Summary

To require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs, and for other purposes. Read More

Status

This bill was introduced on Oct 6, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Bill Text

A BILL

To require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act: (1) Assistant secretary.--The term ``Assistant Secretary'' means the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services. (2) Child.--The term ``child'' means an individual who has not attained the age of 18. (3) Child abuse and neglect.--The term ``child abuse and neglect'' has the meaning given such term in section 3 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5101 note). (4) Covered program.-- (A) In general.--The term ``covered program'' means each location of a program operated by a public or private entity that, with respect to one or more children who are unrelated to the owner or operator of the program-- (i) provides a residential environment, such as-- (I) a program with a wilderness or outdoor experience, expedition, or intervention; (II) a boot camp experience or other experience designed to simulate characteristics of basic military training or correctional regimes; (III) a therapeutic boarding school; or (IV) a behavioral modification program; and (ii) operates with a focus on serving children with-- (I) emotional, behavioral, or mental health problems or disorders; or (II) problems with alcohol...

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State: CA

1 Supporting
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District: 1st

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Organizations Supporting

"If you walked in part way through my presentation, you might have assumed that I was talking about human rights violations in a third world country. Unfortunately, these human rights violations occurred right here in the U.S. of America." - Greg Kutz Director of Forensic Audits and Special Investigations at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Congressional Hearings "Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse at Private Residential Treatment Facilities" October 10, 2007 VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THQ5AKk_QR4 (updated Oct. 15, 2007) ----------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------- "Reports of mistreatment, abuse and neglect are widespread. There were concerns relating to 85 programs located in 23 states, and in U.S.-owned programs based in foreign countries as well . . . Because there are now hundreds of reports, related to such a diversity of programs, in such a broad range of states and countries, these reports reveal a coherent pattern of institutional maltreatment. Once a pattern becomes apparent in this manner, it is not appropriate, scientifically or ethically, to dismiss reports of maltreatment as exceptions to the norm. Rather, it becomes necessary to understand each report in the context of an evolving, societal phenomenon of institutional mistreatment and abuse, which must be acknowledged if it is to be eliminated." - Allison Pinto, Ph.D. Member of the Alliance for the Safe, Appropriate and Therapeutic Use of Residential Treatment (ASTART) Congressional Hearings "Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse at Private Residential Treatment Facilities" October 10, 2007 VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3ye8YB109M ------------ ------------ ALSO SEE Publication in the Family Court Review: http://www.cafety.org/research/121-research/460-protecting-youth-placed-in-unlicensed-unregulated-residential-treatment-facilities ----------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------- Dr. Nicki Bush explains Warning Signs and why some alumni might support trauma-inducing programs: VIDEO: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf7fKkwumpQ ----------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------- Congressional Hearings '07-'08 Testimony Links: ----------------------------------------- Cynthia Clark-Harvey - IN LOVING MEMORY OF ERICA CLARK-HARVEY: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZNMa2kC6ns ----------------------------------------- Bob Bacon - IN LOVING MEMORY OF AARON BACON www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDwanoycFcM ----------------------------------------- Paul Lewis - IN LOVING MEMORY OF RYAN LEWIS: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqNQGAl0M2E ----------------------------------------- Jon Martin-Crawford - CAFETY Advisory Board Member http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr47O5OjC_A ----------------------------------------- Kathryn Whitehead - CAFETY Executive Director http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUtUiDDMUl4 ----------------------------------------- A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) during the 110th Congress found a new kind of residential treatment program operating under the titles of therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps, wilderness programs, and behavior modification facilities bypassing state regulation by virtue of their new name. Many of these programs do not offer anything remotely related to therapy, and in fact the office found thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990's, many under the guise of providing treatment for a variety of mental health challenges. ----------------------------------------- It is currently under the state's authority to regulate such programs, but a separate GAO report found major gaps in the state's licensing and oversight, so programs have been able to operate virtually unregulated. Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act would: ----------------------------------------- Keep Teens Safe 1) Prohibit programs from physically, mentally, or sexually abusing children 2) Prohibit programs from denying essential food, water, clothing, shelter, or medical care 3) Programs must provide children with reasonable access to a telephone 4) Staff must be trained in what is child abuse and neglect and how to report it 5) Programs can only physically restrain children if it is necessary for their safety and the safety of others, and restraint must be used in accordance with federal law 6) Programs must have plans in place to provide emergency medical care ----------------------------------------- Increase Transparency for Parents 1) Create a website with information about cases of abuse at residential treatment programs 2) Require programs to inform parents of their staff members' qualifications, roles, and responsibilities 3) Require programs to notify parents of substantiated reports of child abuse or violations of health and safety laws ----------------------------------------- While all of the mandates proposed within H.R. 911 are critical to ensuring youth safety, of greatest importance to CAFETY is the enactment and implementation of the measure requiring programs provide youth with access to an abuse reporting hotline. At this time, an unknown number of youth are placed in private residential programs where they are not permitted phone access to report maltreatment. Despite evidence of a need, states have not instituted measures to ensure this most minimal level of accountability is met. Consequently, it is time the federal government step in and take its own measures to safeguard the health and well being of institutionalized youth nationwide. Links to US Government Accountability Office Reports: ----------------------------------------- RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAMS: Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth: 2007 Report by Greg Kutz www.gao.gov/new.items/d08146t.pdf ----------------------------------------- RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS: Selected Cases of Death, Abuse, and Deceptive Marketing: 2008 Report by Greg Kutz www.gao.gov/new.items/d08713t.pdf

