcare workers and provide services for people affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the Yukon.

The federal government has committed $500,000 to train healthcare workers and provide services for people affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the Yukon.

The Yukon government will receive $260,000 for a training project for staff and healthcare workers. The project will include classroom training, workshops, conferences, and on-the-job mentoring programs for healthcare and social service workers.

The Council of Yukon First Nations will receive $240,000 to support community-level FASD services.

“During my years in law enforcement I saw first-hand the challenges faced by people living with FASD,” MP Ryan Leef wrote in a letter to the News. “I know that these investments will help improve lives.”

FASD refers to a range of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Common symptoms include poor coordination, low intelligence, poor social skills, and slow growth. People with FASD are more likely to have problems with substance abuse and law enforcement.

FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in Canada. There is no known cure for the disorder.

In 2014, Leef brought forward a private member’s bill to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to recognize FASD. The bill would have given judges the ability to consider the disorder as a mitigating factor during sentencing.

But Leef withdrew the bill in November 2014, saying it was unlikely the bill would make it through the Senate in time for this year’s election.

This is the latest in a string of funding announcements Leef has made as the federal election campaign gets underway.

He’s also announced $13.7 million for Parks Canada sites, as well as nearly $1 million to upgrade Internet service in Old Crow. Earlier this month, he announced $700,000 in funding for three projects to help end violence against aboriginal women.

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