Landmark Legislation: A Victory for the FASD Community

While legislators didn’t complete many items during the June 2020 special session, we are excited about this legislative win that will improve outcomes for children entering the Minnesota foster care system.

Major FASD Legislative Victory

In 2020, as a priority of Proof Alliance’s legislative platform, major legislation that requires all children entering foster care be screened for prenatal exposure to alcohol in Minnesota was passed and signed into law. It is believed Minnesota is the first state in the nation to pass this legislation.

Proof Alliance will be providing the training and screening tools for all counties across the state. To ensure that this screening is conducted in accordance with the best practice guidelines, Proof Alliance has created a recorded webinar and supplemental materials.  Click here to register for the training webinar.

  • The majority of children with FASD, including those in foster care, go unrecognized and untreated. One study found that 86.5% of children and adolescents with FASD who were in foster care had never been previously diagnosed or had been misdiagnosed.1
  • Some studies indicate rates of FASD are 17 to 19 times higher in child welfare systems than in the general population. Without being identified as having a confirmed or suspected FASD, these children and their families are not accessing the crucial FASD-informed supports and services needed.

In past legislative sessions, Proof Alliance was successful at advocating for legislation that requires all foster parents to have training every year on FASD. We know that understanding FASD and how it could potentially impact the child you are caring for is essential. For caregivers to feel competent and effective parenting a child with an FASD in their care, they need ongoing education and support. A stable home environment is essential to increasing good outcomes for children with an FASD.3

Requiring all children to be screened is an important step in improving outcomes. By requiring screening for children and then supporting FASD-informed case management, services and supports, we are confident we can reduce multiple foster care placements and improve the chances for better outcomes. Adding support and education for foster parents also improves outcomes.

This has been an enduring top priority of Proof Alliance’s legislative agenda for several years. Our ongoing legislative platform includes promoting legislation that would require the child welfare system to improve the identification of children with prenatal exposure to alcohol, increase the FASD-informed response by child welfare professionals and train foster parents on FASD.

Thank you to all of our advocates who contacted their representatives and asked them to support this legislation. We could not have done it without you. Click here if you want learn more about our policy work and how you can get involved and make a difference.

For more information on the implementation of this law, please contact

View sources

1 Chasnoff IJ, Wells AM, King L. Misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses in foster and adopted children with prenatal alcohol exposure. Pediatrics. 2015;135(2).

2 Petrenko CLM, Alto ME, Hart AR, Freeze SM, Cole LL. “I’m doing my part, I just need help from the community:” Intervention implications of foster and adoptive parents’ experiences raising children and young adults with FASD. Journal of Family Nursing. 2019;25(2):314-347.

3 Sanders JL, Buck G. A long journey: Biological and non-biological parents’ experiences raising children with FASD. J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol. 2010;17(2):e308-e322.