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July 7, 2011 Dear Chairman Miller: The undersigned national organizations, representing a broad coalition of groups serving children and adolescents with mental health or substance use conditions, strongly support your efforts to better regulate boot camps and other “alternative placement facilities” and bring transparency to the policies and practices of such programs. The reintroduction of your important legislation is a welcomed and needed response to numerous studies documenting the ineffectiveness of these programs and, in several instances, the tragic deaths as a result of child abuse and neglect as reported by the GAO in October 2007. Too many families struggle mightily in nearly every state to find placements, when appropriate, for their children that will address their complex mental health needs. These facilities flourish, in part, because parents lack the necessary information about the operation and practices of these programs. The promise of help cannot be allowed to obscure the fact that these kinds of programs are not sciencebased and have not been forthcoming about the incidence of neglect or abuse. We applaud your resolve to address the challenges facing many families. Your crucial legislation would seek relief from these risks by (1) establishing standards for these programs that are consistent with current child protection laws; (2) ensuring that personnel is qualified; (3) shifting these programs to be family-centered, as well as culturally and developmentally appropriate; (4) creating mechanisms for the monitoring and enforcement of these goals; (5) calling for greater transparency and accessibility to the compliance of these standards; and (6) providing grants to states for the prevention of child abuse and neglect and for the treatment of children’s mental health or substance use conditions. We also welcome your thoughtful approach to this legislation, and your call for an annual report to Congress is an effective tool in ensuring that these critical issues emerge from the shadows and see the light of day. We share your vision and commitment in protecting this vulnerable population. Your bill recognizes that mental health and substance use conditions are prevalent among our nation’s youth and the reintroduction of your bill is an important step in addressing our nation’s mental health crisis among youth. We commend you for reintroducing this critical legislation. http://www.bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=mvnVtMaif9M%3d&tabid=272

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Dear Chairman Miller: The undersigned national organizations, representing a broad coalition of groups serving children and adolescents with mental health or substance use conditions, strongly support your efforts to better regulate boot camps and other “alternative placement facilities” and bring transparency to the policies and practices of such programs. The reintroduction of your important legislation is a welcomed and needed response to numerous studies documenting the ineffectiveness of these programs and, in several instances, the tragic deaths as a result of child abuse and neglect as reported by the GAO in October 2007. Too many families struggle mightily in nearly every state to find placements, when appropriate, for their children that will address their complex mental health needs. These facilities flourish, in part, because parents lack the necessary information about the operation and practices of these programs. The promise of help cannot be allowed to obscure the fact that these kinds of programs are not sciencebased and have not been forthcoming about the incidence of neglect or abuse. We applaud your resolve to address the challenges facing many families. Your crucial legislation would seek relief from these risks by (1) establishing standards for these programs that are consistent with current child protection laws; (2) ensuring that personnel is qualified; (3) shifting these programs to be family-centered, as well as culturally and developmentally appropriate; (4) creating mechanisms for the monitoring and enforcement of these goals; (5) calling for greater transparency and accessibility to the compliance of these standards; and (6) providing grants to states for the prevention of child abuse and neglect and for the treatment of children’s mental health or substance use conditions. We also welcome your thoughtful approach to this legislation, and your call for an annual report to Congress is an effective tool in ensuring that these critical issues emerge from the shadows and see the light of day. We share your vision and commitment in protecting this vulnerable population. Your bill recognizes that mental health and substance use conditions are prevalent among our nation’s youth and the reintroduction of your bill is an important step in addressing our nation’s mental health crisis among youth. We commend you for reintroducing this critical legislation. http://www.bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=mvnVtMaif9M%3d&tabid=272

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We applaud this legislation as a necessary response to the cases of child abuse and neglect, some even resulting in death, investigated by Protection and Advocacy Systems and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Programs designed to offer treatment for mental health or substance abuse must use quality programs grounded in best practices that ensure the safety of children. Families often have to make extremely difficult choices when seeking placements for children with these types of needs. Unfortunately, a number of the programs your legislation seeks to regulate flourish because parents lack even the most basic information, including whether their children will be treated humanely. Data from the Child Maltreatment 2006 report shows that children reported as having a disability were 54 percent more likely to be victims of maltreatment than children without disabilities. Of course, we also know that abuse and neglect can cause disability. This legislation could help prevent the maltreatment of children with disabilities as well as reduce the risk of children developing disabilities as a result of abuse. The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act addresses this issue in a straightforward and thoughtful manner. The bill recognizes the important role of both the federal and state governments in protecting children from abuse and neglect at the hands of some residential programs. Additionally, the bill will provide families with the critical information necessary to make informed decisions. We commend you for your hard work on this legislation, and look forward to working with you to get it enacted into law. http://www.c-c-d.org/task_forces/education/CCD_support_ltr.pdf

