Youth transitioning out of care and adults with FASD who are parenting are faced with enormous challenges, as are those working to support them. Working collaboratively to build a support network increases the likelihood of success and the promotion of safety.
How it Works
The person with FASD, with the help of their social worker, family, alternative caregiver, or friends, chooses who to invite to be part of their support network. People invited to join the support network may be family, friends, neighbours, church friends, connections made through sports or community activities, and community-based support program staff (when available). The group comes together intentionally as often as needed to celebrate successes, and assist in managing day to day living tasks. The network will grow and change over time as members come and go.
Members of the support network may assist in any part of life. It is up to the person asking for help and the members of the network to decide what is needed and who will provide it. Here are some examples of where other networks have collaborated with people with FASD:
- Developing goals and plans for school, employment, or volunteer work
- Getting to school, work (paid or unpaid), grocery store, etc.
- Scheduling and attending appointments
- Finding affordable, safe housing
- Finding good roommates
- Cleaning and/or organizing at home
- Developing structure to each day and routines for daily chores and activities
- Explaining choices, predicting outcomes, and making decisions
- Accomplishing tasks
- Budgeting, banking, paying bills, handling money, shopping, and paying income tax
- Deciding when medical attention is needed
- Caring for children
- Getting to church or other religious ceremonies
- Hanging out, going for coffee, or other leisure activities
- Finding new people who are safe, committed, and available to join the network
How is a Network Created?
- The person with FASD or someone they trust invites potential members to an informal meeting to discuss the concept of a network.
- If the person with FASD is in agreement, a planning session is organized during which time each person involved in the network makes a commitment to provide specific support over a specific length of time.
- The network usually meets once a month (or more often if needed) to “check in” about how everyone is doing, celebrate successes, and focus on solutions for any issues that have come up. Sometimes network members rotate particular tasks that are more intense or time consuming so nobody gets burnt out.
- Success of a support network depends on the person being supported agreeing to receive support. The person with FASD has the final say about everything and may not always accept support or advice. This may be difficult for network members to accept — the experience is a learning one for everyone.