Reframe the Behaviour: Evaluation of a training intervention to increase capacity in managing detained youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and neurodevelopmental impairments

Psychiatr Psychol Law. 2020 Aug 4;28(3):382-407. doi: 10.1080/13218719.2020.1780643. eCollection 2021.


The first study to investigate the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) within an Australian juvenile detention centre has identified the highest known prevalence of FASD among a justice-involved population worldwide. However, there has been limited investigation into the capacity of the custodial workforce to identify and manage young people in Australian detention centres with FASD or other neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI), and no published interventions aiming to develop environments appropriate for those with FASD in justice settings. Using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication checklist, this study describes the conception, implementation and evaluation of a training intervention aiming to upskill the custodial workforce in the management of youth with FASD and NDI; 117 staff participated in the intervention, and 109 completed pre- and post-intervention surveys. Improvements were seen across almost all knowledge and attitude items, and the intervention was considered highly necessary, appropriate and valuable by the workforce.

Keywords: FASD; fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; juvenile detention; neurodevelopmental disorder; officers; youth justice.