The FASD Reference Group

A Western Cape Provincial FAS reference and working group was established following a strategic meeting on provincial level in 2001. FAS was declared a provincial health priority between the years 2001 to 2002 by the then MEC of Health. It was chaired by the provincial Maternal, Child and Women’s Health Deputy Director with members selected from the Department of Social Services, Department of Education, the FAS regional coordinators, a geneticist (University of Stellenbosch), a neuro-developmental pediatrician (University of Cape Town), NGOs such as FARR (Foundation for Alcohol Related Research), and Dopstop. The Medical Research Council and Pebbles Organization joined later as members.

Since 2006 the group was no longer chaired by the provincial department of health, but still continues the good work and operates as a group consisting mainly of the NGO sector and researchers interested in the prevention of FASD. The importance of the FAS-reference group in the Western Cape Province cannot be overstated. This group is motivated, task-oriented, and, through their work ethic, they show that the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is really their earnest goal. The original FAS Reference Group is now called the FASD Task Team.

The History of the FASD Task Team

The FASD Task Team have worked collaboratively on many successful projects in recent years, and their achievements include –
  • A FAS training manual for health care workers, educators; school psychologists, social workers and other professionals working with people with FASD, their families and caregivers;
  • Posters designed and distributed creating awareness about the dangers of drinking while pregnant;
  • A FASD Conference in 2005 for 250 delegates, attended by international and local guests, hosted by the Sport Science Institute, Cape Town;
  • International FASD Day 9 September 2007 event in Kenilworth Centre, Cape Town, with a range of stands and public awareness information available;
  • Establishing a FASD Training Workshop that was held in November 2007, and available to be repeated according to demand.
  • Organizing and managing successful annual International FASD public awareness event at the V&A Waterfront on the 7th and 9th September 2008.
  • The team has also been responsible for setting up this FASD website for South Africa, to allow our international contacts and local supporters follow developments in the field of FASD work and research in our region, and in South Africa as a nation.
  • Setting up a FASDSA Facebook page for regular updates
  • Organizing annual awareness events for International FASD Day


The FASD Task Team of Cape Town and surrounding areas consists of members from various organisations, all of whom work in the field of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in some way.

These include:
  • FASIC (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Information Centre) - Cape Town based and managed by foster parents of a child affected by FAS.
  • FASER-SA (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Epidemiology Research – South Africa) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Study
  • Pebbles Project – working with wine farm worker and township communities, and children whose lives are affected by alcohol.
  • Maureen McCrea - promoting healthy behaviours regarding alcohol
  • Letitia Bosch – City Health provides primary, preventative, curative & environmental health services across the metro
  • Early Years Services – training and working with ECD Practitioners, Youth, Parents and Community Members to focus on children affected by Substance Abuse and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.


FASIC (FAS Information Centre)
Since 1996, we, Peter and Vivien Lourens, have run the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Information Centre ( FASIC ) from home, situated in Pinelands, Cape Town.
We started FASIC when we fostered a 10 week old little girl with FAS called Tisha.
We found out that there was little practical help for care givers of babies and children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and so we decided to help others with our knowledge.
We were emergency foster parents with Child Welfare for 16 years and had many babies with FAS and found each one had different problems.
We belong to a world-wide link and the people on this list have been an incredible help to us and are a huge source of information.
In 1999, we started the first International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Day in South Africa and each year on the 9th day of the 9th month at 9h09 we have been involved in creating awareness on this day. Tisha is the official bell ringer.

Contact Details
Peter and Vivien Lourens -
Tel: 082 509 9530

This Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) research study is being conducted by the University of Stellenbosch, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in collaboration with the Centre for Alcohol Abuse and Addictions, University of New Mexico and the University of North Carolina, USA.
The 5-year study, titled The Trajectory of FASD across the Life Span: New Understandings in Interventions, commenced on 1 June 2013.
The research is carried out in the towns of Wellington, Robertson and Ashton, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. For prevention strategies and diagnostics procedures, the Institute of Medicine model is being used. In the research communities, women at high risk for producing children with FASD will be given the opportunity to enrol in case management. Babies and toddlers will be enrolled in early intervention activities. In school screening studies and a community survey will be done to determine alcohol and substance abuse prevalence rates in these communities.

Contact Details
Anna-Susan Marais -
Tel: 021 938 9345

The Pebbles Project is a registered NPO, working with wine farm communities. The main focus of the organisation is education, with the supporting pillars of health, nutrition, protection and community programmes.
The main activities of the Pebbles Project are:
Establishing ECD and After-School Club facilities on farms
Mobile education programmes – toy library, computer lab, book library
Presenting parenting workshops
Provision of medical and wellness services to the children and their parents
Feeding programmes
Social and community care.

Contact Details
Sophia Warner –
Tel: 072 472 2797
Fax: 086 767 6987

Maureen McCrea –
The Health Promotion Unit of the Western Cape Government: Health seeks to promote wellness across the ages. Its collaborations as part of the FASD Task Team has ensured the development of a flip-chart which is used to educate on FASD issues. It produces pamphlets and posters based on the research of its partners for the entire province. Its endeavours are to address MDG 4 to reduce child mortality.

Maureen Mc Crea
CBS Health Promotion
Department of Health
Western Cape Government
P.O. Box 2060
Tel: 021-483 9915
Fax: 021-483 9349

Letitia Bosch –

City Health provides primary, preventative, curative & environmental health services across the metro. These services include family planning, infant & child immunizations, HIV/AIDS/TB treatment & care, health promotion, substance abuse treatment etc.

The substance abuse program within City Health provides free alcohol &drug treatment using an evidence based treatment model for those seeking help. The program is situated in 5 City Health clinics and has been recognised as rendering programs of excellence.

Rhenolda Davies

Health Promotion, coordinator for City Health, City of Cape Town municipality (Coordination of health promotion, prevention & awareness of health issues across the metro)

Tel: 021 444 0898
Cell: 072 621 8107

Letitia Bosch

Substance abuse coordinator for City Health, City of Cape Town municipality
(coordination of the substance abuse treatment program within City Health)

Tel: 021 400 5414
Fax: 086 201 2024
Cell: 078 338 1200

Early Years Services Early Years Services works with ECD Practitioners, Parents, Farm Workers, Youth, Caregivers, Home-based carers and family members in providing FASD awareness and skills development training in urban and predominantly rural areas.

Early Years Services Early Years Services is a registered non-profit organisation, a registered PBO and an accredited Service provider with the ETDP-SETA. Our vision is to ensure that children are nurtured and educated in a stable, caring and stimulating environment.

GOALS OF THE ORGANISATION: To train ECD practitioners to provide a parent education and support programme that will focus on guiding parents and other family members to support children in the home environment. To provide training to ECD Practitioners and parents in which they will firstly gain the knowledge and skills to recognise signs of growth deficiencies and /or Central Nervous System damage that might be indicative of FASD and be informed of screening and referral procedures. Our alternative strategy is being utilized to prevent and eliminate the birth of children with FASD as well as the exclusion of children affected by FASD. By strengthening the impact on society we help them to understand the dangers of alcohol abuse by informing and educating society about the origins, results as well as the impact of FASD.

Avril Cupido

Tel: 021 637 8158
Fax: 021 637 8152
Email: Website:


Contact Details
Dr. S. Marais -
Tel: 021 938 0407
Fax: 021 938 0381