Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

Kay Kelly BA

Kay Kelly came to the University of Washington after an extensive career in criminal justice. She worked for nine years as a probation officer for the state of California, and for twenty years as a federal probation officer. She subsequently served for three years as a mitigation specialist for the capital habeas unit of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles.

In 2001 she joined the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit (FADU) at the University of Washington, working with Dr. Ann Streissguth. With a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she and Dr. Streissguth established the FASD Legal Issues Resource Center. In that role, Ms. Kelly has planned and/or participated in numerous trainings for judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors and other court professionals throughout the United States, and in numerous foreign countries. Since 2013 she has organized a series of conferences about FASD and the law held in conjunction with the biennial UBC-Vancouver International Conference on FASD.

Ms. Kelly was instrumental in the organization of the first forensic FASD diagnostic team, FASDExperts, and in the passage of an American Bar Association Resolution on FASD in 2012.


Project Director, FASD Legal Issues Resource Center
Research Coordinator, Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit

Linked Information

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  • 2021 Justice Star from FASD United, for work ensuring fair treatment in the legal system for children and adults living with FASD


  • Board Member, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFAS) Washington
  • Author, Preface, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): A Guide for Forensic Mental Health Assessment (2021)
  • Moderator, FASD-Justice Listserve
  • Keynote Speaker, Lakeland Centre for FASD: Second Annual FASD Virtual Conference, “Let’s Continue The Conversation, FASD and The Justice System” (2021)
  • Podcast, “A Legacy in FASD and The Law—A Conversation with Kay Kelly,” FASD Hope Podcast (2022)


Research & Other Projects