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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Implications for Juvenile and Family Court Judges

NCJ Number
Date Published
64 pages
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed this guide to increase judicial knowledge of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and their implications for court proceedings and case dispositions that involve children and families affected by FASD.
FASD refers to a broad spectrum of disorders caused by maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. The majority of people with FASD usually do not have physical manifestations of impairments and are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. For children and adults involved in the court system, permanent brain damage linked to FASD can diminish their ability to understand and participate in judicial proceedings, weigh actions and their consequences, and comply with court decisions. After providing an overview of the causes and effects of FASD, as well as a history of FASD discovery, this guide discusses the diagnosis of FASD, along with missed diagnoses, misdiagnosis, co-occurring disorders, and interventions. Another section of the guide addresses how to recognize FASD in children and parents. In the section on FASD and juvenile and family courts, topics addressed include child abuse and neglect (dependency), considerations in dependency cases, considerations in dependency cases for parents with FASD, out-of-home care, and juvenile justice cases that involve children with FASD. Some court examples consider the implications of FASD for probation screening, diagnosis, and intervention, as well as the role and recommendations for judges. 196 notes

Date Published: January 1, 2016