FASD Mentioned in “Bill C-10: The Truth About Consequences”

By: CCPA-MB & John Howard Society of Manitoba, INC.

This report was produced with the collaboration of Ogijiita Pimachiowin
Kinamatwin, The Community Education Development Association, The Canadian
CED Network, Maintain the Momentum and Make Poverty History Manitoba.

The Federal Government’s Omnibus Crime Bill C-10, if passed, will cost the
province of Manitoba an estimated $90 million a year. The vast majority of
these funds will be spent on locking more people up for longer, a strategy
that fails to create safer communities. Strategies that focus on prevention,
not punishment, succeed. Our plan focuses on investing that $90 million in
four key areas: housing, education, employment and mental health/addictions.

[Here is how this report would allocate INSTEAD a share of the $90
million that Manitoba will have to spend on punishment]

From page 20 of 31
“…Community Supports for People Living With Mental Disabilities: $1 Million
We would allocate $1 million to the Canadian Mental Health
Association to help it advocate for and support Manitobans living
with mental disabilities. When people struggling with mental
disabilities stay in the community, they are better able to cope and
live full lives. This strategy will also reduce the possibility that
they will end up in prison where their conditions will only
deteriorate and their suffering grow.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): $3 Million
Addictions do not only affect those who are addicted, but they also
have a lasting impact on their families, and children born to mothers
who consume alcohol while pregnant can be affected with Fetal Alcohol
Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
FASD is an umbrella term for a range of characteristics associated
with damage resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol through
maternal alcohol consumption. While the number of individuals with
FASD in Manitoba is not known for certain, we know that the numbers
are not insignificant. It is estimated that 1 per cent of children
born in Canada have some form of FASD; this statistic would indicate
that every year, approximately 130 children born in Manitoba are
touched by this syndrome. A 2005 study determined that 17 per cent
of children in foster care in Manitoba were diagnosed with or
suspected of having FASD. These same children are at extreme
disadvantage in the current child welfare system where in most cases
they ‘age out of care’ at the age of 18.
There is evidence to show that individuals with FASD are also at
greater risk of involvement in the criminal justice system as a
result of their disability. One large-scale study of 415 adolescents
and adults with FASD found that 60 per cent of the sample had been in
trouble with the law and 50 per cent had been confined43. In another
study, it was found that 23 per cent of youth remanded for a
psychiatric in-patient assessment had FASD. Research on gangs in
Saskatchewan showed a high number of Aboriginal gang members to
have FASD. Prevention of FASD is of primary importance. However
diagnosis followed with appropriate supports and education for those
who are affected with FASD can help them better manage negative
behaviours that are associated with this disorder and which put them
at greater risk of engaging in criminal activity.
Dr. Albert Chudley, a top FASD expert in Manitoba, has recommended
that all inmates be screened for FASD so that more appropriate
supports can be provided thereby reducing the risk of re-offending.
He has estimated that some 17 per cent of inmates have some level of
brain damage caused by alcohol exposure in the womb.
FASD is clearly a growing concern that has serious societal
implications. We would increase the amount the province reports that
it currently contributes toward FASD from $11.5 million to $14.5
million. These funds will be allocated to supports for individuals
with FASD who are aging out of care and support for community-based
initiatives working with these individuals. This increase is
desperately needed. We would also ensure that a portion of new
funding be allocated toward supporting adults living with FASD. The
current reality is that with the exception of one small and
over-extended program in Winnipeg, (Spectrum Connections), an adult
with FASD is not eligible for existing support services unless that
person has a dual diagnosis of a significant mental illness or below
normal IQ….”

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