Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

September 9, 2010

Province Announces Expanded Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategy on International FASD Awareness Day

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Rondeau Welcomes FASD Awareness Walkers From Norway House

A new intervention program designed to help prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies was announced today by Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors Minister Jim Rondeau as he welcomed the Norway House FASD awareness walkers.
“We welcome and congratulate the Norway House walkers as today they complete their journey to focus attention on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” said Rondeau.  “This is also International FASD Awareness Day, and we acknowledge the many caregivers who have dedicated their lives to support individuals of all ages who have FASD, many of whom need lifelong support and direction to successfully navigate through life.”
The walkers left Norway House on Aug. 31 and were joined by many others along the route to Winnipeg. Some of the other communities represented included Cross Lake, Thompson, Nelson House, Grand Rapids, The Pas, Flin Flon, the Swampy Cree Tribal Council area, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg.
Rondeau also announced an investment of $295,000 for pilot Project CHOICES intervention programs through Klinic Community Health Centre and the Nor’West Co-op Community Health Centre. They will run full-time Project CHOICES programs with both sites opening their doors for referrals on Sept. 27. 
“We are pleased to launch Project CHOICES, a program designed to help prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies,” said the minister.  “Through the use of motivational interviewing strategies, the Project CHOICES program supports women who want to change behaviours around alcohol use and/or contraception use. Project CHOICES will be added to the many existing community supports such as the FASD Centre and FASD Network, Spectrum Connections, InSight Mentoring, the Youth Justice Program and S.O.S. Manitoba.”
The minister noted Project CHOICES is the newest element in the provincial FASD strategy and that a new Manitoba FASD strategy document is now available. It can be found at
Project CHOICES is intended for women, aged 16 and up, who are not yet pregnant and are considered at high risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy due to risky drinking behaviours and ineffective or inconsistent contraception use.
To further expand community support for FASD, the minister also announced a one‑time provincial grant from the Changes for Children Initiative, an initiative of the four child and family service authorities and Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs. The grant will support the development of up to six new FASD coalitions in Manitoba.  Coalitions represent a variety of service sectors including health, education, child and family service, justice and addictions care providers who work on issues related to FASD. There are currently 12 to 14 active coalitions across the province.
Manitoba’s FASD strategy spans nine provincial government departments and builds on work done in Manitoba over many years, the minister said.  Manitoba currently invests more than $10.5 million annually in FASD community-based programs.
The minister also announced a provincial grant of $54,000 to fund FASD research at the University of Manitoba has been extended.  The grant will help ensure the work of Dr. Ana Hanlon-Dearman, a developmental pediatrician at the Clinic for Alcohol and Drug Exposed Children, continues.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder refers to the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol while pregnant. The effects can include lifelong physical, mental, cognitive and behavioural disabilities.
Recent highlights of Manitoba’s FASD strategy include:
·         hiring FASD specialists within each of the four child and family services (CFS) authorities to offer support and training to all the CFS agencies across the province;
·         expanding the assessment capacity of the Manitoba FASD Centre to include adolescents while leading the development of a provincewide FASD assessment network;
·         introducing the Stepping Out on Saturdays initiative to provide respite services to families dealing with FASD one Saturday a month in Brandon, Thompson, Little Grand Rapids and Winnipeg; and
·         expanding the Insight Mentoring Program, a three-year prevention, support and advocacy program for pregnant women and new mothers with substance-abuse problems, to Dauphin, Portage la Prairie and Flin Flon.
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