Tag Archives: edmonton

CBC: More supports needed for people with FASD, say advocates

Maxim Baril-Blouin, who had FASD, died of a suspected drug overdose at the Edmonton Remand Centre.(Sylvie Salomon)


People diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) need lifelong supports, but the disorder is often misunderstood, say advocates. 

The recent overdose death of Maxim Baril-Blouin, who had FASD, at the Edmonton Remand Centre has sparked conversations about the needs of people living with the disability. 

Baril-Blouin’s mother was advocating for better supports for her son at the time of his death.

“There is always more demand than what we have to offer, ” said Lisa Rogozinsky, who coordinates the Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network (EFAN).

People with FASD have different needs depending on where they fall on the spectrum, she said. 

“Some of the common areas of impairment that we see are in cognitive ability,” said Rogozinsky. “Attention span, memory, language, their reasoning, judgment, and decision making.”  

About 500 babies a year are born with FASD in Alberta, and about 46,000 Albertans are living with the disorder, according to the provincial government. 

Lifelong supports needed

Local agencies that contribute to EFAN work together to find appropriate services for their clients.

“We basically try to meet a fair amount of the issues that can occur across a lifespan,” said Denise Plesuk, program manager at Catholic Social Services in Edmonton.

The agency offers programs to support people with FASD and their families.

“Some of our programs do have waiting lists, and that’s partly why we’ve expanded into doing more group work,” said Plesuk.

People with FASD need lifelong one-on-one supports, said Rogozinsky, which includes supportive housing.

“We need to provide a sense of belonging to this population that has often fallen through every crack of every system,” she said. 

A tragic case

Maxim Baril-Blouin, who was diagnosed with FASD at a young age, died July 13th at the Edmonton Remand Centre of an apparent fentanyl overdose. 

The 26-year-old man from Whitehorse was court-ordered to live in a supervised environment, but there were no supports for him in the Yukon, said his mother Sylvie Salomon. 

Baril-Blouin had been under the care of a private Stony Plain agency, I Have A Chance Support Services (IHAC) since January. 

He was charged with uttering threats against an employee of the agency on June 19th. 

“They broke all our trust. They failed Maxim big, big time,” Salomon told CBC News. 

Sylvie Salomon says her adopted son Maxim Baril-Blouin suffered from FASD, and needed constant supervision. (Sylvie Salomon)


She questions the training and practices of the IHAC employees who were looking after him.

“You take someone in, you shouldn’t put them in jail,” said Salomon. “They knew the challenge, they advertise being able to take care of someone like my son.”

IHAC said they couldn’t comment on Baril-Blouin’s case for privacy reasons.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Baril-Blouin,” wrote executive director Lory Morgan in an emailed statement. “Due to client and employee confidentiality requirements we are unable to further comment.”

FASD and the justice system

People with FASD frequently get tangled up in the criminal justice system, both as perpetrators and victims of crime, said Rogozinsky.

They are particularly vulnerable because their disability is not visible, she added. 

“The justice system is just assuming that this is an individual that is functioning at a completely age appropriate level, which may not always be the case.”

People with FASD also tend to be easily manipulated, said Plesuk.

“Quite often, people with FASD want to please other people and they don’t always understand consequences,” explained Plesuk. “They will often get tangled up with people who will use them to commit crimes.”

They also struggle with understanding what other people are saying, she said.

“They need time to process the information. They need instructions that are very short and concrete, one or two things at a time.”

Supporting expecting mothers

Shaming and blaming expecting mothers who consume alcohol is counterproductive, said Rogozinsky.

“FASD is not a women’s issue, it’s a community issue,” she said. “Let’s make sure we are addressing the reasons behind a woman’s alcohol consumption in pregnancy.”

Complete abstinence from alcohol is the safest route, said Rogozinsky, as it is not known what constitutes a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. 

People also need to recognize how their own behaviour influences expecting mothers, said Plesuk.

“If we know someone who is pregnant, are we offering them wine? Are we offering them a drink or are we offering them some non-alcoholic choices?” she said. “We often forget about that piece.” 


Josee St-Onge


Josee St-Onge is a journalist with CBC Edmonton. She has also reported in French for Radio-Canada in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Reach her at josee.st-onge@cbc.ca

Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/more-supports-needed-for-people-with-fasd-say-advocates-1.4756156

Supports and Services: Bissell Centre, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum of Services (FASS)


Through community development, advocacy and intensive supports, Bissell Centre’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum of Services (FASS) program enhances the community’s capacity for prevention and awareness through education and supports for the well-being of individuals, families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and their caregivers.

