Rising crime rate in Kimberley prompts state to announce FASD and nationwide justice center, but still no FASD screening program


“I think there is a big investment to be made. Maybe the way to do that is to not just focus on training to screen for FASD, but maybe provide training on neurodevelopmental disorders as a collective,” she said. .

“Then it’s about funding that training and those resources, and being able to provide FASD testing in remote areas, rather than bringing people into town or going to the parts most populated regions.

“At the moment, FASD is often misdiagnosed as autism or ADHD.”

Dr. Jocelyn Jones is a Nyoongar woman from the National Institute for Drug Research at Curtin University. She is a program leader and senior researcher with the Needs of Aboriginal Australians programme.

Jones also said there needs to be better communication between remote Indigenous communities and state government agencies.

“Many women don’t come forward even though they suspect their child might have FASD because they are afraid the Department of Child Protection will take their children away from them,” he said. she declared.

“We need to remove this barrier with child protection because early detection is important, but would mean less if people don’t come forward for help.

“I think it’s also a matter of education and awareness. People have heard the term FASD, but they don’t know much about it.

She said the lack of testing had a huge impact on remote communities and misdiagnosis or failure to understand FASD was a contributing factor to a range of other social issues.

A state government spokeswoman said all children in care had undergone a health assessment and from that point on any specialist assessments required, of which FASD could be one, have been launched.

Assessments of children in care for FASD were regularly approved.

“It is important to note that there is currently no reliable screening tool for FASD, as indicated by the Telethon Kids Institute study,” she said.

“FASD screening is not universal for children entering the justice system, but it is done at the request of the juvenile court. In addition, youth justice staff receive training on FASD.

She said the government is committed to improving outcomes for vulnerable children. This included a commitment to a five-year Indigenous Youth Wellness Engagement Strategy in partnership with Indigenous-controlled organizations and communities. The first progress report was released in September 2021, with the next due later this year.

The state also announced in March $3.5 million for the pilot health care navigator program being tested in Mirrabooka and the southwest employing health personnel, including Indigenous people, to s ensuring that children in care receive the medical checks they need.

This month, he announced $11 million for the Target 120 program to tackle the drivers of youth crime (named substance abuse, lack of housing, domestic violence, trauma, mental health issues and poor school attendance). ) in nine new locations – Broome, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby, Karratha, Newman, Carnarvon, Mandurah and Ellenbrook – for 10-14 year olds at risk of becoming repeat offenders, a program that has already proven effective in initial deployment sites of Bunbury, Armadale, Kalgoorlie, Kununurra, Northam, Albany, Port Hedland, Mirrabooka, Geraldton, Rockingham and Midland.

With Emma Young

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