Highlight on Canadian FASD Service Providers: Northwest Territories- 4Y Program

The 4Y Program is a new program for youth living in Yellowknife. It is  a project of the Foster Family Coalition of the Northwest Territories, however it is not exclusive to youth in foster care.

This program was created based on the obvious need of direct support for youth with FASD, especially in the area of transition planning and implementing proper supports during this time. The goal is to decrease and prevent adverse outcomes that youth with FASD encounter, such as mental health issues, addiction, self-harm and involvement with the justice system.

Why we need this program
FASD is often associated with various challenges in the areas of cognition, learning, social skills and emotional skills, sometimes leading to mental health issues and risk-taking behaviours, such as using substances and crime. Due to the history of colonialism and the lack of essential supports for individuals with FASD in Yellowknife, high rates of drug use and poverty are in existence for these individuals as they transition into their adulthood.

Individuals with FASD are especially vulnerable to a number of adverse outcomes, and if youth are unable to access counselling and support, this leaves them at further risk of developing mental health issues, unemployment, homelessness and addiction.

How does the program work?
The 4Y Program is available to youth with FASD in Yellowknife, NWT, until age 29. The objective is to help strengthen resiliency and support a sense of belonging and connectedness for participants. To ensure the participants are getting the most out of the program, family, friends, and anyone else in their support networks will be a part of the program through regular communication.

There are four main areas of focus:

  • Building a community where youth feel more connected
  • Addressing barriers to mental health, and improving emotional regulation
  • Improving life skills that will support independent/semi-independent living
  • Becoming semi-/self-sufficient individuals that can navigate the education, employment, justice and medical systems

The 4Y Program staff will work with youth one-on-one, as well as in groups, to encourage a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, healthy eating and social engagement. Skill development will focus on cooking, meditation, methods of emotional regulation and budgeting. Other areas include arts, music and culture.

Click here to find out more about the 4Y program!

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