The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Center for Excellence, operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is devoted to prevention and treatment of FASD. SAMHSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The FASD Center for Excellence was launched in 2001. Its mission is to facilitate the development and improvement of prevention, treatment and care systems in the U.S. by providing national leadership and facilitating field collaboration. It aims to: reduce the number of infants born prenatally exposed to alcohol; increase functioning of persons who have an FASD; improve the quality of life of individuals and families affected by FASD.
FASD is an umbrella term used to describe a range of effects to a child whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can be lifelong in nature and include mental, behavioral, physical and learning disabilities. FASD covers a number of conditions: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), fetal alcohol effects (FAE), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). While the various disorders within the spectrum of FASD can be diagnosed, the term FASD itself is not used as a clinical diagnosis. The FASD Center for Excellence website has information and downloadable and printable fact sheets and brochures on all aspects of FASD. The most important message that the FASD Center for Excellence materials promote is the fact that FASD is 100 percent preventable. The only way a baby can be born with an FASD is if the mother drinks during her pregnancy.