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ABA FASD resolution and report

American Bar Association – 2012

This document contains an American Bar Association resolution on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and a supplementary report on the issue. The resolution states that legal professionals should identify and respond to FASD through enhanced awareness and multidisciplinary collaboration. It also urges for the passage of laws and policies that would acknowledge and treat the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and assist people with FASD. Report presents background on the issue, and discusses how the legal profession can improve services to people with FASD who are involved in the criminal justice system. Explains the various types of FASD, including fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Describes the dangers of alcohol exposure during pregnancy and discusses diagnosis and treatment. Presents data showing that youth and adults with FASD are often in trouble with the law, noting issues with FASD and cognitive/behavioral problems. One study found that over 50% of individuals with FASD have some form of criminal justice involvement. Suggests that an FASD diagnosis should be considered in the guilt/innocence phase of trials, and notes that FASD should be a mitigating factor in sentencing, particularly for juveniles. Discusses the impact of FASD on the child welfare system, citing data showing a large percentage of FASD children in foster care. FASD also has an impact on disability benefits. Profiles a multidisciplinary FASD partnership in Alaska, and a juvenile court FASD project in Colorado.