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Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. MST
Length: Forty-five minutes
Speakers: Sharon Pearcey and Donna Kristiansen
At the end of the webcast, there were a few questions from the live chat left unanswered. Please see the questions and answers below:
Q: Do we have FASD courts in Canada, particularly in Alberta?
A: No we do not have specific FASD courts in Canada. The Justice system is keenly aware of the issues those affected by FASD have. The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Justice Support Project (“the Project”) is a partnership between Alberta Justice and Solicitor General FASD Initiatives and the Calgary and Edmonton Youth Criminal Defence Offices. The Project organizes case conferences to assist young persons with an FASD diagnosis who have been in conflict with the law. Conferences are ordered by youth court judges under Section 19 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Project convenes a conference among the young person’s supports (personal and professional). Such individuals may include, for example, a parent or guardian, probation officer, child welfare representative, FASD Justice Project representative, the FASD assessor, and so on. During the case conference, the young person’s FASD assessment is reviewed, current supports and supports required to assist the young person to improve his or her life course and to avoid criminal involvement are identified, and recommendations are made to assist the young person to successfully complete his or her disposition. This information is summarized in a report (“Section 19 report”), which is submitted to the ordering judge, who may choose to draw on the report in making decisions about sentencing.
Q: Are there mentors available throughout Alberta?
A: Yes. Mentors are available through the 12 FASD Networks throughout Alberta along with other programs for example Catholic Social Services and Bissell Centre.
Q: Does Alberta have diagnostic capacity for adults?
A: Capacity varies throughout the Province. FASD networks throughout the province have assessment and diagnostic teams. Their capacity is individual depending on many factors. Further information regarding adult assessment can be found on the website. www.fasd.alberta.cac
Q: What steps are being taken to move towards FASD specific sentencing?
A: Along with the above noted FASD Justice Support Project, the courts recognize the need for plain language sentencing conditions for those affected by FASD. It emphasizes that conditions need to be based on the individual strengths and deficits identified in a FASD assessment. Individuals affected by FASD tend to do better with clear and direct “what do to” statements vs. “what not to do” statements. It would also look the number of conditions that may be issued for someone affected by FASD just as much as plain language
Q: How did the FASD mentor happen in Mayerthorpe? We are from Brooks we need a HUGE FASD mentor here.
A: The process began with the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Justice Committee engaging in discussion with the courts and the Northwest Central FASD Network. Community consultation and needs assessment were completed prior to funding accessed through Alberta Health for a three year project. The project was to provide mentorship to individuals from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. Once the project ended, Yellowhead Tribal Community Corrections Services continued with the mentorship/FASD justice liaison. Although our Network mentors provide support for their clients attending court and liaison with probation, lawyers and Crown to assist their clients navigate the justice system, they are not available to the courts on a daily basis. I suggest contacting the Southeast Alberta FASD Network to enquire about services offered.
Q: Does the network work directly with individuals to create more appropriate social skills/decisions, etc. So repeat offending does not continue to happen?
A: Alberta FASD Service Networks provide a number of client driven supports that may include: assistance with accessing community support, financial support, Persons with Developmental Disabilities, housing, treatment and other necessary services.
Q: There is an individual that was in process of getting an assessment and who is now incarcerated in ERC? How can I ensure that he is getting the supports he requires?
A: ERC uses Alberta Health Services to provide supports and services for those who require them.
Q: Who will pay for an assessment?
A: Assessments are generally paid for by the FASD network where the individual resides. There are also private clinics that can be used by individuals who have the means to fund the assessment.