A study of the needs of alternative caregivers who provide care for adolescents and young adults affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol
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Fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects have become a great concern over the past two decades here in Manitoba. Many of the children affected by this disability are being taken from their biological homes and placed in foster and adoptive care. Women continue to be the main care providers for these children through their childhood and on into their adolescent and adult years. This thesis is a qualitative analysis of the role of women as care providers to persons affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Sixteen women were interviewed in an attempt to understand their experiences of raising and caring from fetal alcohol effected adolescents and young adults. The thesis explores the caregivers struggle to understand the disability, learn new parenting strategies and gain support from service providers. A phenomenological approach was taken to analyze the interviews. The women were found to be struggling with the huge task of caring for this population group and with the lack of services available to provide ongoing support for FAS/FAE individuals as they reach adulthood. It is apparent that society has not found a way to support this population group. These women continue to nurture and sacrifice their personal development, career prospects, and mental and physical health to care for this population group well into adult years. Society continues to exploit these women. We as a society need to find ways to better support persons who take on the task of caring for individuals with FAS/FAE. Community based approaches to looking after persons affected by FAS/FAE are preferred over those that continue to exploit women.