Stephenson & Fleming, LLP was represented at the North Carolina Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Building Understanding and Coalitions conference in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 27, 2019. Both Deana Fleming, JD and Jamie Bazemore, Adoption Facilitator, attended the day long meeting and conference.

It was an excellent experience and highly educational regarding the rates of FASD within the general population, child welfare population, and adult and juvenile justice populations. Data shared at the conference indicates that up to 1 in 6 first graders has a FASD and that up to 70% of the population of children in foster care potentially have a FASD. Those are shocking numbers. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug to use during pregnancy, more dangerous than heroine, opioids, marijuana, etc. We also learned how we as professionals can be of service to the families at risk for, managing, or in need of evaluation for FASD diagnoses.

In addition, Jamie Bazemore, Stephenson & Fleming’s Adoption Facilitator, participated on the panel titled, FASD in The Context of North Carolina with representatives from Disability Rights North Carolina, the National Disability Rights Network, and the NC Department of Public Safety’s Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice.

Jamie spoke about the opportunities to incorporate FASD in current and ongoing North Carolina Child Welfare initiatives including Rylan’s Law implementation and Family First Prevention Services Act implementation; the regionalization of the Department of Social Services supervision system; diligent recruitment, retention, and licensure of foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers; trauma-informed models of care; and sex trafficking prevention for high risk populations including those children and youth in foster care and those who may be at higher risk due to an FASD diagnosis.

To learn more about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders visit NCFASDInformed.org.

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