Australian research on FASD and Social Workers, April 2023

A research article released in Australia on April 20, 2023 reinforces the role of social workers in treating Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and recommends much more education for the sector to enable professionals to better support those with the disorder. Implications are comparable with Aotearoa.


In Australia, it has been well documented that the leading preventable cause of nongenetic neurodevelopmental disability (NDD) is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This review explores literature informing Australian social work in the context of FASD. It highlights the need for increased social work research to inform evidence-based practice (EBP) in FASD diagnosis and management using the biopsychosocial-spiritual-cultural (BPSSC) framework.

Social workers are often first to identify children's emotional, behavioural, and learning difficulties that may be a characteristic of FASD. Nonetheless, there is limited knowledge and understanding about how social workers in Australia address FASD. We argue that research about FASD and social work practice can improve social workers’ understanding of the BPSSC characteristics and management of FASD across the life course and contribute to EBP development in these areas in Australian social work.

Read the full research paper here