FASDs: Training & Education

CDC is committed to improving practice, education, and awareness to prevent alcohol use during pregnancy and to help individuals living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. CDC supports the following activities:

National Professional Organizations

National Professional Organizations

In 2018, CDC funded several organizations that work with healthcare professionals to promote fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) prevention. These efforts, done in settings that serve pregnant women and women of reproductive age, are made possible through strategic partnerships with national medical societies and professional organizations. Awardees, and the discipline each is working with, are as follows:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians (family medicine);
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (obstetrics-gynecology);
  • University of Alaska, Anchorage (nursing);
  • University of Nevada, Reno (medical assisting); and
  • University of Texas at Austin (social work).

The main activities for all awardees include

  • Promoting member awareness of risky alcohol use, including any alcohol use during pregnancy;
  • Building or expanding networks of champions to promote awareness activities and disseminate resources;
  • Developing and implementing requirements for healthcare provider recertification; and
  • Promoting the use of science-based messages and clinical guidelines that support implementation of alcohol screening and brief intervention.

In addition to the above-mentioned national professional organizations, CDC continues to collaborate with the following partners:

Child dressed in a doctor's outfit

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

CDC continues to collaborate with AAP through a new project funded in 2018. AAP works to develop and implement educational and capacity-building resources for the prevention, early identification, and care of children with FASDs and their families. For example, they maintain the FASD Toolkit—a comprehensive, web-based resource for management of a child with an FASD and their family.

FASD United (formerly NOFAS)

CDC continues to work with FASD United (formerly NOFAS) to raise awareness about the risks of prenatal alcohol exposure through a new cooperative agreement. FASD United strives to promote the prevention of FASDs and to improve understanding about individuals living with FASDs and their families. Some of the activities funded in 2018 include maintaining a national resource directory, developing and disseminating information and resources, building capacity of state and local affiliates, and conducting media outreach and training. In addition, FASD United supports a speaker’s bureau of birth mothers, family members, and affected individuals for enhanced FASD prevention and awareness efforts.

Collaboration with the Administration for Children and Families

Photo of baby boy in a yellow shirt

CDC and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Children’s Bureau are working together to improve the identification and care of children who were exposed to alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy.  The focus of this work is the Prenatal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposures in Child Welfare descriptive study and toolkit project.

There are approximately 3.4 million children in the U.S. child welfare system, with 415,000 of these children in foster care. ACF estimates that 6 out of 10 children in foster care come from homes where alcohol and/or other drugs are misused.

Exposure to alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy can cause significant problems for newborns, children, and adolescents. Alcohol can cause life-long birth defects and developmental disabilities such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Children with FASDs can have difficulty with learning, controlling impulses, and behaving in appropriate ways. ACF research found that developmental issues can make parenting difficult and frustrating, often leading to periods of abuse or neglect.

The goal of the Prenatal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposures in Child Welfare project is to improve the health and developmental outcomes of children in the welfare system who were exposed to alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy. Over the course of this multi-year project, activities include the following:

  • Completion of a descriptive study exploring current knowledge, attitudes, policies, practices, and needs of child welfare agencies for identifying and caring for children who were exposed to alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy, as well as caring for their families
  • Development of an online toolkit of resources based on the best available evidence of success for training professional staff, families, and foster families to promote identification, referral, and care of children who were exposed to alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy to reduce risk of harm as well as to improve child and family outcomes

For more information on children who were exposed to alcohol during pregnancy, visit https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html.