American Bar Association Resolution on FASD: A Call to Action for the Criminal Justice System

A high percentage (60-80%) of individuals with FASD are arrested by age 18.  Due to their special needs, they require unique treatment and services to help improve their success rate in the community and prevent future trouble with the law.  For this reason, Washington State, Minnesota, and Alaska have established “FASD courts,” similar to local specialty courts for veterans, individuals with substance use disorders, and other  issues that require specialized referral and follow up.   The American Bar Association passed the following resolution in 2012 to recommend training on FASD for judges, attorneys, social workers, probation officers and others involved in the criminal justice system. http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/mental_physical_disability/Resolution_112B.authcheckdam.pdf.

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges attorneys and judges, state, local, and specialty bar associations, and law school clinical programs to help identify and respond effectively to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in children and adults, through training to enhance awareness of FASD and its impact on individuals in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems and the value of collaboration with medical, mental health, and disability experts.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the passage of laws, and adoption of policies at all levels of government, that acknowledge and treat the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and better assist individuals with FASD.

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