Resource | Brief

Addressing Prenatal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposure in Tribal Communities: Key Takeaways From an Environmental Scan

Project: Identification and Care of Children With Prenatal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposures: Prevention Strategies

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Tribal child welfare and allied service programs are critical partners in preventing and addressing prenatal alcohol and other substance exposures (PAE/PSE) in tribal communities so families can heal.

This brief presents opportunities for programs to forge a new path forward on this issue through innovative and effective tribal practices. It is based on an environmental scan that examined the scope of PAE/PSE in tribal communities, as well as current practices and resources for identifying it and caring for affected children and families. The scan included a literature review and interviews with experts.

Highlighted strategies that may aid prevention and intervention include—

  • Community outreach and education about the potential effects of substance use on fetal development
  • Culturally grounded wraparound services that address root causes of substance use, including racial marginalization and poverty
  • Training to orient programs toward family preservation and away from child removal as a first-step response
  • Tribally led assessment processes to recognize prenatal substance exposures and provide early intervention
  • Research investments to improve understanding of the prevalence of PAE/PSE in tribal communities, the lived experiences of families who are affected by it, and the evidence base for culturally based interventions