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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (29 November) . . Page.. 5349 ..


Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) I can confirm that on 9 May 2018, I noted in the Assembly that training on how best to work with and support detainees with FASD should be part of the constellation of staff training on responding to trauma and mental health.

(a) In relation to diagnosis, the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD does not include a standardised screening tool for FASD. It only provides the diagnostic instrument of FASD. Internationally there is no validated standardised screening tool for FASD. The diagnosis of FASD cannot be made solely by a General Practitioner or Psychiatrist. The diagnosis and comprehensive assessment for FASD clinically should be made by a paediatrician. In accordance with the Australian Guide, diagnosing FASD is complex, and requires multiple assessments of a range of impacting factors over a long period of time. This can include assessment of the young person's obstetric development records, maternal pre- and post-natal alcohol and substance exposures and known genetic syndromes, and may extend to genetic testing and involvement of the young person's mother for vital clinical information about the pregnancy to inform the assessment. Following those assessments, the outcome of the pre-natal alcohol exposure is determined which then informs the treatment plan for ongoing care.

While Justice Health Services (JHS) does not specifically assess young people at Bimberi for FASD on induction, JHS screens for key behavioural and clinical indications that can be found in FASD. If identified, a referral is made to a Paediatrician for assessment and diagnosis. JHS, in conjunction with Child and Youth Protection Services, develops a plan to provide ongoing care for the young person to manage their symptoms of the identified behavioural and clinical indications of FASD, while the formal diagnostic process is occurring.

Canberra Health Services works with Child and Youth Protection Services concerning the young people in Bimberi to support those who may be impacted socially and behaviourally by FASD, even if a formal diagnosis is not possible. There is no medical intervention for adolescents with FASD. Most young people with FASD also have a diagnosis of a mental illness or disorder. JHS provides care and treatment for all young people in Bimberi with a mental illness and organises follow up in the community when the young person is released.

(b) Community Services Directorate staff are well trained in understanding the needs of young people, addressing and supporting their needs and delivering a trauma informed service. The Bimberi seven-week induction program includes training on responding to trauma and mental health and is delivered by experts from ACT Health and the Australian Childhood Foundation.

The Community Services Directorate will continue to be guided by health and trauma experts; such as JHS, ACT Health and the Australian Childhood Foundation in delivering best practice training to Bimberi and Child and Youth Protection Services staff on how to appropriately support young people with a disability and or mental illness, including FASD.

Once developed, the ACT Disability Justice Strategy will provide further guidance and advice on how best to cater to the needs of any person in contact with the justice system who experiences inequality on the basis of their disability, this encompasses people with FASD.


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