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Reporter Vivian Nereim began to follow this story one year ago, when she met Danny and heard his story. Seeking to follow up on the Post-Gazette's 2005 investigation, she requested from the state Department of Public Welfare all incident reports filed between 2005 and 2010 pertaining to physical restraints in residential facilities in the Pittsburgh region. From September to December 2010, the DPW provided nearly 400 incident reports, with personal information redacted.
Asked in January to provide all incident reports from the same time period in a seven-county area, a DPW spokesperson directed the paper to file a Right-to-Know request, which was subsequently denied by the agency. The Post-Gazette appealed. In May, the Office of Open Records upheld the DPW's decision.
Because of this, the incident reports obtained by the Post-Gazette do not provide a complete account of injuries or trauma to children and staff, restraint-related or otherwise, in state-licensed residential facilities. According to legal documents filed by the DPW, the body of information requested -- but denied -- represented about 6,400 reports.
First Published June 26, 2011 12:00 am