Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) is pleased with the recent investment of $2.8M by Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to support the development of 12 new Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) clinics which will increase the province’s diagnostic capacity for FASD. An estimated 90 percent of people with FASD are currently undiagnosed due to a lack of diagnostic capabilities.2
FASD is a lifelong disorder with health impacts that include physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities. These can vary from mild to severe.1 Nine in 10 individuals with FASD also struggle with co-occurring mental health challenges.2 An additional investment of $10.1 million in annual funding towards FASD programs and services will go a long way to support those with FASD but access to services remains a challenge for some of the estimated 90 percent of children and youth with FASD with co-occurring mental health issues.
The child and youth mental health sector is pivotal in supporting better health outcomes for children and youth with FASD and their families. Many of CMHO’s child and youth mental health care providers are pleased with this step forward in diagnosing and caring for those with FASD and will collaborate with their partners to help create new diagnostic clinics.
CMHO is eager to work with government to continue to build capacity to care for kids with FASD and mental health issues. With further government investment, specialized training and implementation supports could be delivered to CMHO member clinicians and agencies to provide better mental health care for kids with FASD and their families.
1Rural FASD Network https://www.ruralfasd.ca/fasd-info
2 https://canfasd.ca/wp-content/uploads/publications/FASD-as-a-Unique-Disability-Issue-Paper-FINAL.pdf (p.4)