FASD Assessment Support
Going through an FASD assessment can be challenging.
Through an Aboriginal Lens’ (TAL) Family Preservation Workers (FPW) assist youth and their families to understand how FASD is a unique diagnosis to each individual. TAL will support youth before, during, and after an assessment by connecting them and their family to other community services and resources. Our FPW’s are culturally sensitive and will support youth and their families with identifying their cultural needs to create opportunity for cultural connection that will assist them in making healthy lifestyle choices.
Understand Your Diagnosis
Understanding an FASD diagnosis is complicated.
TAL’s FPWs assist youth and their families in understanding the complex FASD diagnosis. Guided by our values based on the 7 sacred teachings of Love, Respect, Humility, Truth, Honesty, Wisdom, and Courage. TAL helps our youth to build upon their strengths and encourage self-empowerment to change their everyday struggles into everyday successes.
Accessing supports and services when living with concurrent health challenges can be confusing.
TAL will advocate for Indigenous youth and families to successfully access services provided by Legal Aid, Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction, Ministry of Children and Family Development, First Nations Health Authority, and Jordan Principles. TAL will educate youth and families about their rights within those systems. TAL not only educates service providers about FASD but also about Indigenous values to assist mainstream services to be more successful in connecting with Indigenous communities.
Build Positive Sense of Identity
TAL acknowledges some Indigenous families have had contact with the Ministry and recognize a lack of connection to culture and traditional teachings has created a negative impact on an individuals sense of Indigenous identity.
TAL FPWs help youth and their families understand that FASD is not exclusive to Indigenous Peoples or a part of Indigenous identity. TAL invites Elders and knowledgeable people to share cultural teachings that are connected to the youth’s birth culture, whenever possible. TAL provides youth the opportunity to experience spiritual cleansing ceremonies, time on the land and Indigenous foods, medicines and arts.
Navigating the criminal justice system is complex.
TAL can provide information about the justice systems and court processes by connecting them to a Native Courtworker (NCW) for court support and other court related services.
TAL advocates to safeguard the rights of Indigenous Peoples and supports them through any socio-economic, health and cultural barriers within the justice system.
Community Capacity Building
Change or making allowances in programming is hard, but for youth living with FASD, constantly failing in standardized mainstream programming is even harder.
The TAL team works diligently to be included in the youth’s Integrated Case Management Team. TAL develops a unique relationship with youth that is rooted in Indigenous culture. Our FPW’s can contribute meaningful input that will acknowledge strengths and challenges as well as assist in utilizing current community supports/programs and aid them in making service delivery changes that are more relevant and culturally appropriate for the youth engaged in the TAL program.
Service Provider Support
Service providers still find it a challenge to fully understand the difficulties youth diagnosed with FASD may have with basic day-to-day tasks and direction.
TAL’s FPWs assist service providers in understanding an individual youth’s strengths and challenges. TAL assists service providers in creating culturally appropriate strategies that will support the youth.
Recognizing the need for a more targeted approach for the Indigenous youth that are referred to Asante Centre, TAL provides justice and Indigenous specific interventions in 5 significant areas:
- Provide understanding of life after an FASD diagnosis and develop individual strategies that encourage and support the overall livelihood of the youth; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
- Address health and wellness concerns that are related to Jordan Principles that are not being acknowledged or supported due to not having a family doctor or lacking financial sustainability.
- Advocate for the criminal justice sentences and probation conditions to be congruent with each youths capability in confidence this will reduce the number of Indigenous youth engaging in the criminal justice system.
- Network, collaborate and build healthy working relationships with MCFD to reduce the number of Indigenous youth who are removed from their immediate or extended family and community. TAL support youth and families to self-advocate for the return of youth to their family or community if they have not been returned already.
- TAL provides guidance and encouragement to the youth to strengthen their family, community, and cultural connections.
The long term goals of TAL are to:
- To facilitate educational series about FASD with an Indigenous approach to community, organizations, schools, prenatal programs, probation servicers, and MCFD. (Goal accomplished August 10th 2018- present)
- Expand TAL team to include an Elder mentor, FPWs in other communities in the province and a Knowledge Transfer Exchange Worker. (Goal accomplished Sept. 13th 2018-present) TAL services are now provided out of Prince George and Surrey, B.C..
- Tal would like to find funding and access to land to build a sweat lodge to be able to invite youth engaged in TAL and their families to participate in ceremony. (Still in progress)
- Develop an Elder mentorship program, Elder will follow up with youth and families that were engaged in the assessment process, to see how they are doing and if they are in need of support for health and wellness, criminal justice, Jordan Principles or MCFD involvement. (Goal accomplished June 4th 2018) A current FPW transitioned into the Cultural Preservation Worker (CPW) to assist families in this capacity.
To learn more about how this project can assist you and/or your family, please contact Sean Russell, Program Manager, 604-467-7101 ext. 105 or 604-219-5181.
For information on how to develop a community partnership please call Darla Rasmussen, Director of Indigenous Care at 604-349-2578.