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Brenda Bennett Executive Director FASD Life’s Journey Inc. 17-794 Sargent Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. WHEN PIGS CAN FLY!!. FASD is a Life’s Journey…. …it’s the journey, not the destination. Where the Heck is Manitoba???. My Winnipeg. My Manitoba. Population 1.3 million

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Brenda Bennett

Executive Director

FASD Life’s Journey Inc.

17-794 Sargent Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada



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FASD is a Life’s Journey….

…it’s the journey, not the destination




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My Manitoba

Population 1.3 million

Economic diversity

Capital city is Winnipeg, Manitoba

Low unemployment rates

New Democratic Provincial government

Car theft capital of the country

No diagnostic services for adults affected by FASD, and adolescents who become involved with the criminal justice system have access to diagnostic services

Legal age is 18 in Manitoba


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My Manitoba…

  • First Nations population impacted by trans-generational affects of colonization

  • Significant Aboriginal population in Winnipeg, expected to continue to grow rapidly due to urbanization

  • High rates of Aboriginal teen pregnancy

  • Aboriginal people are overrepresented in our prisons Devolved child welfare to Aboriginal Child & Family Services Authorities due to high number of Aboriginal children in Provincial care

  • There are approximately 167 (17 %) youth of the 979 (aged 16-18) kids in care (2005) who are affected by, or suspected of, living with FASD.


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My Winnipeg..

Winnipeg has serious safety and security problems

Until recently, identified as the crime capital of Canada

The closer to the city’s geographic centre, the higher the incidence of violence and property crime

Such crimes are the product of poverty and social exclusion and are concentrated in the inner city

Policing strategy for the inner city is incident driven policing – 911

2005 introduced Operation Clean Sweep – zero tolerance policing based on New York City model – created great divide between police and community

Prison population is ever increasing – double time phenomena for remanded time



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Community Development

  • Identified the issue/gap

  • Identified the stakeholders

  • Facilitated the Think Tank process – collectively identified the activities of the initiative, identified advisory group and developed relationships to built connections to support advocacy/lobbying

  • Demonstrated needs of consumers

  • Evaluated our outcomes

  • Regularly celebrated accomplishments with the community


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Think Tank on FASD

  • 2002- Manitoba Coalition on Alcohol and Pregnancy sponsored Think Tank on FASD. To identify and respond to the service gaps for adults and late adolescents affected by FASD

  • Broad range of stakeholders participated to:

    • Identify the needs

    • Identify the service gaps, and

    • develop an action plan to address the issues


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FASD Life’s Journey Inc.

In response to the above noted gaps, Community Living Manitoba acquired funding to develop the Manitoba FAS Community Mobilization Project (FASCMP). This three year (from June 2002-Aug. 31, 2005) community development initiative undertook 17 distinct activities and produced the following outcomes:


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Outcomes of the FASCMP

Developed a strength based mentorship program model for late adolescents and adults affected by a FASD & demonstrated their needs through the provision of direct services

In conjunction with Clinic for Alcohol and Drug Affected Children (CADAC), piloted a multidisciplinary diagnostic process for five adults

Developed a reintegration pilot project for five individuals exiting adult correctional facilities

Increased income of participants

Reduced recidivism

Improved health of participants and access to health services

Decreased homelessness

Advocated for the development of a Provincial FASD strategy and Interdepartmental FASD committee


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Outcomes of FASDCMP

  • Provided clinical case management and supportive mentorship to the spectrum of FASD affected individuals regardless of IQ, mental health eligibility or criminal justice system involvement

  • Developed a Manitoba non-profit agency, FASD Life’s Journey Inc. focusing solely on the needs of late adolescents and adults affected by FASD

  • Provided FASD information, consultation and training throughout the Province of Manitoba

  • Provided supported employment through the HRSDC Opportunities Fund

  • Provided parenting and family planning supports for affected individuals

  • Provided systems coordination and transitional planning for participants

  • Secured funding for those eligible for existing government programs such as Supported Living Program, Mental Health and the Provincial Special Needs Program


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The Response….

  • Development of the Manitoba FASD Community Mobilization Project – a 3 year broad based community development initiative

  • 17 initiatives including the development of a direct service model for late adolescents and adults affected by FASD & an FASD focussed agency in Manitoba to serve adolescents and adults


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FASD Community Mobilization Case Management and Mentorship Program

  • Began providing intake and supportive services in the fall of 2002

  • Direct service demonstrated the support needs of this population

  • Provided quality services that government programs valued and relied on

  • Evaluated the services and outcomes of the project


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FASD Life’s Journey Inc. Program

  • April 29, 2005 registered as a Manitoba non share capital corporation

  • By June 2005 secured funding for the continuance of the direct service program through the newly formed FASD Life’s Journey Inc.

