There are no national statistics regarding the number of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the care of the child welfare system in Canada. But in Manitoba, a 2009 report, The Economic Impact of Children in Care with FASD and Parental Alcohol Issues Phase II, found that, "one-third of children in care fall within a broad definition of disability and that 17 percent of children in care were affected by diagnosed or suspected Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)" (Fuchs et al., 2009).
The high prevalence in care means all workers in all aspects of child welfare service, including those providing alternative care, should have
• a basic understanding of common behaviours associated with FASD
• an awareness of how these brain-based behaviours impact functioning
• access to community-based services and programs that provide support to children and adults with FASD (or be able to adapt services to meet this population's unique needs)
Finding the right placement is particularly important. The 2007 Manitoba study, Children with FASD Involved in the Manitoba Child Welfare System, shows that stable, knowledgeable caregivers decrease the development of secondary disabilities in children with FASD (Fuchs et al., 2007).
Child welfare agencies are mandated to focus on child protection and children in care. This usually means children and parents with FASD involved with a child welfare agency will also need their own strong, family- or community-based network of support.
The Child Welfare section of the FASD and Justice Website is designed to provide practical information to assist those in the system to work with children and adults who have FASD or are caring for someone with FASD.