This is page numbers 1921 to 1954 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was honourable.

Topics

GNWT Zero-Based Review
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. The honourable Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, Mr. Robert McLeod.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to welcome my wife, Judy, and my son Ryan to the Assembly.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to recognize and acknowledge the two pages we’ve had fromP.W. Kaeser High School in Fort Smith: Mr. Carson Roach and Adam Gruner, chaperoned by Judy Vendorver.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

[Statement delivered in aboriginal language and then in English]. Mr. Speaker, I would just like to recognize two pages who are working here: Alicia Mata and Patricia Wederwen from Gametì. I would just like to recognize their fine work here in the Legislative Assembly. Mahsi.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Mr. Speaker, today I

would also like to recognize two hardworking young ladies from Katlodeeche First Nation. I was very proud to have two students here from my riding joining us this week, working as pages. I would like to recognize Miss Dawn Nessell and Miss Brandy Buggins and also their chaperone, who is Brandy’s mother, Betty Buggins. Both these students are from the Chief Sunrise school and are avid readers who also enjoy sports and can often be found volunteering in their community. They both have plans to enter the field of education. I also wanted to thank the Legislative Assembly staff for their support and for the help they’ve provided this week, and I wish these two young ladies the best of luck and safe travels home.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Welcome, everyone, in the gallery today. I hope you’re enjoying the proceedings. Item 6, acknowledgements. Item 7, oral questions. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen,

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

October 24th, 2008

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my Member’s statement today I talked about the issue of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the Northwest Territories. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I daresay we are still among the jurisdictions that are the most affected by this.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to create a scenario. In a community a young woman comes into a clinic or a nursing station and finds out that she is pregnant. The workers in that community are concerned about social pressures and lifestyle issues that may

not result in a healthy child being born as a result of that pregnancy. The young expectant mother does not want to pursue the option of an abortion. What do we have in our network of health and social services that would allow that care provider or that community health worker or that nurse practitioner to refer that young person to a safe environment for the duration of that pregnancy if that was their choice?

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I listened to the Member’s statement with a great deal of interest. It’s something I would like to look further into. I don’t believe at the moment that we have a system, legislative framework, policy or program that would intervene in that way with the pregnant mother

I do appreciate what the Member is saying, which is to support a pregnant woman whom we know to be at risk and see what we can do to assist. I’d be interested in looking further into that.

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

I consider this to be important. The outcomes we have seen in the people we care for, who are children in our education system…. Many end up in our justice system and on long term support from this government as a result of FASD. It’s far more costly than having the opportunity to refer those who wish to a healthy home environment.

When I was Minister of Health and Social Services, I had a chance to travel to Winnipeg, where they had a network of homes where people said: yes, we will receive young women into our homes; we will care for them; we will nurture them during this time of pregnancy.

Would the Minister suggest that’s a role this government could play, or would it take a non-government organization to step up? Who could organize such a network of homes, of families who would be willing to participate in this way on a foster family type model?

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

I think the Member is aware of the work this government does and that the western provinces, Nunavut and Yukon do to address FASD issues. I have to admit this is the first time I’ve heard it. I was not aware that this was being practised in Winnipeg. Perhaps there are other jurisdictions that are doing something like this. I’d be very interested in seeing what the program entails, how it works and whether or not we could look into implementing something like that here. It sounds like something that would require a great deal of work to explore, but I’m certainly willing to give the commitment to the Member that I’d be interested in exploring that further.

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

The age of the young people we may be talking about may fall in that gap. I think foster care funding is only available to children up to the age of 16. I believe that income support may be available. That’s for people who want to live independently, I believe.

Would there be funding available for a room and board type situation, a home boarding situation for a young person under the current programs that exist? Would there be funding available under room and board situations? It doesn’t fit the foster care age group, and it may not fit the income support model either.

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

There will be no program or money that would be available to do something like that at this time. If we as the government or the Legislature decide that this is something we want to undertake, then it would have to be introduced as a new initiative with new funding. Unless a pregnant mother falls into some other programs under Income Security or something else for health reasons, we do not have such foster family programming for pregnant women at risk. I think it’s something we could look into and explore further.

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Final supplementary, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Question 34-16(3) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Prevention Options
Oral Questions

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

We’re very fortunate to have non-government organizations, NGOs, here in the Northwest Territories and here in Yellowknife that are very concerned about the fortunes of women and children

I would like to ask the Minister if she could, through some format, initiate a dialogue with some of these organizations that may have firsthand knowledge of these types of situations and come back with more information to gauge if there is interest and a need in the community for this type of service.