Leona Fountain has been very busy since she graduated from the BACYC. She has developed many programs to support parents and her passion is clear, to educate women about the effects of FAS. We applaud Leona for achieving so much to make this world a better place for parents and youth.
Within months of graduating, in December 2004, with a BA in Child and Youth Care, I secured a full time position at Fraser Valley Child Development Centre in Abbotsford. FVCDC is a non-profit, family centred organization which supports children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and those who are at risk.
In my initial position, as Community Education Consultant at (FVCDC) Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, I spearheaded a new parenting course (Parenting Wisely), developed a social skills group for children with AD/HD (Kids Connecting), facilitated the monthly AD/HD Parent Support Group, and consulted over the telephone with parents about their child’s challenging behaviours. In addition to this work I recruited, screened, trained, and partnered volunteers to support children with developmental disabilities so they could successful participate in typical community activities.
My current position of Key Worker at FVCDC, is working alongside parents and caregivers who have children/teens with either Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or Complex Developmental Behavioural Conditions. I offer parents: supportive advice around difficult behaviours, education about their child/teen’s invisible disability, assisted with advocacy within systems, information about appropriate community resources, access to educational resources, and information about the latest research in FASD/CDBC. I currently sit on the FASD Prevention Committee in Abbotsford.
The theoretical knowledge and best practice, gained from my education, directly applies to my work with families and children/teens. Learning competencies around building trusting professional relationships with clients, effective communication and interviewing skills, facilitating sessions with families and groups, and individuals, and research were essential to becoming an effective Child and Youth Care practitioner. When I began I felt well equipped with the basic tools I needed to fulfill my position successfully.
Lack of funding is a definite barrier to children receiving much needed services. Once a child enters the school system all early intervention services, such as Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language therapy, and Physiotherapy stop even though the interventions are vital for the child’s success in life. Ministry of Education budget restraints prohibit schools from offering many much needed supports for the child to succeed in the classroom. The problem is many families cannot afford to pay privately for these services so the child simply doesn’t receive them.
I am passionate about educating all women, regardless of ethnicity, age, or social economic background, about the detriments of drinking alcohol while pregnant.
Upon graduation I had a solid understanding of the field of Child and Youth Care along with the practical tools and techniques to use with families immediately. I felt well equipped and confident. The competencies in therapeutic interventions, organizational systems, professional relationship building, case management skills that I gained from my course work in Child and Youth Care at UFV are very relevant and applicable to the position to which I hold.
In the future I envision the Child and Youth Care field will be as recognizable as the Social Work field is today. I would appreciate a strong professional association for Child and Youth Care workers including registration of members.
To that end Leona is a practicum supervisor to a CYC 3rd year student and in that way is sharing her knowledge, experience and inspiration with another generation of students.