The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) welcomed the opportunity to make a submission to the development of the next National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategy 2018-2028.
FARE has been involved in advocacy and policy work on FASD for many years: this includes funding the first diagnostic clinic at Westmead Hospital in Sydney as well as publishing The Australian FASD Action Plan 2013-2016 in 2012. The actions within this plan, as well as the recommendations made by FARE to the House of Representatives Parliamentary Inquiry into FASD in 2011-12, remain relevant.
The next National FASD Strategy has the potential to create a meaningful legacy and sustainable impact, and FARE appreciates the opportunity to make the following comments on the Discussion Paper.
This submission addresses the following five areas within the Discussion Paper:
- Purpose: The Discussion Paper notes that the strategy will be informed by evidence of what works.
- Strategies to prevent FASD: Prevention activities need to target the whole population and raise awareness of harms of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
- Evidence-based screening and diagnosis: The Australia FASD Diagnostic instrument has been finalised, but diagnostic capacity remains extremely limited.
- Evidence-based treatment and care for individuals affected by FASD and approaches that support individuals, families and carers across health, education, criminal justice and other settings: For people with FASD, their parents and carers, having access to early intervention and support can vastly improve their life outcomes.
- Strategies to support professional education and training in FASD: FARE considers the training of health professionals in asking about alcohol consumption during pregnancy to be part of prevention activities and training on FASD diagnosis as part of improving diagnostic treatment services.