David Swann says better screening for FASD needed before adoption

Alberta Liberal leader David Swann says adoptive parents need to have all possible medical information about the children up for adoption, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Calls for review of system after parents blindsided by undisclosed medical condition

Liberal Leader David Swann says adoptive parents need all medical information disclosed before adopting a child. (Doug Steele/CBC)

Liberal leader David Swann says adoptive parents need to have all possible information about any medical conditions the children may have prior to adoption, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. 

Swann says there needs to be a review of the policies dealing with medical disclosure in adoption cases.

His call follows a report by CBC news that a Calgary couple were unable to deal with behavioural problems in their two adopted daughters as a result of undisclosed fetal alcohol syndrom disorder (FASD).

"Very clearly this is a fundamental right of parenting, to know as much as is possible before they launch into a major life commitment," said Swann.

Swann says it's critical for parents to have the information, not only because it affects their capacity as parents, but also because of the need for transparency in the process.

"It's about honesty and fairness to the parents," he said.

'It's a concerning situation,' says minister

The province's minister of human services, Irfan Sabir, said the department passes on all the information it has about a child's medical condition prior to adoption. But he acknowledges there is some concern that this is not always the case. 

"It's a concerning situation because these parents are doing a very important job and they are making a difference in the lives of the kids, and we will make sure that the parents' concerns are addressed, [that] they are provided with the information they need to make an informed decision." he said.

Sabir added the department has ongoing support for adoptive parents.