Submitted by Deborah Rutman
Deborah Rutman is a Principal and Co-Founder of Nota Bene Consulting Group and adjunct faculty with the University of Victoria School of Social Work. Deb has extensive experience conducting community-based research and program evaluation related to FASD, and in knowledge exchange related to FASD-informed approaches to service delivery. In addition to co-leading the Co-Creating Evidence project, recent research and evaluation projects include: creating Evaluation ‘Maps’ for FASD prevention and support programs; promising approaches in working with women with FASD and substance use issues; and program evaluations of HerWay Home, the BC Key Worker Program, the Youth Outreach Program, and the West Coast Alternate program. Deborah has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Toronto and is a licensed psychologist in BC.
Researchers associated with the Prevention Network Action Team (pNAT) of the Canada FASD Research Network recently published an article based on the ‘Co-Creating Evidence’ project. This project is a multi-year (2017–2020) national evaluation of eight Canadian ‘Level 3 prevention’ holistic programs serving women at high risk of having an infant with prenatal alcohol exposure; the project is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s FASD National Strategic Projects Fund. The article is part of a Special Issue on FASD, co-edited by Drs Svetlana Popova and Larry Burd, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
The Co-Creating Evidence evaluation study utilizes a mixed-methods design involving semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and client intake/ outcome “snapshot” data. This IJERPH article is primarily based on qualitative interviews with women/program participants at all eight program sites. The article focuses on describing: the programs’ range of services and activities; women’s complex issues and circumstances prior to engaging with their program including substance use, violence, child welfare involvement, and inadequate housing; and women’s experience with their program. Key themes of what clients liked best about their program were: staff and their non-judgmental approach; peer support and sense of community; and having multiple services in one location, including help with mandated child protection.