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MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002 Sep 20;51(RR-14):9-12.

National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect: defining the national agenda for fetal alcohol syndrome and other prenatal alcohol-related effects.

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  • 1Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, USA.


Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to serious birth defects and developmental disabilities. A need exists to develop effective strategies for both children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or other prenatal alcohol-related effects and for women at high risk for having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. Since the syndrome was identified approximately 30 years ago, advancements have been made in FAS diagnostics, surveillance, prevention, and intervention, but a substantial amount of work remains. Collaborations among partners in federal state, and local agencies, academia, clinical professions, school systems, and families are critical to developing and implementing successful efforts related to FAS and fetal alcohol effect (FAE). In 1999, Congress directed the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to convene the National Task Force on FAS and FAE (the Task Force). CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Team, coordinates the Task Force and manages its operation. Since the Task Force was chartered in 2000, Task Force members, with input from multiple partners, have convened to deliberate and determine the Task Force mission, goals, and priority concerns to be addressed. This report describes the structure, function, mission, and goals of the Task Force and provides their first recommendations. An explanation of how the Task Force recommendations were generated and the Task Forces next steps are also reported.

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