Reframing the behaviour of detained young people with FASD and other neurodevelopmental impairments

Ms Hayley Passmore1

1Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia,

2The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Background: Our recent prevalence study ascertained that 36% of young people sentenced to detention in Western Australia have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and 89% have at least one severe neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI). However, there is limited capacity among the custodial workforce to manage young people FASD or NDI, and no published interventions aiming to develop environments appropriate for detained youth with FASD. This presentation will describe the development, implementation and evaluation of Reframe the Behaviour; a training intervention aiming to upskill the custodial workforce in the management of youth with FASD and NDI.

Methods: Based at the Western Australian youth detention centre, we determined using mixed methods that inadequate training and inconsistent information-sharing processes reduced custodial staff’s ability to manage young people with FASD and NDI. These data informed the development of the intervention; a series of 9 short, educational videos delivered in a training workshop.

Results: 109 custodial and non-custodial staff members participated in the intervention evaluation.  Improvements were seen across almost all knowledge and practice items. Most respondents agreed that the information was presented in a way that was easy to understand (95%), was relevant to their needs (94%), attending the intervention was time well spent (94%), and the intervention format was helpful (93%).

Implications: All staff involved in the care of detained young people should receive comprehensive training about FASD and NDI and appropriate management strategies. Further, this training is relevant to other workforces engaging with vulnerable youth, including police, child protection, education and health services.


Hayley is a PhD Candidate at Telethon Kids and The University of Western Australia. Hayley has qualifications in Criminology and Psychology, and previous experience working with adult offenders and their families, and with vulnerable children and families across Western Australia.

As part of the first Australian study to determine the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) among young people in the justice system, Hayley has pioneered a workforce training intervention for justice professionals. This work has led to the development of a clinically and empirically grounded approach to the management and support of young people in the justice system with FASD and other neurodevelopmental impairments. For this work, Hayley has received interest and support from service-providers and government agencies, including from the police, justice, child protection, education and health sectors. Hayley is a Finalist in the 2019 WA Premier’s Science Awards ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year category, and the training resources she developed were a Finalist in the Best Instructional/Training Video or Website Award at the 2018 Australian Teachers of Media Awards.

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