Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and its intersections with the youth justice system

Anita Gibbs (Associate Professor, University of Otago) is a longstanding social worker, teacher, researcher and advocate for young people with FASD and their families. In 2020 she received the Universities New Zealand ‘Critic and Conscience of Society’ award for her outstanding work in this area. Anita is currently undertaking research with caregivers and stakeholders on the topic of living well with FASD across the lifespan. 

In this podcast, we explore foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and its intersections with the youth criminal justice system in Aotearoa New Zealand. FASD is a lifelong disability that leads to particular issues making children and young people more vulnerable to coming into contact with the police and justice processes. We chat about brain domains, making disability accommodations, supporting families and what works best for youth involved in the youth justice system. We discuss what good practice looks like from a social worker and other professional perspective.

This podcast is especially relevant as September 9th is international FASD day.

Links to a few of the resources Anita mentioned in this podcast, and general info about FASD:

10 brain domains

Screen/checklist of FASD

Characteristics of FASD across the lifespan

Thinking differently

Behavioural symptoms and accommodations

Improving treatment and outcomes for young people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the youth justice system: A social work led response and practice framework by Vanessa Oatley and Anita Gibbs available from

I am a caregiver resource

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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