Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 29 November 2018) . . Page.. 5350 ..
(2) I can confirm that on 9 May 2018, I informed the Assembly that the Blueprint for Youth Justice Taskforce (the Taskforce) is considering emerging challenges related to young people with disability and mental health concerns who come into contact with the justice system.
When establishing Terms of Reference for the Taskforce, I identified enhanced support for young people with disability in contact with the youth justice system as a focus area. This was a key theme in the mid-term progress report for the Taskforce, which was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly in March 2018. It remains a priority and will be addressed in the Taskforce’s Final Report to guide efforts over the next four years under the Blueprint.
Ongoing efforts will seek to promote better identification and service responses for children and young people with disability, including FASD, through consistent and comprehensive screening. I anticipate that further progress will be achieved through actions under the ACT Disability Justice Strategy (the Strategy), which is in development. Early work to develop the Strategy identified screening as an ongoing priority, to support appropriate and timely support responses for people with disability who may interact with the justice system.
In July this year, the Taskforce conducted a workshop to consider two priorities. This included discussion of how best to support young people with disability in the context of the youth justice system. Participants considered options for additional screening at key transition points to enable early intervention support for children and young people with disability, including FASD. Responding to disability from a youth justice perspective is an area of future focus for youth justice. Further work is ongoing to explore options for screening that will assist in creating awareness of functional impact and subsequent reasonable adjustments.
(3) The Commonwealth Department of Health is currently leading work to develop the National Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategic Action Plan 2018-2028. This plan is expected to be released by the end of this year, and the ACT is participating in its development.
The draft ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan includes a priority action to implement appropriate actions at territory level to support the national FASD Strategic Action Plan. Following finalisation of the Action Plan, the relevant organisations and stakeholders will be identified and consulted.
Work to progress appropriate screening and identification tools has also been identified as an early priority of the ACT Disability Justice Strategy. In this context, work looking at screening and identification of disability across the justice system will seek to identify functional impairments and the environmental modifications and support required to lessen or remove the impact of these functional impairments. This approach caters 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.
The Disability Justice Strategy is premised on the social model of disability rather than a medical diagnosis model of disability which sees ‘disability’ as the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers. It therefore carries the implication that the physical, attitudinal, communication and social environment must change to enable people living with impairments to participate in society on an equal