A FASD GROUP FOR TIRED CAREGIVERS! Get excited!
We are very excited to announce our first formal FASD caregivers group, right here in St. Thomas, Ontario.
The FASD Caregivers Group is a 6 week, highly structured and supportive group, for caregivers. Birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, kin, grandparents, neighbours, teachers, and other humans….if you’re caring for a child with suspected or diagnosed FASD and you’re struggling to find solutions that work, you’re in the right place!
The group will be small so that we can provide maximum education and support while getting to know each other. It will run Tuesday mornings from 10 AM until 12 PM at our offices at 15 St. Catharine Street, St. Thomas (Lower Level).
We know it’s next to impossible to find services or even answers when trying to understand and help children with FASD. So we wanted to make this as simple as possible. No need for a referral. No hoops to jump through. No complex application forms. Heck, your little one (or big one) doesn’t even need a formal diagnosis. Just a reasonable suspicion that he or she may have been exposed to alcohol in utero. We’ll take your word for it. Because we want to help, not give you more to do.
Do I have to have legal guardianship/custody of my child to attend?
Nope. You can be a foster parent, step mother, concerned aunt, teacher, or a regular parent type.
Does my child need to have a formal diagnosis?
Again, nope. We want to make strategies and resources available for all caregivers and children. A diagnosis doesn’t change how we work with kids with symptoms.
Can I bring my child to the group?
As much as we’d love to meet your sweetie, this is adult only time. Which means you’ll get to finish your coffee and probably remain sitting for more than .07 seconds.
What is the cost?
The cost for the entire six weeks is $200 per caregiver including all materials shared in class/group. Couples attending together are $375 because we really encourage both parents to attend if at all possible.
I’m uncomfortable in groups. Do I have to talk about my feelings or share stories?
Heck, no. You do you. While there is a supportive component to the group and we encourage connections both at the group and afterwards, the focus of the group is on education, resources, and tools. There will be lots of time to ask questions, or seek support for specific examples of behaviours, but our focus for the six weeks is on education. And there’s a lot to teach! We’re not going to be doing group activities or uncomfortable “get to know you” activities. #noworriesintroverts
Who’s running this group? I don’t need to hear another professional telling me that I’m the problem or making me feel like crap about my parenting. Or some social worker that doesn’t even have kids.
Jenna Hill is a foster parent, clinician, and the foster/grandparent to two little boys with FASD. She worked in child welfare for 18 years before burning all of her bridges and starting her own practice. She also teaches college courses in counselling techniques and law. Recognizing that there is very limited help for families raising children with FASD in Southern Ontario, she developed her own practice and protocol to assist other families to manage FASD symptoms differently. She is not well loved, by either the child welfare system or the school system, because’s mouthy as heck and has fought hard for her grandsons and other children to be supported in ways that have not been recognized by standard systems and practices in Ontario. So you’re definitely not going to be shamed or blamed or told you’re the problem. The problem is alcohol exposure in utero that creates a lifelong disability for your child. You’re going to be given solid information about FASD, symptoms and behaviours, and ideas to help your family run smoother. And probably coffee and a shoulder to cry on. Because this is really freaking hard!
Where is the group located? Do I have to live in St. Thomas to attend?
This group will be held at our St. Thomas office in the lower level of 15 St. Catherine St. The office is, unfortunately, not wheel chair friendly and there are approximately 7 stairs down to the space. There is paid parking next door should the free parking lot be filled.
You can live pretty much anywhere you want and still attend our group. There is no residency restriction.
Are there any additional costs?
Nope. No books to buy. No fancy tools or equipment. We’ll even provide the coffee. (Word of warning, Jenna makes really bad coffee. Volunteers to make coffee are always welcome!) You’ll be provided with a folder for handouts because we know it’s hard to stay organized when you’re juggling all the things. We even supply pens and papers.
How do I register and pay?
Give us a call and we’ll get you signed up. You can pay by email transfer or Paypal (where you can use a credit card, if you’d prefer). The fee must be paid in full prior to the group beginning. Receipts are provided along with a certificate of completion at the end of the six weeks.
If you don’t know much about PayPal, here’s a quick link to explain how it works.
If you don’t know how email transfer works, here’s a link to explain how it works.
Where’s the fine print?
Glad you asked. There isn’t any. We do reserve the right to cancel the group if there are not enough participants. We need a maximum of 10 people to run the group and we cap it at 16 participants. Your payment will be refunded in full, should we need to cancel and we can add you to the wait list for the next session, if you’d like.
If you register and decide you can’t attend, you will be refunded the full amount up to two weeks prior to the group starting. There are no refunds for cancellations after March 4, 2019.