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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. 

Strling Report
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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. 




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

  • Children First Canada 

  • Unicef Canada


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.  



  • 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


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