CT Clearinghouse

Prenatal Substance Exposure

The Substance Exposed Infant/Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (SEI-FASD) Statewide Initiative aims to strengthen capacity at the community, provider, and systems levels to improve the safety, health, and well-being of substance exposed infants and support the recovery of pregnant and parenting people and their families. This initiative is jointly funded by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). The SEI-FASD 2022-2027 five-year strategic plan expands on work initiated in the last five years and encompassed in the 2016-2021 plan, while also addressing new emerging topics.

Prenatal substance exposure occurs when a pregnant person uses alcohol, tobacco and/or  drugs, whether prescribed or not,  at any time during pregnancy.  Alcohol and other substance use during pregnancy can lead to serious long-lasting consequences for the birthing person and infants including miscarriage, still birth, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was originally enacted in 1974 and reauthorized in 2010 to include a policy requiring states to implement a notification process to DCF when a baby is born who has been prenatally exposed to substances.  The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) was signed into federal law in 2016, with the aim to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States and offered amendments to CAPTA.

Recent changes to federal legislation around the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) have outlined new state mandates requiring data collection around the impact of substance exposed infants and development of plans of safe care nationwide. In CT, effective March 15, 2019, hospitals are now required to submit a notification to the Department of Children and Families CAPTA Notification Portal at the time of the birth event when an infant is believed to have been substance exposed and/or displays withdrawal symptoms.

For additional information:

                SEI-FASD Statewide Initiative

                DCF Newborn Notification Portal (https://portal.ct.gov/DCF/CAPTA/HOME )

                DMHAS CAPTA/Plan of Safe Care (https://www.ct.gov/dmhas/cwp/view.asp?q=607226 )

Please see Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), Opioids & Pregnancy, and Alcohol & Pregnancy for related information.