Our project was conducted at Banksia Hill Detention Centre, the only youth detention centre in WA. Young people aged 10 to 17 years can be held at Banksia Hill on remand, or on a sentencing order.
We worked with approximately 100 young people during 2015 – 2016, who voluntarily participated in comprehensive health and neurocognitive assessments.
The assessments were conducted by a paediatrician, a neuropsychology team, a speech pathologist, and an occupational therapist. A research officer conducted interviews with the young people and their circles of care to obtain rich case-histories, including information on prenatal alcohol exposure.
The clinical team met to discuss the results and to develop an assessment and recommendations report for every young person they saw.
- assessment results
- strengths and difficulties of the young person
- recommendations to support and promote the young person’s health and wellbeing, as well as information for referrals to other health specialists where required.
Reports were shared with the young people using simple verbal and written language, as well as with their family/caregivers.
Where consent was given, the reports were also provided to Youth Justice Services to enrich their care and management while in detention, and to inform plans for the young person’s transition back to community.
- A workforce development initiative that aims to support staff in caring for young people with neurodevelopmental impairments has also been developed and implemented, and is currently being evaluated.
- Qualitative evaluation of this project has occurred. The study found young people who participated in the prevalence study valued the assessments, particularly receiving knowledge of their individual strengths. Data continue to be analysed for other participants and results will be available in the near future.
- Development and evaluation of a FASD screening tool. The data collected are being analysed to assess whether a simple and useful screening tool can be identified for use in the justice system.
Publications from this research
There have been multiple articles related to this project published between 2016 and 2020. You can find these publications on the FASD Hub.
Other research related to the Banksia project
There is currently one PhD candidate continuing work using data from the Banksia Hill Detention Centre project:
Communication, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and youth justice
Two PhD and one Masters student have submitted and passed the requirements for their award:
Young people in detention in Western Australia: An examination of motor skills and the effect of prenatal alcohol exposure
Talking, Hearing, Understanding, Knowling: A qualitative exploration of the experiences of justice-involved youth undergoing assessment for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in a juvenile detention centre
Improving the management of young people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in detention