For her dedicated service to FASD, specifically as a leading figure addressing legal issues, NOFAS enshrines Kay Kelly in the Tom and Linda Daschle Hall of Fame.
Ms. Kelly is the Project Director, and one of the founders, of the FASD Legal Issues Resource Center at the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, University of Washington, Seattle. Her work centers around assisting families whose children, adult children or other relatives have been involved in juvenile, adult, or family court. In an effort to access justice for those living with FASD, Ms. Kelly provides training for lawyers, judges, and other court professionals. In 2003 she developed an FASD Legal Issues Website, which now is maintained in conjunction with the ABA Center on Children and the Law. The Website contains a variety of law-related materials including summaries of judicial decisions in state and federal courts. Her work with the American Bar Association led to the ABA’s adoption in 2012 of a Resolution on FASD and the Law.
Since attending a 1996 workshop on FASD presented by Dr. Ann Streissguth, Ms. Kelly has worked to bring about awareness of this disability in the criminal justice system, nationally and internationally. She has given presentations on FASD and the law and FASD and addiction in a dozen countries and throughout the United States. After many years organizing panels for the conferences on FASD sponsored by the University of British Columbia, in 2013 she with two other colleagues organized an FASD and the Law Day. Those attending included judges, lawyers and others working on FASD and criminal justice issues, more than 80 individuals from eight countries, for a day long conversation on research, programming strategies, and training about FASD and legal issues. A second such conference is planned for 2015. At the request of the federal Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on FASD, Ms. Kelly and Howard Davidson from the ABA helped to organize and prepare the action plan of the Listening Session on FASD organized by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Ms. Kelly has written chapters for a number of on-line and hard copy books and journals. She edited a 2014 issue about FASD and the law for The Judges Page, an on-line journal whose 9,000 subscribers include judges, other court professionals and advocates.
Ms. Kelly began her career as a state and federal probation officer in Los Angeles. She subsequently worked as a mitigation specialist and investigator for defense teams of the Federal Public Defenders’ office in Los Angeles representing individuals on death row. At Dr. Streissguth’s suggestion, she relocated to the University of Washington to collaborate on legal issues and FASD with the Fetal and Alcohol Drug Unit. Dr. Streissguth had long been concerned about access to justice for those living with FASD. Ms. Kelly’s prior experience informs her efforts to work with families and court professionals in juvenile court, family court and adult criminal court, in order to assist all in understanding the disability and the most efficacious strategies to prevent recidivism and promote well-being of those living with FASD.