By an Adopt4Life Community Member
The Fetal Alcohol Resource Program (FARP) was created in response to an identified need in the Ottawa region. Individuals with FASD and their caregivers told us it was difficult to find services in the community that know about FASD. They told us professionals they meet often do not know much about FASD. They told us it was tough finding meaningful things to do in the community that offered the supports they required. A partnership was developed with Citizen Advocacy Ottawa, CHEO, Kids Brain Health Network, Children’s Aid Society Ottawa, and a private donor. An Advisory Committee was formed with representation from the partner agencies, plus members from the education, justice, and First Nations communities, as well as parents and an individual with FASD.
FARP will celebrate its third anniversary on International FASD Awareness Day September 9, 2018. The Program has grown significantly stronger and has undergone rapid development and expansion over the past 3 years.
A Mommy Mocktail event was hosted to mark the first anniversary of FARP. The event was a huge success in terms of raising funds, attracting media attention, increasing FASD awareness, and sharing a supportive message of prevention. Twenty-four area restaurants agreed to promote and sell mocktails as a fundraiser from Sept 1-11th. Rogers Daytime and CTV promoted the event in advance. Delicious Mommy Mocktails were served the morning of September 9th in front of the CTV studios in the Byward Market and broadcast live throughout the CTV Morning show. This included a taping of Mayor Jim Watson reading an FASD declaration.
In the second year, the FARP team grew and increased services to include French FASD training and system navigation in Ottawa. FARP hosted a successful and well-received 1st Annual Eastern Ontario FASD Symposium in spring 2017 with keynote speaker Kim Barthel, occupational therapist. The 2nd Annual Symposium is scheduled for November 3, 2018 with keynote speaker Dr. Brenda Knight, psychologist. FARP partnered with agencies including Crime Prevention Ottawa, CODA, and Algonquin College’s Victimology Program to present a one-day event for Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2017.
Year three was a busy year for FARP, with many new initiatives. CHEO was identified as the area Coordinating Agency for the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services FASD Worker Program, one of the six initiatives of the province’s FASD Strategy. FARP has partnered with CHEO to provide bilingual FASD Workers for Ottawa; Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry; and Prescott Russell.
FARP illustrated our innovative model of community capacity-building and service navigation at the Child Bright Conference and 8th International Research Conference on Adolescents and Adults with FASD. Inspired by the success of FARP, three regions in western Canada replicated a similar model of service delivery to support their local neurodevelopmental disability communities. FARP has been invited to collaborate with the teams from British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon.
FARP was invited to present to the Senate of Canada’s Human Rights Committee regarding individuals with FASD in our prison system. FARP also participated in FASD Awareness Day in the provincial legislature on April 11, 2018; networking with 75 FASD stakeholders from across the province and sharing information about FARP with MPP’s.
FARP is regarded as a leader in providing research-based FASD training, building community capacity, and meeting the needs of individuals and their families to navigate local services. With several initiatives already underway for 2018–2019, FARP is well positioned for another successful year ahead.