Pedruzzi, R.A., Hamilton, O., Hodgson, H.H.A. et al. Navigating complexity to support justice-involved youth with FASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities: needs and challenges of a regional workforce. Health Justice 9, 8 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40352-021-00132-y
Young people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can face significant challenges in their lives, including overrepresentation in the justice system from a young age. Police questioning and court proceedings can be difficult for these young people to navigate. Practice and policy responses are necessary to identify these individuals, provide appropriate support/rehabilitation, and upskill the justice workforce. The aim of this research was to determine the unmet workforce development needs of a regional workforce providing care and support to youth involved with the justice system. Interviews were conducted with 29 participants from 14 organisations to understand the support provided to youth, existence and uptake of referral pathways, and unmet needs.
Results revealed a workforce that wants to see improvements to outcomes for young people with FASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities who enter the youth justice system. However more support is required through training, ongoing funding, and assistance to develop FASD informed work practices.
The workforce supporting youth to navigate the justice system requires practical interventions to achieve best practice so that young people with FASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities receive the support that they need. Following the interviews a model of care tool was developed and piloted in the sector. The tool includes current pathways through the justice system and provides resources to assist staff in achieving best practice care for young people with FASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.
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