NOFAS Launches FASD Justice Task Force

Under the guidance of William J. Edwards, a member of the NOFAS Board of Directors and a Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Larry Burd, Director of the North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center, and Diane Smith Howard, Senior Staff Attorney with National Disability Rights Network, NOFAS has established an FASD Justice Task Force.

The Task Force is developing and presenting training conferences for legal professionals and other audiences, disseminating legal resources and materials, and will be advocating for the inclusion of FASD in State intellectual disability definitions, the enactment of sentencing mitigation statutes, and mandatory FASD training for criminal justice personnel, among other policy and legislative provisions.

Already this year, the Task Force has co-sponsored two enormously successful training conferences, one in Maryland in conjunction with the Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children Association, and in New Orleans, Louisiana, at Louisiana State University with over 30 national and local partners.

The Task Force will be adding new members this spring, and is currently planning or co-sponsoring training conferences scheduled for this year in California, Maine, and New York.

Visit the FASD Justice Task Force at nofas.org for more information about the Task Force, its members, recent conferences, and to watch excerpts of training videos featuring Task Force members.

The page also includes numerous resources, including articles from the seminal double issue of the Journal of Psychiatry & Law edited by Mr. Edwards and focused entirely on FASD. Additional resources include the American Bar Association’s landmark FASD Resolution, in-depth information for legal professionals representing offenders living with FASD, case histories, and other invaluable materials and referrals.

Check back soon for upcoming conference dates and agendas, PowerPoint presentations on FASD topics within the legal arena, and for the new Task Force video for protection and advocacy attorneys. Contact NOFAS for more information or with suggestions.