MDLPA: Overview - FASD and the Law

Presented By Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD | Michael Perlin, JD
Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD Michael Perlin, JD

1 Hour | 1 CE

This on-demand professional training program on Overview - FASD and the Law is presented by Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD, and Michael Perlin, JD, in partnership with the Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates (MDLPA).

Despite the movement to provide adequate care to persons with disabilities in the legal system, similar protections for persons with fetal alcohol syndrome have remained notably absent.

Support and services for persons with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) are still lacking, and FASD remains a low priority in mental disability and disability rights advocacy. FASD is linked to several factors that distinguish it as a distinct disability with unique considerations, such as high rates of mental health issues and substance use challenges, justice system involvement, and experiences of stigmatization.

Given the complexity of the diagnosis, a human-rights-based approach to supporting persons with FASD is important, including the diversity of impairment and the potential for experiences of inequality in legal and treatment settings. FASD is often overlooked or misinterpreted in the criminal court system and has yet to be fully accepted in the context of incompetency, insanity, and mitigation in criminal case law. One particular area of concern and need for reform is during the criminal sentencing phase.

Although persons with FASD share some commonalities with other disability groups and complex populations, the need for individualized services, accommodations, and trauma-informed approaches is necessary to ensure equality under the law. Therapeutic jurisprudence, a relational approach to law that emphasizes the role of empowerment, human rights, and psychological/emotional well-being in legal matters, may provide a framework to respect the rights of persons with FASD who are justice-involved.

Intended Audience

This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

CE / CPD Credit

APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Describe the etiology of FASD

Describe why FASD is so often a factor in justice involvement, especially in the case of discrete groups of marginalized persons

Describe why this issue is of relatively low priority in the “agenda” of disability rights advocates

Describe the relationship between traumatic brain injury and critical stages of the criminal trial process (including the incompetency status and the insanity defense), especially at sentencing


Presented By

Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD

Heather Ellis Cucolo is a Distinguished Adjunct professor of law and the facilitator of the joint JD/MA program with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, at New York Law School (NYLS). She is also an adjunct professor in the JM Program at Emory University School of Law, and a Fellowship faculty mem...

Presented By

Michael Perlin, JD

Michael L. Perlin is Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School (NYLS), founding director of NYLS’s Online Mental Disability Law Program, and founding director of NYLS’s International Mental Disability Law Reform Project in its Justice Action Center. He is also the co-founder of Mental Di...

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Program Partner

Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates (MDLPA)

We are proud to partner with Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, LLC for this training. MDLPA is a boutique educational training company that offers specialized mental disability law consulting, the creation or enhancement of distance learning programs, in-house or online courses, and day or weekend training seminars to reputable organizations, educational institutions, professional groups, and advocacy groups focused on providing advanced knowledge and skills to persons working with marginalized populations.

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