Staff psychologists critical of plan at juvenile home

[Source: “Staff psychologists critical of plan at juvenile home,” Des Moines Register, 10 August 2013, by Clark Kauffman]

The state-run Iowa Juvenile Home currently has “no coherent program” of treatment, one of the home’s staff psychologists has told federal investigators, newly disclosed public records show.

Another staff psychologist at the juvenile home — where youths have been placed in isolation cells for weeks and months at a time — has reportedly asked investigators for information about whether that practice is legal.

In addition, that psychologist also admitted to federal investigators that he was concerned about telling them “too much,” according to the records obtained via Iowa’s open-records law.

The Des Moines Register reported last month that the Toledo facility, which provides housing, education and treatment to children with behavioral problems, is the focus of an investigation by Disability Rights Iowa, a federally funded organization that advocates for the disabled.

A week ago, the Register revealed that for at least 17 years the home has placed children in isolation cells — sometimes in violation of court orders. In one instance, a girl in her mid-teens spent almost all of 2012 in an unfurnished, 10-foot-by-12-foot concrete-block cell at the home.

The newly disclosed public records include summaries of interviews by investigators with two staff psychologists at the home, David Barche and Thomas Potter.

The organization’s written summary of the interviews indicates both of the psychologists expressed concerns with how the home, which is run by the Iowa Department of Human Services…

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Categories: Justice Reform

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