Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are the leading preventable cause of non-genetic, developmental disability in Australia. Like many other disabilities, people who are born with FASD have the condition for life.
Australia’s response to FASD is at a critical junction. For too long there has been a lack of coordinated action to prevent FASD and assist people affected. An Australian FASD Action Plan is now needed to begin to address the extensive gaps in the prevention, early intervention and management of FASD in Australia.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)’s Australian FASD Action Plan 2013-2016 represents a roadmap for the journey ahead, a costed plan of action that presents actions to be undertaken in three years to start to reduce the numbers of people born with FASD and to help support those currently affected.
The Australian FASD Action Plan includes priority areas that target FASD across the spectrum, from prevention of the condition to management across the lifespan. Each of these areas has clearly defined actions, outputs and targets. The Plan focuses on areas with clear actions and the greatest likelihood of impact in the immediate and short term. These priorities are meant as a starting point. It is recognised that after the initial three years, longer term commitments will be required to ensure progress is sustained over time and that real change is delivered on the ground. A summary of the five priority areas follows.
Priority Area 1: Increase community awareness of FASD and prevent prenatal exposure to alcohol
Priority Area 2: Improve diagnostic capacity for FASD in Australia
Priority Area 3: Enable people with FASD to achieve their full potential
Priority Area 4: Improve data collection to understand the extent of FASD in Australia
Priority Area 5: Close the gap on the higher prevalence of FASD among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
The Foundation urges the Commonwealth Government to adopt the Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Action Plan and ensure this nation’s efforts to effectively address FASD in Australia do not falter.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education