The supports and services offered through the FASS program include: 


Parent-Child Advocacy Program (PCAP)  Partner

The PCAP Program offers mentorship to women who are at high risk of giving birth to a child with FASD. This includes women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, who are susceptible to or have used drugs and/or alcohol during the pregnancy.   PCAP advocates work with women for three years.

The PCAP Partner program provides support for those who have a major role in the PCAP Participant’s life. This is a resource that can be utilized by those individuals who are supporting a mother enrolled in the PCAP or FASD Adult program.  The program is not limited to the partner or biological parent and can include a family member or friend in need of resources to support the mother.

Adult Advocacy

Adult Advocacy provides one-on-one long-term (up to three years) mentorship to adult men and women who are affected by FASD. This is an outreach program that supports participants in determining their goals and helps them find success with their advocate. FASD is a spectrum that affects each individual in different ways and supports are implemented to accommodate the uniqueness of each person.

FASD System Navigator

The FASD System Navigator provides short-term support to adults with or suspected to have FASD. Supports include immediate crisis assistance, referrals to community resources and programs, and access to long-term supports.

For more information on the supports and services provided by the FASS program please contact:

FASD System Navigator
Catherine Molyneux
780.423.2285 ext. 157
or 780-966-0041
E-mail: cmolyneux@bissellcentre.org

FASD MedicAlert Bracelets

We now offer MedicAlert FASD bracelets here at Bissell. This pilot program aims to achieve more equitable treatment for persons living with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder by raising awareness among emergency first responders on how to approach these individuals as identified through their MedicAlert ID.

Community Education

Community Educators present to small and large groups on the dynamics of FASD. Each presentation is tailored to the business, school or organization’s needs.  Presentations range from “FASD: the Basics”, to specific strategies, and consultations that are tailored to the group or individual.  All presentations are free of charge.

FASD Frontline Worker Meetings

An opportunity for frontline workers to meet with each other and discuss issues they face in their work.  Through collaboration, we can find new and different ways to support our clients with FASD. There is an opportunity to case conference, learn about resources through presenters and network with community resources for FASD supports.

For more information on location and dates for FASD Frontline Worker Meetings or to book a presentation please contact:

Lisa Rogozinsky
FASS Community Educator
E-mail: lrogozinsky@bissellcentre.org

Elves’ FASD Respite Program: Now Accepting Applications!

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 10.53.55 AM

Elves FASD Respite Program is now accepting referrals for the 2018/2019 program year (September 2018 start).

For more information please email inquiries@elves-society.com


Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton: Registration Open for ‘Stoplifting for Youth Program’

Stoplifting for Youth May 2018

Registration is now open for the next cycle of our Stoplifting for Youth program. The free, 5 week program is open to teen girls ages 12-17 who shoplift. Please note that a shoplifting charge is not a prerequisite of registration, simply a history of shoplifting. The program runs Mondays from 4:30-6:30 beginning May 7th. Pre-registration is required.

This program is an adaptation of our successful adult Stoplifting program and it will work to address the underlying issues that lead to shoplifting while helping youth find new and healthy coping strategies. There will be a focus on self-esteem building and peer pressure resilience throughout the program, while also discussing the impacts of shoplifting and motivation to change. Participants that complete the program will receive a certificate and support letters can be written if required.

Click to download program brochure Stoplifting for Youth May 2018

Reminder: 2015 EFAN AGM – September 01, 2015


EFAN General Meeting is scheduled for

September 01, 2015

dont forget to RSVP

to Qadra.Abukar@cssalberta.ca

Wanted: Participants for City of Edmonton Discussion Group – August 5, 2015


Public Transit Discussion Group

The City of Edmonton is holding a group discussion with public transit users who are on low-income.

Details of this discussion group is as follows:

Who:  City of Edmonton

What: Discussion group to provide input for a pilot project on low-income bus passes

  • Questions for the discussion group:
    • would people prefer a $35 monthly pass or bus ticket at a $1 per ticket?
    • Where would be the most convenient place to purchase the monthly pass or tickets?

Where:  DECSA

When:  August 5, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Why:  To have one’s say regarding the important issue of affordable transportation PLUS! Gift care for participants

Please call DECSA for more information

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