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Red Shoes Rock…And So Do Red Shoe Rocks!

September 8, 2020

Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County Gets Creative to Raise Awareness of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder on International FASD Awareness Day

Have you spotted a painted red shoe rock in your walking travels? If you had, and wondered if it had a purpose – it does indeed. This month, the FASD Services team at Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County (FCSRS) got creative with hand painting red shoes on rocks to support International FASD Awareness Day. The day is typically marked with a “Red Shoes Rock” theme which invites people to sport their red shoes in support of FASD awareness. This year, however, the team decided to place over 30 hand painted red shoe rocks in local parks, community centre areas and even at local organizations. They are also providing valuable information on what #FASDIs on the FCSRC social media channels throughout September (FASD Awareness Month).

“Educating families and our communities about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder continues to be critical,” says Victoria Gillan, FASD Worker at Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County. “There is still misinformation and stigma surrounding FASD and what it truly means to have FASD. The truth is – four per cent of Canadians have FASD, and this is more than the number of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome combined.”

Thanks to the support of our community partners, hand painted red shoe rocks can be found at the following locations throughout the county:

  • County of Renfrew building
  • County of Renfrew Paramedic building
  • Renfrew Town Hall
  • Burnstown Beach and the Swinging Bride
  • The scenic lookout in Westmeath
  • Pembroke City Hall
  • Pembroke Fire Hall
  • Riverside Park, Pembroke

They can also be found at Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County offices at Mary St. and Isabella St. in Pembroke and at the Renfrew Office at 114 Argyle St. S.

According to CanFASD, Canada’s first comprehensive national Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder research network, “FASD is a really complex disability and we learn more about it every day. The language we’ve used to talk about FASD in the past has created sterotypes and stigma that individuals with FASD have to overcome, in addition to their everyday challenges.”

So what should families know about FASD? Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County is helping CanFASD share these important facts. FASD is:

1.      A spectrum disorder that impacts each individual differently

2.      Challenging, but with the right supports, individuals can succeed

3.      Caused by prenatal alcohol exposure

4.      A diagnosis, but does not define an individual

5.      Is preventable if women and girls have the right supports

6.      Is a global health issue, a disability rights issue, a women’s health issue, a food security issue, a housing issue, a criminal justice issue and a mental health issue

“How we talk about FASD is also critical,” says Darcy Lacombe, Supervisor of FASD Services at Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County. “We still hear statements like FASD is 100% preventable. Yet, when one understands the socioeconomic factors, addiction and mental health factors, as well as misinformation still circulating – we know it isn’t as simple as that.”

FCSRC’s FASD Services & Renfrew County FASD Peer Support Group

Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County offers services to children, youth, adults and families that will improve the experiences and outcomes for those diagnosed with FASD. Our home based program utilizes a strength-based, person-directed approach that assists individuals with access to services and supports tailored to each individual’s needs. Any person can refer to this program providing the parent/guardian is aware of the referral.

FCSRC has also recently received funding from Health Nexus to continue the facilitation of the Renfrew County FASD Peer Support Group.  Information on dates and guest speakers will be available on FCSRC’s Facebook page this fall. In the meantime, anyone interested in learning more about the group is encouraged to call FCSRC and ask to speak with our FASD Services at 613-735-6866.

For more information on how to access support for an FASD diagnosis or suspected FASD, please visit or call FCSRC at 613-735-6866.