Day 45 of 99 Days to FASDay: Prevalence of FASD in Child Welfare (International)

Welcome to Day 45 of 99 days to FASDay! Another year and another report with updated figures mean a new graphic for today.

In a 2013 meta-analysis, Canadian researchers reviewed published studies on FASD prevalence in child care settings around the world. Studies were identified from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Eastern Europe, Israel, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the USA, and a pooled FASD prevalence of 18% among children in care was estimated.

The highest rates were found in Sweden (52% among adoptees from Eastern Europe) and Russia (40% in orphanages for children with special needs), and the lowest rates were found in Israel (among foster and preadoption children) and the USA (among adoptees from Eastern Europe) – both 4%.

Information was retrieved from FASD Prevalence in Special Populations (CanFASD 2018).

Day 45 of 99 Days to FASDay

2020 Updates:

A new law passed in Minnesota (USA) requires 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 states and hopefully other countries will follow the lead. You can read more here: PROOF Alliance: Landmark Legislation

Additional Studies:

A report Understanding FASD: Child Welfare Practice Tips revealed that in the USA the percentage of children in the child welfare system was 6% (FAS) – 17% (FASD).

A report from CanFASD (2020) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Child Welfare conservatively estimated the prevalence of FASD among Canadian children in care to be at least 3-11%.

Information from original/previous Day 45 outlining statistics of the prevalence of FAS and FASD in children who are in care around the world (although only a few countries were noted in this study) was from this report: Canadian Children and Youth in Care: The Cost of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Child & Youth Care Forum, 2014, Volume 43, Number 1, Page 83 Svetlana Popova, Shannon Lange, Larry Burd, Jürgen Rehm.

Feel free to comment below if you have statistics for other countries or have links to additional studies.

Come back tomorrow for Day 46. We will be sharing information for, about and from caregivers.