Each year, the Central Alberta FASD Network recognizes a member of the community for their efforts to support and strengthen the FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) community. The FASD Network board, our employees and our clients nominate a person or organization we feel has made a significant impact on the FASD community. Throughout the year the Network receives nominations from the community, and employees and board members of the Network. The Champion Nominees are researched, and a committee comprised of board members, community stakeholders, and Network employees meet to critically reflect on the contributions each nominee has made. Ultimately, the Champion Award is given to the individual or organization who made the most significant impact at a community level.
This year’s recipient was nominated by a number of our community partners and clients, and were unanimously chosen as the winner. Congratulations to the 2021 FASD Champion Award the Red Deer RCMP’s Community Policing Unit.
The team in Community Policing has been integral in the success of the FASD Diversion Program thanks to their unique approach. They work closely with the Central Alberta FASD Network’s Youth Restorative Practices Intervention Program to divert youth who are involved in the Criminal Justice System, as well as those have not yet been charged with a crime, but on the RCMP’s radar. The Red Deer RCMP connects these individuals with our network, where we assess, diagnose and provide support to youth with FASD.
Since its launch in 2020, this intensive and preventative program has successfully reduced the negative impact the justice system has on the individual, as well as reduces the youth’s criminal activities in our community. By connecting these youth with the FASD Network, we are able to provide outreach services, supports and mentorship for not only the individuals, but their partners and caregivers. We work to address their underlying risk factors, creating better long-term outcomes for individuals impacted by FASD and their family.
“We are very thankful to be recognized for this award,” says Cst. Francois Nadeau with Red Deer RCMP’s Community Policing unit. “We recognize that FASD is the single biggest risk factor for youth crime and recidivism in Red Deer. That’s why partnering with the FASD Network is so effective at diverting young offenders away from the criminal justice system. By supporting them with the skills and tools available in Red Deer, these youth are better enabled to build healthy, productive habits and much less likely to be involved with drugs, gangs and crime.”
There is a growing awareness amongst criminal justice institutions to just how great a proportion of offenders suffer from the effects of FASD. In fact, of the 47 individuals the Red Deer RCMP connected the FASD Network to this past year, only 1 individual assessed was not confirmed to be affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals with FASD will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living, and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges.”
Congratulations once again to the Red Deer RCMP’s Community Policing unit! We look forward to continuing the great work of the Youth Restorative Justice program.
To learn more see what programs and services the Network provides.