Children with FASD Involved with the Manitoba Child Welfare System: The Need for Passionate Action

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McKay, S., Fuchs, D. & Brown, I. (Eds.). Passion for Action in Child and Family Services: Voices from the Prairies. Regina, SK: Canadian Plains Research Center: pp. 185-205.

Meeting the needs of children with disabilities creates significant challenges for child welfare agencies. In Manitoba, it has been shown that one-third of children in care fall within a broad definition of disability and that 17 percent of children in care were affected by diagnosed or suspected Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD encompasses a range of conditions that are caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Children with a diagnosis of FASD present agencies with an array of complex and variable needs. Both the significant proportion of children with FASD in care and the nature of their needs make it important to understand the relationship of this population to child welfare agencies. This chapter reports on the results of a study that was aimed at gathering information on the placement and legal status histories of children with FASD in care, comparing those histories to the histories of children with other disabilities and of children with no disabilities. Specifically it reports that children with FASD come into care at a younger age than any other group of children, became permanent wards more quickly and spent a greater proportion of lives in care of an agency than other children. Further, the chapter discusses the implications of the research findings for policy makers, administrators, service providers, and trainers and for further research in this area.

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