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Some Providers Disagree With State On Approach To Eliminate Restraints
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 5, 2006

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA--Many young people receiving services in Pennsylvania's community-based system have been seriously injured -- and at least three have died in the past seven years -- while being physically restrained by staff.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the state's top Department of Welfare official, Estelle Richman, would like to change that by banning the use of certain restraints in youth group homes and other programs.

But Richman faces opposition from group home operators who argue that they cannot keep the residents safe without restraining them.

The feelings on both sides are so strong that a committee Richman set up to address the issue took six months just to agree on one thing: that the committee should be called the "Restraint Initiative" rather than the "No-Restraint Task Force".

Richman told the Post-Gazette that she understands it would take years to actually make the state's youth programs restraint-free. In the meantime, she is pushing for a three-minute time limit on restraints, and trying to educate providers on how to avoid situations in which children's safety might be compromised.

Richman said she understands from her own experience working at a facility that staff can be trained properly to help children de-escalate so restraints won't be needed.

"I know what it takes," Richman said. "I know exactly what it takes to avoid restraints."

"State moving to end restraint at youth homes" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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