Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, the chief executive of Adoption UK, said: “These shocking statistics show that FASD is even more prevalent than was previously thought and adds to the growing weight of evidence that it is a hidden epidemic in our society.
“Alcohol misuse is one of the main reasons children are taken into care, and it’s clear that foster, adoptive and kinship care families are at the epicentre. FASD should be ruled out for every child taken into care. Only by catching it early can we provide the extra support and understanding these children and their families need.”
In a survey, which Adoption UK carried out with Radio 4’s File on 4 in 2017, about a third of adoptive parents who responded believed they did not receive “full and correct” information about their children during the adoption process.
More than a third of respondents said they had considered that their child may have FASD.
Dr Armstrong Brown added: “It’s vital that decision makers act decisively on this new evidence. We need to see a concerted effort in each nation to improve prevention, diagnosis, and lifelong support for FASD to be developed urgently, with particular attention to disproportionately impacted groups.”
FASD is the most common non-genetic cause of learning disability in the UK.