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updated: 11/18/2010 5:05 PM

DuPage task force tackles fetal alcohol disorders

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A new task force that promotes prevention and treatment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders met for the first time Thursday in DuPage County.

The state's attorney's Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Task Force aims to educate parents and children about the preventable disorders, which can result from consuming alcohol in pregnancy. The group also plans to collaborate with various disciplines and professions on strategies to reduce the lifelong physical, psychological and economic symptoms, officials announced.

"We have a lot of work to do, but I am confident that by working together we can vastly improve the lives of thousands of children who may have otherwise been born with FASD, as well as the lives of their families," State's Attorney Joe Birkett said in a news release.

The task force approved its mission statement and a brochure on the dangers of drug and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The brochure will be distributed to schools under a new law requiring all sex education courses taught in Illinois to cover fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. It also will be provided with marriage licenses.

"Passing that groundbreaking legislation was a big step in our fight against FASD," said Birkett, who proposed the first-of-its-kind law.

The task force meets next Jan. 13 in Wheaton.