Day 44 of 99 Days to FASDay: FASD Cost in Child Welfare (Canada)

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Day 43 was about the cost of FASD in the general population. Today – Day 44 is about the cost of FASD in the child welfare system in Canada.

Given what we learned in Day 42 of 99 Days to FASDay: Int’l Prevalence of FASD   that prevalence rates are significantly higher, once again the numbers from today are from a report released six years ago from numbers nine years old. Costs are likely higher. Is anyone noticing a pattern here?

The information today is from:

Canadian Children and Youth in Care: The Cost of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Svetlana Popova, Shannon Lange, Larry Burd, Jürgen Rehm

Citation: Popova, S., Lange, S., Burd, L. et al. Child Youth Care Forum (2014) 43: 83. doi:10.1007/s10566-013-9226-x

The study was designed to estimate:

  1. the number of children in care with FASD by age group, gender, and province/territory; and
  2. the associated cost of children in care with FASD in Canada in 2011.

An estimation of the cost of FASD for the Canadian child welfare system is central to describing the extent of its impact on this population, the cost to society, and for evaluating the potential benefits of FASD prevention programs.

Furthermore, the current economic estimate has the potential to provide additional policy insights in order to better address the needs of this unique population and to increase awareness of this problem not only in Canada, but also internationally.

The estimated number of children in care with FASD ranged from 2,225 to 7,620, with an annual cost of care ranging from $57.9 to $198.3 million Canadian dollars (CND). The highest overall cost ($29.5 to $101.1 million CND) was for 11–15 year-olds.

The three provinces with the highest number of children in care with FASD:

  1. Ontario [612 (lower estimate) to 2,096 (upper estimate)]
  2. Quebec (418–1,432)
  3. Alberta (309–1,060).

A complete copy of the Study, which is available for download, can be found here.

If you are aware of updated studies, please let us know.

2020 Update: A new law has been passed in Minnesota (USA) requiring all children in foster care to be screened for prenatal alcohol exposure.

This year as a priority of Proof Alliance’s legislative platform, major legislation that requires all children entering foster care be screened for prenatal exposure to alcohol in Minnesota was passed and signed into law. It is believed Minnesota is the first state in the nation to pass this legislation.

Proof Alliance will be providing the training and screening tools for all counties across the state.

  • The majority of children with FASD, including those in foster care, go unrecognized and untreated. One study found that 86.5% of children and adolescents with FASD who were in foster care had never been previously diagnosed or had been misdiagnosed.(1)
  • Some studies indicate rates of FASD are 17 to 19 times higher in child welfare systems than in the general population. (2) Without being identified as having a confirmed or suspected FASD, these children and their families are not accessing the crucial FASD-informed supports and services needed.

This will no doubt reveal concrete statistics that can be used to further guide policy in other state and hopefully other countries follow the lead. You can read more here: PROOF Alliance: Landmark Legislation

Check back tomorrow as we share information about Prevalence in Child Welfare in Other Countries

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