PA lawmakers troubled by prescribing to state’s foster, delinquent youth

Juvenile justice experts described to a panel of lawmakers Friday the potential dangers pyschotropic medications pose to vulnerable youth.

They didn’t stop at explaining the problem either.

With a dozen lawmakers in one room for the third-annual Children & Youth Disability & Mental Health Summit, they made pleas for additional funding, data collection and transparency.

State won’t disclose names of doctors prescribing in youth corrections

VIDEO The state defied an Office of Open Records ruling and took the matter to court to conceal the names of doctors prescribing to kids confined in its six correctional facilities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services insisted the physicians who care for and prescribe to the state’s most chronic or violent youth offenders would be endangered if their names were made public.

Where’s the oversight of psychiatric meds for PA youth offenders?

VIDEO Pennsylvania is lagging when it comes to tracking the powerful psychiatric medications kids get in the state’s youth correctional facilities.

While other states have reformed the way they control and track such medications so that it is done systemwide, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services follows only the total amount paid for the drugs prescribed in its six facilities on a systemic basis.

Troubled kids, powerful drugs

PublicSource built a database of the medications ordered by the six state-operated youth correctional facilities from 2007 through 2013.

The high-security system has been shrinking over the last decade, but the facilities remain to take the state’s most chronic or violent juvenile offenders.

Use this tool to search through the psychotropic drugs prescribed to youth offenders in the state facilities.

PA juvenile offenders given psychiatric drugs at high rates

VIDEO Thousands of at-risk kids lived in six state-operated youth development centers and forestry camps from 2007 through 2013. Within the razor wire — or dense tree lines in forestry camps — psychiatric medications are flowing, despite the potential consequences to the developing brains and bodies of kids.