Formerly known as MOFAS: Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Exciting News
from MOFAS

If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Why PR%F

We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.

Why Alliance?

We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.

What's Next?

Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.

FASD Day at the Capitol Factsheets

Brain Injury Definition Expansion

The Reality

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a medical condition that encompasses a range of conditions caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.
  • It is a lifelong condition and there is currently no cure for the condition.
  • The most adverse outcome of prenatal alcohol exposure is the impact on the developing brain and the resulting brain injury.
  • FASD-related brain injury has major implications as individuals on the spectrum often need supportive community resources.
  • With access to diagnostic services and appropriate interventions and supports, individuals on the spectrum can lead successful and fulfilling lives.

Addressing the Issue

FASD is often misunderstood; typically there is a misconception that it is a mental health condition. However, it is not: it is a medical condition. Therefore, a mental health approach does not take into account or address the lifelong implications of the disability. With mental health services the goal is often on stabilizing an individual with a condition. It is critical to understand that FASD is a primary disability and the brain injury associated with prenatal alcohol exposure must be addressed.

Currently, some individuals with an FASD do qualify for developmental disability (DD) services because they meet the IQ cut-off for services. However, some individuals with an FASD who do not meet the IQ cut-off for DD services could be well served under the Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) waiver, or when warranted, the brain injury (BI) waiver.

With some individuals qualifying for DD services and some qualifying under CADI or BI we would be in a better position to address the spectrum of the condition.

Beyond creating access to possible brain injury-focused services through expanding the definition of brain injury by removing the congenital exemption, there is opportunity for educating providers in other arenas, including the education, corrections, and health care systems.

Recommendation

To better serve individuals with FASD, we propose changing the brain injury definition. MOFAS recommends changing the language in state statute to make brain injury services available to people with an FASD when appropriate.


Expand Community-based Services for Pregnant Women, Mothers, and Children

The Reality

  • Each year in Minnesota, an estimated 7,000 babies are born with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE), and thus at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and other impairments.
    2009 Annual MN Births, Minnesota State Demographic Center X current percentage of pregnant women who self-identify for drinking alcohol while pregnant from CDC (70,617 births X 10.2% or 1 in 10)
  • From 2000-2010, 4% of all female substance abuse treatment admissions were pregnant.
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), 2000-2010, based on data received through October 10, 2011.
  • The cost of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) to society and for each alcohol affected individual is very high. Children diagnosed with an FASD incur Medicaid costs 9 times higher than a child without an FASD ($16,782 vs. $1,859).
    DD Amendah, SD Grosse, J. Bertrand, Medical expenditures of children in the United States with fetal alcohol syndrome (2011)

Addressing the Issue

When given the right supports, mothers who are chemically dependent can be healthy, maintain sobriety, and be good parents. Children of these mothers do better: these children are more prepared for kindergarten, and families are less likely to become involved with the child protection system.

The Community of Recovery Aiding Families in Transition (CRAFT) prevention program serves women with a history of chemical dependency or abuse who are either pregnant or parenting dependent children in Olmsted County. In one six-month reporting period, in 2016, 99 women and 101 children were served by this program at an average yearly cost of $3,000 per family. One woman in the program had a positive toxicology report.

The programs address the root problems for the most vulnerable families and reduce health disparities.

Recommendation

The Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) recommends a $500,000 appropriation to expand the program in underserved regions.

Meet Kelly* – A Success Story

Advocacy efforts during the 2015 legislative session helped MOFAS secure funding for the Community of Recovery Aiding Families in Transition (CRAFT) Program in Olmsted County. CRAFT helps support women who are chemically dependent to maintain a healthy sober life and help become better equipped parents. When mothers are supported and receive the help and resources they need, they not only become successful and healthy, they also parent more positively. CRAFT continues to be funded and has had successful outcomes.

Meet Kelly

When Kelly* came to CRAFT, she was struggling as a new mom of a two-month-old daughter and was under the influence of heroin and alcohol. She lived and worked in a toxic environment that made it a struggle for her to stay sober. With help from CRAFT, Kelly received the supports and services she needed to become sober. Kelly knew that if she continued to work for her family-owned restaurant serving alcohol, she would not be able to stay sober; CRAFT was able to help her find other employment options. Kelly attended AA/NA meetings, had a sponsor, and started building healthy relationships with other members in CRAFT.

CRAFT created an easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach to problem solving, planning, and support, for Kelly’s goals, which helped her become a better mom. Kelly has successfully embraced a sober and healthy lifestyle for her and her daughter.

Kelly achieved many of her goals during the year she was supported by CRAFT:

  • Kelly maintained sobriety for 18 months and graduated from the CRAFT program; she continues to attend AA/NA meetings.
  • She found and maintained her own apartment, obtained employment, and took parenting classes from Parents Are Important in Rochester (PAIIR) to help prepare her in taking care of her daughter.
  • She built a new support system and created new relationships with other mothers in the CRAFT program and still attends CRAFT groups to reach out to other moms.

*Names have been changed to allow for privacy.


The Impact of FASD in Minnesota

The Reality

Here in Minnesota, 7,000 babies are born every year with prenatal alcohol exposure1. Alcohol is a teratogen that crosses the placenta and can cause permanent brain damage that harms the way a child learns and behaves. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term used to describe the myriad issues that result when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.

  • FASD is common. For some groups, current prevalence of FASD is estimated to be 2-4%
    (24-48/1,000 children)2. If this prevalence rate is applied to the K-12 enrollment in Minnesota public schools, up to 32,900 students could be impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure3.
    P. May, et al “Prevalence and Characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders,” Pediatrics, Volume 134, Number 52; MN Department of Education, 2010 K-12 Public School Enrollment = 824,333 X 4% prevalence rate. 3
  • FASD is costly. Children diagnosed with an FASD incur Medicaid costs 9 times higher than a child without an FASD ($16,782 vs. $1,859)4. Conservative estimates indicate that FASD costs Minnesota taxpayers $131 million each year5.
    DD Amendah, SD Grasse, J. Bertrand, 201134 L. Burd & R. Harwood, 20045
  • FASD is preventable. FASD can only be caused when a woman drinks alcohol while pregnant.
    1 in 10 (10.2%) women report drinking alcohol while pregnant6.
    CDC, 20156

Addressing the Issue

The challenge faced by society is that simply telling women not to drink during pregnancy understates the complexity of the issue. Providing sound public health information to childbearing aged families is, indeed, part of the solution. However, as a state, we must address the deeper issues that are part of truly understanding how to prevent FASD and how to ensure that people who are living with this challenge are able to fully engage in their communities as active, productive, and healthy citizens.

In 2004, a grant was awarded by the Minnesota Department of Health to the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) to address this issue. MOFAS was charged with developing a comprehensive strategy to address FASD through diagnostic services, community grants, intervention and family support, public awareness, and professional education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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