Ontario Expanding Diagnostic Services for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum DisorderPublished on March 10, 2021
Investment will improve outcomes for children and youth
TORONTO – The Ontario government is investing $2.8 million annually to expand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic services by funding 12 new FASD clinics for a total of 21 funded FASD diagnostic clinics across the province.
With this additional funding, the government is investing $10.1 million in annual funding towards FASD programs and services and diagnostic services for people impacted by FASD.
“Early diagnosis and access to support for young people impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can make a significant impact on their ability to learn and grow,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “Our government is committed to supporting families affected by FASD in ways that improve their day-to-day lives.”
For children and youth impacted by FASD, receiving the right diagnostic assessment helps to inform and improve access to the supports and services that meet their individual needs. Screening and diagnosis for FASD is often a multi-step process involving several health professionals working together. Early access to these assessments support early intervention, leading to better outcomes for people impacted by FASD.
“Our government has always been committed to improving access to care for our most vulnerable, and today’s funding continues to deliver on that commitment,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This funding will reduce wait times for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder assessment and diagnosis services and ensure families across Ontario get the right supports they need - when and where they need it.”
“As we reach important milestones in our Roadmap to Wellness, we will continue making the necessary investments to ensure Ontarians of all ages have access to safe and effective mental health and addictions supports that meet their unique needs,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This investment is just one more way we are filling urgent gaps in care and addressing the extensive wait times that have been preventing Ontarians from receiving the high-quality care they expect and deserve.”
“The Ontario FASD Action Network is very encouraged by this announcement. Providing FASD Diagnostics is a crucial step to creating supports within our healthcare, education, and developmental services for children, youth and adults. We are grateful to Minister Todd Smith and his team for their continued dialogue and support as we work together to create a system that is inclusive of all disabilities.“
– Ontario FASD Action Network Executive Team
Today’s announcement builds on investments made this past fall to raise awareness of FASD and the impacts of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, better coordinate services and expand and enhance supports for families impacted by FASD. In addition, the government is providing $4.4 million in annualized funding for the FASD Indigenous Child Nutrition Program.
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has unique strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives.
- It is estimated that at least one in 33 children are born with FASD in Canada.
- When unsupported, young people with FASD can face high rates of mental health challenges, involvement in the youth justice system and substance use issues.
- The Ontario government is providing more than $24 million to expand mental health and addictions services for children and youth as part of the government’s $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a modern, connected and integrated mental health and addictions system across the province.