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Health Policy Expert Joins New TYC Juvenile Justice Task Force
Eduardo J. Sanchez, M.D., director of the Institute for Health Policy at The University of Texas School of Public Health, has joined a blue ribbon task force named to recommend improvements in treatment and case management at the Texas Youth Commission (TYC).
The “Transforming Juvenile Justice in Texas: A Framework for Action” task force, chaired by David W. Springer, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Social Work and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, includes juvenile justice experts from around the country. The expert panel will meet May 21-22 in Austin.
“The Institute for Health Policy wants to be service- oriented,” said Sanchez. “I see this as an opportunity for the institute and me to contribute to the improved health and well-being of troubled young Texans by assembling the evidence about what works, analyzing the evidence, and helping to make informed policy recommendations based on the evidence.”
The scope of the task force’s charge has been expanded to include recommendations regarding reforming the entire juvenile justice system in Texas.
“While what happened at TYC is extremely unfortunate and tragic, it also presents a unique opportunity for the state,” said Springer. “I am delighted that Dr. Sanchez and the Institute for Health Policy are able to join this blue ribbon task force. Any discussion of reforming the juvenile justice system in Texas would be incomplete without a serious consideration of integrated health care for juveniles, and their expertise will prove to be invaluable.”
The TYC cares for, treats and educates the state’s most serious and chronic juvenile offenders. In March, Gov. Rick Perry placed the TYC under conservatorship to guide reform of the agency’s current correctional and rehabilitative systems following reports of sexual abuse of youth.
In April, TYC Acting Executive Director Ed Owens called for the 22-member task force to assist the embattled agency in developing a new TYC correctional rehabilitation system.
“In his role as chairman, Dr. Springer has worked to identify key panelists, is assisting us in inviting other state and national practitioners to make presentations to the panel and ultimately will provide us with a document that will identify the goals, objectives and possible activities to be implemented,” Owens said.
The panel will report its findings and recommendations to the Texas Legislature before the end of the current session.
Before joining the UT School of Public Health in October 2006, Sanchez served as commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services for nearly five years, where he led an agency with more than 11,500 employees and an annual budget of about $2.3 billion. He practiced family medicine until 2001, and also served as health authority and chief medical officer for the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department from 1994 to 1998. See more at: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2007/05/16/social_work/
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