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Children housed in care systems are at high risk for problems related to mothers’ prenatal alcohol use

September 9, 2013 – Sometimes children enter a child-care system, such as an orphanage or foster care, because of unfavourable circumstances, including maternal substance abuse problems or child neglect. According to a study in the October 2013 issue of the journal Pediatrics, children and youth housed in various child-care systems are at higher risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). These disorders include an array of developmental, cognitive, behavioral and physical effects. In this meta-analysis, CAMH Senior Scientist Dr. Lana Popova and colleagues looked at the research literature reporting on the prevalence of FASD in all types of child-care systems in eight countries. The rates of FASD varied widely depending on the type of child-care setting, but overall the prevalence was alarmingly high. The authors recommend that screening for FASD be implemented in these at-risk groups of children.

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