Province Has no Strategy for Dealing With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Belly

Operating on a shoestring, the region’s only comprehensive team to diagnose kids with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) runs out of money at the end of March.

More than 190 children — from Windsor to Owen Sound to Brantford — are looking to be assessed through the London Region FASD Assessment Clinic.

But the team has funding for just 12 assessments a year, and that cash runs out within weeks.

“A great deal of my time is spent on the phone saying, ‘I’m sorry but we’re not able to help you,’ ” said program co-ordinator Angela Geddes.

There is, she said, “a huge gap in the area of diagnosis.”

Where British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all have provincial strategies for preventing, diagnosing and treating the disorder, there’s no similar strategy for Ontario or for provinces to the east.

Instead, services in Ontario, where they services exist at all, are funded through various ministries.

“We’re really hurting in this province to meet the need,” Geddes said.

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