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Government and non-government policies

Alcohol use in pregnancy is an issue for all Australians.

FASD now has more recognition in Australia as an important, but preventable disorder. Preventing FASD requires a whole of community and government approach.

Organisations and professional groups across Australia contribute to policy development, education and training for health professionals, and contribute to new evidence, knowledge and translation activities.

National FASD Strategy

The Commonwealth Government developed a FASD Action Plan 2013/14 - 2016/17 in response to the House of Representaitves inquiry into FASD. You can read the final report FASD: The Hidden Harm

The government is currently developing a National FASD Strategy 2018 - 2028.

State & Territory policies

Western Australia

FASD Model of Care

Developed in 2010 this documents refers to prevention, screening and early detection, diagnosis, workforce development and monitoring

Alcohol Guidelines

National Health and Medical Research Council

Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol

Guideline 4 Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option
  • For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to stop the harm caused by alcohol. FARE has developed policies related to FASD Read more

FARE has also developed the Pregnant Pause campaign

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Australian Medical Association

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has developed a position paper on FASD

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Royal Australian College of Physicians

The Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) has developed policies on alcohol and advertising

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FASD Research Australia Centre for Research Excellence

The FASD Research Australian Centre for Research Excellence is a five year project (2016-2020) funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council that aims to reduce the effects of antenatal alcohol on child health by

  • Preventing alcohol use in pregnancy and its effects on child health and decreasing the incidence of FASD
  • Improving national FASD diagnostic capacity and management through effective interventions

There are two Research Hubs based in Perth and Sydney led by the CRE Directors Professor Carol Bower and Professor Elizabeth Elliott. The Research Hubs will host the CRE-funded projects and provide a solid platform for future collaboration.

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Australian and New Zealand FASD Clinical Network

The purpose of the FASD Clinical Network is to coordinate, expand capacity and standardise our approach to FASD referral, diagnosis, management and support.

Membership includes health professionals who are directors/leads of multidisiciplinary clinics or child development services; representatives from FASD organisations who represent and advocate in the interests of individuals, carers and families of those with FASD; and senior researchers involved in FASD

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Commonwealth, state & territory inquiries

Not all enquiries and reports are specific to FASD, however they do refer to FASD and justice in sections or chapters or make reference to people with cognitive and other impairments

Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia

Final report

Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration Access to legal assistance services

Final report

Review of the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996

Final Report

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs Inquiry into harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

Final report

Productivity Commission inquiry into accessing justice services

Final report

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

Doing Time - Time for Doing: Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into FASD
FASD: The Hidden Harm - Inquiry into the prevention, diagnosis and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Final report

Western Australia Legislative Assembly Education and Health Standing Committee
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: the hidden disability

Final Report

New South Wales Law Reform Commission
Young people with cognitive and mental health impairments in the criminal justice system. Sydney: Commission NSWLR; 2010-2012.

Final Report

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory Select Committee on Action to prevent FASD

Final Report

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified FASD as an important category of disability for consideration within the NDIS.

Currently the NDIS only recognises Fetal Alcohol Syndrome under 'Congenital conditions - cases where malformations cannot be corrected by surgery or other treatment and result in permanent impairment.'

NDIA contracted Telethon Kids Institute to conduct a critical review of the available published and unpublished literature relating to impairment and interventions for FASD. A report was submitted to the NDIA in 2016.

The purpose of the review was to describe the types of disability supports, services and interventions that individuals with FASD require across their life course. It is hoped that this information will inform an approach to assessment and documenting impairment associated with FASD that will enable support and intervention planning within the NDIS.

Summary key findings

The report looked at principles relating to assessment, diagnosis and planning interventions for FASD; evidence on functional domains that are impaired in people with FASD across the lifecourse, evidence for interventions to reduce impacts of functional impairment and improve overall quality of life.

The domains of functional impairment associated with FASD diagnosis are significant and distinct to each affected individual. It is established that FASD is a lifelong condition characterised by a range of significant domains of functional impairment, often requiring behavioural modification and environmental accommodation interventions.

FASD is characterised by primary disabilities which are the result of prenatal alcohol exposure. Secondary effects are those disabilities that an individual is not born with but are caused by a lack of appropriate services and supports to address the primary disabilities. Individuals affected by FASD will have varied neurocognitive profiles and the extent of individual impairment may not become apparent until there is formal engagement with education. There is a growing body of evidence on effective interventions to address different aspects of cognitive and behavioural issues associated with FASD, which benefit from exposure to services and supports designed to address these.

While early diagnosis or assessment is optimal to enable early childhood intervention to take place, there are key transitional points along the life course when individuals are likely to benefit from assessment/re-assessment and referral to age appropriate interventions designed to improve daily functioning and participation in education, employment and social opportunities.

While early intervention is optimal, interventions to improve the ability of a person with FASD to function at home, education environment, work or with others in social settings are relevant across the life course.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

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Page last updated 22 May 2018