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On 29 November 2012, the report of the Inquiry into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders - FASD: the hidden harm. Inquiry into the prevention, diagnosis, and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders - was tabled in Parliament.
The Inquiry was conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, following a formal request by the the Ministers for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and Health and Ageing on 8 November 2011. Recommendations from the report have been broadly welcomed by leading researchers into the effects of alcohol in pregnancy.
Professor Carol Bower, from the Alcohol and Pregnancy Research Group at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, says the recommendations are a significant step in ensuring the best start in life for children by better educating the whole community that no alcohol during pregnancy is the safest choice.
'It's hoped these recommendations will not only lead to a better awareness and diagnosis of FASD but also better monitoring and better collection of data,' said Professor Bower. 'This work has already been started by researchers, with the Telethon Institute and University of Sydney working together to develop a method of diagnosing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Australia.'
'If we can tie in our existing work and the recommendations of the Inquiry then we have the ability to really take giant steps forward in the early diagnosis, management and intervention of this serious disorder.'
There are a total of 19 recommendations listed in the report. Based on this list, the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has recommended the development of an action plan.
The National Plan of Action for the prevention, diagnosis and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) should be released by the Commonwealth Government by 1 June 2013.
Source: House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs and Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs
PO Box 6021
Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: (02) 6277 2358
Fax: (02) 6277 4427