Justice and the Legal System
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Justice and the Legal System

If your child is involved with the police and the law for criminal behaviour, it may help to explain FASD and your child’s unique needs to police, lawyers, judges, and correctional staff. This helps to ensure appropriate treatment at all levels.
You may be able to request alternative measures to be used instead of legal charges, such as: supervised restitution, letters of apology to those harmed and stolen items being returned.

FASD Behaviours

  • Older children and teens with FASD may need help to stay safe and avoid getting into trouble because of their lack of impulse control, poor judgment and poor memory.
  • Their difficulties may cause them to engage in risky activities, be easily convinced to do things that are illegal, take the blame for others, and/or be the victim of criminal acts.
  • Your child may need you to act as their ‘external brain’ to help them make good decisions and understand consequences of their actions.


  • Explain important issues: Talk to your child early about safety, ownership, right and wrong. Repeat these conversations often.
  • Minimize negative influences: Get to know your child’s friends and their parents and supervise interactions when you can. Help your child find good role models and friends that do not use drugs or alcohol, or engage in risky behaviour.
  • Stay calm: If your child is in trouble with the law, seek support and guidance if needed. Getting angry at your child or others will not help.
  • Advocate on behalf of your child: You know your child best, so don’t be afraid to speak up about appropriate charges, sentencing, and restorative justice.
  • Have your child carry an ID information card (such as one of these).

For a printable tip sheet of this information, click here.

Developmental Resource Centre Waterloo RegionSunbeam Centre