Application of the fetal alcohol syndrome facial photographic screening tool in a foster care population

J Pediatr. 2002 Nov;141(5):712-7. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2002.129030.


We determined the prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in a foster care population and evaluated the performance of the FAS Facial Photographic Screening Tool. All children enrolled in a Washington State Foster Care Passport Program were screened for three conditions: (1) the FAS facial phenotype from a photograph, (2) evidence of brain damage with prenatal alcohol exposure from their Health and Education passport, and/or (3) other syndromes identifiable from a facial photograph. Screen-positives received diagnostic evaluations at a FAS Diagnostic and Prevention Network clinic. The prevalence of FAS in this foster care population was 10 to 15/1000, or 10 to 15 times greater than in the general population. The screening tool performed with 100% sensitivity, 99.8% specificity, 85.7% predictive value positive, and 100% predictive value negative. We conclude that the foster care population is a high-risk population for FAS. The screening tool performed with very high accuracy and could be used to track FAS prevalence over time in foster care to accurately assess the effectiveness of primary prevention efforts.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Facies*
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / epidemiology
  • Foster Home Care*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Photography
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Washington / epidemiology