  • Secured board members with a passion for youth and adults impacted by FASD

  • September 2005 FASD Life’s Journey Inc. initiated services for late adolescents and adult Manitobans affected by FASD


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The Journey… Program

  • Performed functions of community intake which identified those who fell through the cracks

  • Illuminated the importance of appropriate transitional supports for those exiting Provincial care transitioning to adulthood. Advocate for extensions of care to age 21.

  • Educate system about the support needs of all affected by FASD regardless of funding eligibility

  • Identify the service gaps and focus advocacy/program development on these areas

  • Advocated for the development of an interdepartmental Committee on FASD and a Provincial FASD strategy

  • Addressed the “deserving vs. the undeserving disabled” stigma


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The Journey… Program

  • Initially served those who qualified for funding – those with developmental disabilities and those who pose risk to self or community (high risk high needs)

  • Demonstrated effectiveness of our specialized program model

  • Government saw the results and continued to make referrals. Cost saving & QOL.

  • We responded to their needs for services

  • Secondary focus was advocacy for funding for services for those identified as the un-served

  • Two years later, government funded Spectrum Connections Program.



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Show Me the Money $$$$ Program

Sept.1, 2005 $200,000.00

April 1, 2006 1.5 ml

April 1, 2007 3 ml

April 1,2008 8 million

April 1, 2009 9.4 million




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The Model Program

  • Respectful and non judgemental

  • Consumer focussed

  • Individualized and holistic

  • Strengths based

  • Gender specific

  • Expectations are based on understanding unique needs – strengths & disabilities across the lifespan

  • Focus on the primary disabilities

  • Habilitative in nature

  • Culturally responsive

  • Change environments not people


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The model is not… Program

  • a discharge program

  • abstinence based

  • based on selecting consumers who are stable or amenable to support

  • silo based

  • offering or seeking a cure

  • based on economy of scale

  • cognitive behavioural

  • punitive or parental

  • mixed gender

  • without clinical framework

  • one size fits all

  • about our agenda


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Services Available… Program

  • Outreach Mentorship Program (50 participants)

  • Provides community based individualized supports to assist with interdependent living. CCM & supportive mentorship

  • Typically 1:1 ratio – 2:1 for consumers who pose higher risk


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Residential Services Program

  • 6 Foster/Proctor Placements (12 consumers)

    Per diems range from $100 – $140/day (tax free status in Canada)

  • 17 Community Residences (28 consumers) – 24/7/365 staffing

    Per diem rates from $640/day single resident

    Range from one to 3 residents

    Within Winnipeg proper and within ½ hour of Winnipeg


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Residential Services.. Program

3-Community reintegration homes - for high risk offenders

Proctor placements - including mothering/parenting homes

- These are dually licensed for both the children and the parent with a development disability


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Other Services Program

  • Transition to Age of Majority – can include residential and support mentorship for those youth in Provincial care who require specialized intensive supports

  • Alternate to School Program – Individualized for those who qualify for long term funding and require an alternate setting to school

  • Day Options – individualized day options based on individual preferences and focussing on their strengths, talents and interests


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Other Services.. Program

  • Fee for Service Tailored training/Workshops

  • Fee for Service Consultation – Individual, program, and community development

  • Family Support

  • Advocacy


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Funding… Program

  • Supported Living Program – eligible individuals with an IQ of less than 70, adaptive functioning deficits, and disability acquired prior to age of majority (18 in Manitoba)

  • Special Needs Supported Living Program – eligible individuals who pose a risk to themselves and the community (arson, assaults, sexual related charges, etc.), have a disability, but not restricted by IQ


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Funding Sources Program

Community Mental Health

Those diagnosed with a significant mental health disorder e.g. Schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc.

Core funding from the Province of Manitoba for the Spectrum Connections Program – transitional program for those who do not qualify for the other three funding sources and can benefit from case management and up to 4 hours/wk mentorship (The Safety Net)


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Funding Program

  • CFS Authorities – transitional to age of majority for those who qualify for funding

  • School Districts – individualized alternate to school programs

  • Families – fee for service for those who require intensive supports but do not qualify for funding


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Lessons Learned Program

  • Staffing is an ongoing significant challenge

  • Staff need to be specialized generalists who thrive on “quantum physics and the rule of chaos”

  • Success needs to be redefined through a neurobehavioural lens

  • Expectations of the community are high and based on a “cure it” mentality

  • People and systems need to live in grey but are challenged to leave black & white behind

  • Keep communicating that FASD is an explanation, not an excuse

  • Individuals affected by FASD are incredibly resilient

  • Consumers expectations of self that often exceed their actual ability

  • Consumers struggle with the need for support


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Challenges… Program

  • Consumers want age appropriate responsibilities and independence

  • Black and white thinking- e.g. Probation Services, Winnipeg Police Service, crown council

  • Judges who “get it” assist the system to understand the disability when they make appropriate dispositions – assist in breaking the revolving door of the criminal justice system

  • Teach that the behaviour is disability based and therefore requires a different approach


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Pigs Can Fly! Program


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