WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) celebrated the work of its new Arkansas affiliate organization, Arkansas None for Nine, highlighting their accomplishments on the state level, and advocacy on behalf of those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), an umbrella term describing the range of effects that occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol before birth.
During the annual NOFAS affiliate summit, Arkansas None for Nine Vice President Carol Rangel met with Senior Senator John Boozman in his Washington, D.C. office, as well as staff in Representative French Hill’s office. During the meetings, she talked about the impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) on Arkansas, and the work her organization is doing to inform the public and provide support to those affected.
“There are many challenges to advocacy for this cause,” said Rangel, “1 in 20 school children are affected by an FASD, including 80 percent of all foster kids.” Prenatal alcohol expsoure is the leading known cause of intellectual disability in North America, and it is 100 percent preventable. Unfortunately, there is an enormous amount of stigma around the disorders. Senator Boozman and his staff listened intently to what we had to say, as did the kind staff in Congressman Hill’s office. We were so happy to bring this incredibly important issue into the consideration of our federal delegation, and make our case for the vital federal funding FASD receives.”
On the state level, Arkansas None for Nine recently submitted a proposal to the Arkansas State Legislature to help expand the scope of FASD research. Interim Study Proposal 2017-020, brought by State Representative Deborah Ferguson and State Senator Keith Ingram. The proposal requests funding to examine the impact of FASD on the criminal justice system, and to research more effective methods to rehabilitate affected individuals. “FASD costs Arkansas over $53 million a year, and no small part of it is spent on incarcerating individuals with these disorders who go undiagnosed,” said Rangel of FASD and its impact on the criminal justice system.
During FASD Awareness Month this September, Arkansas None for Nine will host their fifth annual FASD conference on Thursday, September 14th, 2017 at The Summit church in North Little Rock, Arkansas from 8:30AM to 4:00PM. On September 6th, Governor Asa Hutchinson will sign a Proclamation declaring September 9th FAS Awareness Day in Arkansas.