Introduction: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A framework for action

Introduction

Use this Framework for Action...

The Framework is for you if you are a frontline worker or a program or policy developer working at the local, provincial/territorial, national or federal level in one of the following fields:

  • Aboriginal issues
  • Child and family welfare
  • Community development
  • Corrections
  • Disability issues
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Ethno-cultural issues
  • Health education
  • Homelessness
  • Justice
  • Medicine
  • Policing
  • Poverty

Wherever you work or live, if you are interested in prevention of FASD and in improving the quality of life of people with FASD and their families, this Framework has been developed with you in mind.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a disability resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol. With an estimated 9 in 1,000 babies born in Canada affected by the disability, FASD puts a heavy social and economic burden on those with FASD, their families, their communities and our society as a whole. FASD is a life-long disability. While there is no cure, the disorder is preventable. Those with FASD can, with the right supports, approaches and services, lead happy and productive lives.

This document, FASD: A Framework for Action, includes the basic building blocks required for concerted action within communities, provinces and territories as well as within the federal government. Initiated by the federal government, and shaped by the National Advisory Committee on FASD, the Framework for Action reflects the ideas and advice of many organizations and individuals. At the same time, it is designed to be used by groups across all sectors, in all regions of the country. Just as FASD affects many aspects of a person's life - health, education, social interaction and work life - many organizations need to be involved in preventing FASD and supporting and providing treatment for people with the disability.

Who this Framework is for

The Framework for Action is intended, quite simply, to encourage people to understand FASD better, to present the broad picture of where collaborative action could lead, to offer ideas and examples of what is needed to achieve that picture, and to inspire action at all levels, across all sectors.

The 2002/2003 consultations with organizations across the country clearly point out that "readiness" to take action varies from community to community, region to region and sector to sector. Ideally, the Framework provides a starting point for action, no matter at what stage a community may be. For some, it will offer food for thought - a discussion document to build support and consensus in the community. For others, it will be used to help develop action plans. Still others can use it to renew their commitment, see new ways of working, and approach different issues related to FASD.

What FASD: A Framework for Action includes

The Framework for Action provides the structure and basic building blocks for comprehensive and consistent action on FASD prevention and support. By definition, it is broad, loose, non-directive and full of ideas. It is intended to be molded to the unique characteristics and opportunities of each community, allowing each "owner" to tailor the ideas to suit local needs. The building blocks include a vision for the future, five broad goals (a more precise definition of where progress is needed on a number of fronts), examples of strategies that should or could be used to reach the vision and achieve the goals, as well as a set of guiding principles that, ideally, will be adopted by every community, project, policy and program aimed at supporting FASD prevention and action.

The Framework also includes feedback from the consultations carried out across the country in early 2003. Highlights of ideas and comments on a Draft Framework (on which this Framework for Action is based) are included here to help readers understand some of the experiences, advice and ideas of those working in health, education, justice, policing, corrections and child and family welfare - advice that is reflected throughout this Framework for Action on FASD.

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