ADVOCACY

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Children have a right to be free from substance use stigma and its harms.

In today's society, disclosing a parent's substance use increases a child's risk of being involved in the child welfare system, their parents being criminalized, and children being left to navigate the stress and stigma of a parent's substance use alone. We are changing thisThrough our advocacy and community capacity building, we are ensuring our leaders know this issue exists and that supports are made available. 
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We are advocating for systemic changes at the policy and community level that will support the intergenerational healing of families in Canada who have been impacted by a parent's unhealed trauma, subsequent substance use, and stigma which is known to harm both parents and their children.

Our Why:

1 in 5 Canadian youth grow up with a parent who has a substance use disorder, and impacted youth are at double to triple the risk for mental illness, substance use disorder, and suicide. 

We believe that:

Stigma harms parents who have unaddressed trauma and substance use disorders, as well as their children. 

Our Advocacy asks:


1. Acknoweldgement: Substance use stigma harms youth
Children exposed to the stress and stigma of a parent's substance use are at up to triple the risk for mental illness, substance use disorder, and suicide then the general population. yet, minimal supports exist, and stigma is a barrier to both parents and children receiving mental health supports.

2. Supports:
Proactivelty available supports for impacted youth within current systems of care
Stigma is a barrier both for youth to feel safe to seek out support and for supports even being available. As such, we are asking for culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and healing centred mental health supports to be available within current systems of care, particularly the healthcare and education system.

3. A continuum of care for parents with a substance use disorder
We are advocating for a continuum of care of health promoting and healing support for parents, regardless of their substance use, that would enable trauma healing,  healthier substance use, and nurturing parenting practices. 


 

TO ADVANCE OUR ADVOCACY efforts, OUR UP TO DATE mEETINGS INCLUDE:

2021:

  • the honourable Mike Ellis, Alberta's Minister of Addiction and Mental Health

  • Children First Canada 

  • Unicef Canada

2022:

Our advocacy work centres around transforming current systems of care known to interact with families, including the healthcare, criminal justice,  child welfare, and the education system, to support a family's healing. We believe in an equity-based model, that offers support to restore a family's well-being.  

Healthcare:

 

  • A continuum of care that is proactively provided within the healthcare system that includes education on stress, substance use disorders, and mental health supports beyond treatment services.


Criminal justice:

  • Canada currently criminalizes individuals who have unaddressed trauma and who use substances. As such, we believe in transformative and restorative approaches to justice. “Transformative Justice (TJ) is a political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence." (source: Alberta Restorative Justice Association). 

 

  • Decriminalize drug possession and use (and release current individuals within the prison system who have been criminalized because of drug possession or use).

 

  • A safe supply of drugs to respond to the current opioid crisis.


Child welfare system:

  • Practices that ensure children are not removed from their homes because of substance use.

 

  • Supports for families exposed to parental substance use disorder

 

  • Ongoing mental health supports for children and parents (regardless of substance use) in homes where children have been removed from the home at any time.

 

  • Kinship care


Education system: 

  • Healing centred and culturally responsive supports within the school system