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Podcast: "Technology and Advocacy," featuring Sharon Nelson, CASA volunteer and 2013 president of the Virginia State Bar.

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Video: ReMoved,a 13-minute exploration of the complex emotions experienced by a child in foster care.

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The Judges' Page newsletter is published by the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: How Can Courts Respond Effectively?

judge j. dean lewisWinter 2014

J. Dean Lewis, Judge (retired)
Former Member, National CASA Association Board of Trustees
Past President, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

This issue of The Judges’ Page addresses fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in children, youth and adults involved in the court system. Thank you to Kathryn Kelly for securing the articles in this issue. Kathryn serves as the project director of the FASD Legal Issues Resource Center at the University of Washington Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit in Seattle, WA.

Read the full editor's message.

Articles in This Issue

American Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare System Reforms Addressing FASD
Howard Davidson, Director, Center on Children and the Law, American Bar Association
Kathryn Kelly, Project Director, FASD Legal Issues Resource Center, University of Washington

Summary: As juvenile courts become more aware of the presence of this disability in their dependency and delinquency caseloads, efforts to modify practices to improve outcomes have grown.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): What Judges and Other Legal Professionals Need to Know
Natalie Novick Brown, PhD, Forensic Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Therese Grant, PhD, Associate Professor and Director, Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, University of Washington
Sterling Clarren, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington and University of British Columbia and Scientific Director, Canada FASD Research Network

Summary: The authors introduce the topic of FASD and its relevance within the judicial and legal context, indicating how these brain-based conditions might look in court-involved youth.

A Neurodevelopmental Paradigm for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Susan D. Rich, MD, MPH
Natalie Novick Brown, PhD

Summary: This article provides an overview of how FASD is diagnosed in the new DSM-5 in order to empower judges and other legal professionals for decision making involving afflicted individuals.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Key Services for Children in Foster Care
Lyn Laboriel, MD, Director, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Clinic, LAC+USC Hospital
Jennifer Lorson, JD, Attorney, Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles

Summary: The authors outline the challenges faced by children and youth with FASD and discuss services to effectively address them.

Parents Who Have FASD in Dependency Courts
Stephen Greenspan, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado

Summary: The author provides information for courts dealing with parents who have FASD

FASD: Modifications for the Disability in the Courtroom
Hon. Michael I. Jeffery, Superior Court Judge, Second Judicial District, Barrow, Alaska

Summary: A rural judge knowledgeable about FASD but without local resources for diagnosis or a “mental health court” offers some suggestions on adaptations that can be accomplished in the courtroom.

Identifying Youth with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Juvenile Justice System – A Practical Approach
Susan Shepard Carlson, JD, Judicial Officer, Hennepin County Juvenile District Court
Meghan Louis, MA

Summary: The authors offer a practical approach to identifying FASD in adjudicated delinquents and improving outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.

Yukon Community Wellness Court
Hon. Karen Ruddy, Regional Director, Department of Justice Canada

Summary: The author describes the creation and work of the Yukon Community Wellness Court, developed to reduce recidivism by providing offenders with therapeutic alternatives tailored to their needs, thereby enhancing the safety of Yukon communities and ensuring the needs of victims are met.

Innovative FASD Intersectoral Training and Judge-Led Discussion in Saskatchewan
Carol Snell, Chief Judge, Provincial Court of Saskatchewan
Betty Ann Pottruff, QC [Queen’s Counsel], Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives and Program Support Branch, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice

Summary: The authors describe the process of convening a multi-location FASD training designed to increase information-sharing and collaboration among organizations working with individuals affected by FASD

Recognizing and Serving Children with FAS/FASD from the Bench
Hon. Peggy Walker, Juvenile Court Judge, Douglas County (GA) President-Elect, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Summary: The author shares advice and lessons learned from 23 years of experience on the bench about recognizing and serving children with FAS and FASD.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): How Judges Can Improve Outcomes for Affected Children and Parents (links to March 2012 Judges' Page)
Larry Burd, PhD, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of North Dakota School of Medicine
Director, North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center and FAS Clinic
Katrine Herrick, MS, Court Teams Project Coordinator, ZERO TO THREE
The Hon. Peggy Walker, Juvenile Court Judge, Douglas County, GA

Summary: The authors provide extensive background on FASD and its prevalence among court-involved children and their parents, and introduce a draft of the FASD judicial bench cards. This article was written for the March 2012 Judges' Page newsletter on young children involved in the dependency court.

Social Security Benefits May Provide Greater Stability for Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Amy Gilbrough, Attorney, Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough, LLP

Summary: A brief description of potential Social Security benefits for children and adults dealing with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Focusing on the Perception Piece of the FASD Puzzle Faced by Schools: Making a Difference for Students
Debra L. Evensen, MA, Fetal Alcohol Consultation & Training Services

Summary: This article focuses on the misfit between the abilities of students with a history of prenatal exposure to alcohol and the expectations of the education system; the importance of medical diagnosis of a FASD; and how techniques fit for developmental age can lead to success.

Advocating for the Proper Educational Services and Community Support for Children with FASD
William J. Edwards, Deputy Public Defender, Los Angeles, CA
Monica C. Leinberger, Lower Kuskokwim School District, Bethel, AK

Summary: The authors outline steps to ensuring that comprehensive, supportive services are provided in order to foster a better life outcome for FASD-affected children.

Facing the Challenge: FASD and Frontline Policing
Donna Hassman, Sergeant, Regina Police Service
Michelle Stewart PhD, Assistant Professor, Justice Studies, University of Regina

Summary: This article discusses some of the challenges frontline police encounter when working with someone who has FASD, highlighting some areas where changes can, and are, being made to help bring about better justice outcomes for individuals with FASD.

Parent-Child Assistance Program Comes to Lake County Tribal Health Consortium
Daphne Colacion, Tribal Home Visiting Program Coordinator, Lake County Tribal Health Consortium
Merrill Featherstone, Human Services Director, Lake County Tribal Health Consortium

Summary: Authors describe a tribal health organization’s process of bringing a Parent Child Assistance Program for their site.

Navigating the System with FASD
Reprinted with permission from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Because children and adults who were prenatally exposed to alcohol are at higher risk for victimization and encountering the judicial system, the juvenile and family court system has an important role to play in addressing this hidden epidemic.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Implications for the Juvenile Justice System (links to March 2010 Judges' Page)
Kathryn Wosser Page, PhD
Mental Health Coordinator, Canal Alliance

Summary: Among foster children, emotional, behavioral and developmental problems are thought to be present at a rate three to six time greater than children in the general population. It is likely that FASD is a culprit in the "crossover" phenomenon. This article was written for the March 2010 Judges' Page newsletter on crossover cases.

Also see the recent Consensus Statement on Legal Issues of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, published by the Institute of Health Economics, Alberta, Canada (602 KB PDF).


National CASA Association Reprint Policy

If an article published in The Judges' Page is reproduced, credit shall be given to the author(s) of the article, the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges


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