Cat. no. H39-4/20-2003
As Minister of Health, I am pleased to introduce Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A Framework for Action.
Many readers of this Framework will be familiar with FASD. You are frontline workers who see the impact of FASD on people with the disability and their families; police or corrections workers who see the social problems resulting from FASD; policy and program developers working to shape public policy and community services to meet the diverse needs of people with FASD; and health educators working to prevent FASD and help women and families eliminate alcohol use during pregnancy.
Other readers will be newcomers, ready to learn and join those committed to preventing FASD and improving outcomes for those with FASD. This Framework is designed to meet the needs of people with a range of knowledge and experience.
It has now been 30 years since Fetal Alcohol Syndrome became a medical diagnosis. During this time, much excellent work has been done across the country, in provinces and territories and in many communities. Still, it is estimated that approximately 9 in every 1,000 children in Canada are born with FASD.
FASD is a life-long disability without a cure - but it is preventable. It is time for renewed efforts and a comprehensive approach to preventing the disorder and supporting those with it.
I encourage you to discuss this Framework with others and consider how it can be used in your own community. It is not intended to be static in its approach, nor does it deliver a "one-size-fits-all" solution. Rather, it provides tools, information and ideas to guide and support communities and all levels of government on a wide range of activities.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A Framework for Action reflects the contributions of hundreds of organizations and individuals from across the country. Contributors drew on their professional expertise, their knowledge of the gaps needing to be filled, as well as their personal experience as parents, foster parents and others affected by FASD.
Health Canada is pleased to have been involved in developing the Framework. I offer my congratulations to all partners on the work that has been done to date and look forward to continuing to work together in the coming years.
A. Anne McLellan
Minister of Health