Ontario Strengthening Supports for Children and Youth Impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Published on September 11, 2020

Additional funding will help improve outcomes for families and children

September 9, 2020

Children, Community and Social Services

KITCHENER — The Ontario government is providing an additional $3 million annually to better support people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The funding will be used to raise awareness, better coordinate services and expand and enhance supports for children and families impacted by FASD.

Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services made the announcement at an event in Kitchener where he was joined by advocates to mark International FASD Awareness Day.

"This additional funding is part of our government's ongoing commitment to support children and youth with special needs," said Minister Smith. "We heard from advocates, families and caregivers looking for more help with the day-to-day challenges of supporting children with FASD. These initiatives will not only help to end the stigma of this disorder but raise awareness and empower families as they care for loved ones."

The $3 million investment will be used to increase resources, tools and strategies to support children impacted by FASD. The initiatives include:

  • Hiring an additional 26 FASD support workers through special needs coordinating agencies. FASD workers provide information, develop care plans and connect parents to resources, and support networks and diagnostic services.
  • New family capacity-building workshops where families can learn helpful and practical skills to support their children.
  • Service provider training to strengthen providers' understanding of FASD and promote more informed approaches to service delivery for children, youth and families impacted by FASD.
  • Ongoing support for family and caregiver support groups enabling families to connect and share information, along with guidance from peers and trained professionals.
  • Launching a public awareness campaign to educate people about FASD and the dangers of pre-natal alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

"The Ontario FASD Action Network has been joining voices from around the province to advocate with Minister Todd Smith and his team. We are very pleased with this announcement which is an important step for the FASD Community in Ontario. Creating strength-based services and increased awareness for families is critical for positive outcomes and is a basis from which children, youth, and adults with FASD can be supported."
— Ontario FASD Action Network Executive Team


Quick Facts

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has unique strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives.
  • It is estimated that at least one in 33 children are born with FASD in Canada.
  • When unsupported, young people with FASD can face high rates of mental health challenges, involvement in the youth justice system and substance use issues.
  • With this additional funding the government is committing $6.1 million in annual funding towards FASD programs and services for children and youth and their families. In addition, the government provides $4.4 million in annualized funding for the FASD Indigenous Child Nutrition Program and $1.22 million in FASD diagnostic services across the province.
  • The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services funds a range of programs and services for children and youth with special needs, including FASD.

Additional Resources