Thursday, December 1, 2022

Play

Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

Play

The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Lack of PA Juvenile Detention Space Reaches Critical Stage

Play

Wednesday, August 31, 2022   

One goal of youth and family support services is to keep kids out of juvenile detention, but for those who are accused of serious crimes, Pennsylvania doesn't have enough space in its detention centers, and it is being described as a crisis.

A report by the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission outlined the effects of facility closures on accessibility to services. Since 2006, some 15 juvenile detention centers have closed in the state.

Abigail Wilson, director of child welfare, juvenile justice, and education services for the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth, and Family Services, explained a few factors contributing to the lack of available beds.

"Sometimes the youth need doesn't match the facility that they're being sent to," Wilson pointed out. "Sometimes there are staffing challenges because, in detention centers, there has to be a certain staff-to-youth ratio. And if they can't meet that, they can't continue to accept youth. There are sometimes medical concerns that can't be addressed at the facility."

She noted most recently, COVID has added to the complications. There are now 14 facilities providing secure detention services across the state, and 61 of 67 counties must vie for beds at just seven of them. The report showed staff shortages mean not all the beds can be used.

In the meantime, experts emphasized detention is never the ideal solution for a troubled youth. Wilson argued more mental health treatment, support for rebuilding family relationships and greater community involvement can all help contribute to preventing young people from entering the juvenile justice system or being placed in detention, but it takes funding and coordination.

"Building community-based centers, and places where families can come and receive help without stigmatized feeling, or feeling judged in a certain way," Wilson suggested. "Screening and assessment for mental health or needs, education or tutoring services are helpful; crisis intervention, family counseling."

Another consequence of the detention-bed shortage is young people often must be housed out of their home county, which puts a strain on families as well as juvenile probation departments.

Disclosure: The Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Education, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The gold dome on the Iowa Capitol has been gilded five times. The gold leaf covering the dome is 250,000th of an inch thick and is 23.75 karats. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …


Environment

Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…

Environment

Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …


Tom Oliver, center, receives the 2022 Washington Andrus Award for Community Service. (Bruce Carlson/AARP Washington)

Social Issues

A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …

Social Issues

Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…

The 2020 Iowa caucuses were beset with tabulation problems, which set off a discussion on whether to shake up the Democratic primary process. (Scoutori/Adobestock)

Social Issues

A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …

Environment

Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …

Environment

By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021