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We applaud this legislation as a necessary response to the cases of child abuse and neglect, some even resulting in death, investigated by Protection and Advocacy Systems and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Programs designed to offer treatment for mental health or substance abuse must use quality programs grounded in best practices that ensure the safety of children. Families often have to make extremely difficult choices when seeking placements for children with these types of needs. Unfortunately, a number of the programs your legislation seeks to regulate flourish because parents lack even the most basic information, including whether their children will be treated humanely. Data from the Child Maltreatment 2006 report shows that children reported as having a disability were 54 percent more likely to be victims of maltreatment than children without disabilities. Of course, we also know that abuse and neglect can cause disability. This legislation could help prevent the maltreatment of children with disabilities as well as reduce the risk of children developing disabilities as a result of abuse. The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act addresses this issue in a straightforward and thoughtful manner. The bill recognizes the important role of both the federal and state governments in protecting children from abuse and neglect at the hands of some residential programs. Additionally, the bill will provide families with the critical information necessary to make informed decisions. We commend you for your hard work on this legislation, and look forward to working with you to get it enacted into law. http://www.c-c-d.org/task_forces/education/CCD_support_ltr.pdf

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Easter Seals 3 years ago

We applaud this legislation as a necessary response to the cases of child abuse and neglect, some even resulting in death, investigated by Protection and Advocacy Systems and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Programs designed to offer treatment for mental health or substance abuse must use quality programs grounded in best practices that ensure the safety of children. Families often have to make extremely difficult choices when seeking placements for children with these types of needs. Unfortunately, a number of the programs your legislation seeks to regulate flourish because parents lack even the most basic information, including whether their children will be treated humanely. Data from the Child Maltreatment 2006 report shows that children reported as having a disability were 54 percent more likely to be victims of maltreatment than children without disabilities. Of course, we also know that abuse and neglect can cause disability. This legislation could help prevent the maltreatment of children with disabilities as well as reduce the risk of children developing disabilities as a result of abuse. The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act addresses this issue in a straightforward and thoughtful manner. The bill recognizes the important role of both the federal and state governments in protecting children from abuse and neglect at the hands of some residential programs. Additionally, the bill will provide families with the critical information necessary to make informed decisions. We commend you for your hard work on this legislation, and look forward to working with you to get it enacted into law. http://www.c-c-d.org/task_forces/education/CCD_support_ltr.pdf

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Organizations Opposing

No organizations opposing yet.

Users Supporting

I support H.R. 3126: Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011 because I was subjected to the following abuses at the Family Foundation School in Hancock, NY from 1998 to 2000: - Restrained violently as punishment for nonviolent infractions. Wrapped in a blanket with duct tape and left in a closet to soil myself - Locked multiple times in an isolation room approx 5' x 5' for up to 5 consecutive days with an air conditioning vent blowing overhead continually. No sweater or shoes allowed, & lights never turned off. No mattress, pillow or blanket to sleep with - Fed "food sanction" rations of 1 tbsp of dry tuna (no mayo added) on an english muffin half, and approx 10 oz of water, 3 times per day. Food sanctions sometimes lasted for more than one or two weeks consecutively - Removed from school for weeks on end to perform hard manual labor, including digging my own 6' x 6' x 4' grave -Loud, humiliating, public verbal abuse, including abuse of a sexual nature -Violent physical attack by a current staffer who admits to & brags of the attack -Made to abuse others in the same way. Eventually brainwashed to believe I was "helping" them. Thank you, Jessica W. Hogan

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NY
2
JessicaHogan
NY-2
1 year ago

I support H.R. 3126: Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011 because... I worked in one of these programs for approximately 8 months. I hated how the kids were treated and tried to help them the best I could. I was fired from my job because I showed I cared for the kids. Please revive this bill.

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AL
5
Ms.Minnie
AL-5
2 years ago

I support H.R. 3126: Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011 because...I support H.R. 3126: Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011 because...The multi-billion dollar troubled teen industry has no Federal oversight, no evidence based therapeutic track record, and has negatively impacted many many young people and families. This lack of oversight has allowed abuses and even death according to the GAO. The "consumers" of these interventions are generally extremely vulnerable and need access to verified, objective information on programs and providers. These consumers increasingly include the state/taxpayers/juvenile justice system--all deserve the assurances of a centralized licensing and investigative body. Most of your constituents would be shocked to find out that abuse of teens in residential treatment is not already prohibited under our nation's laws. They should be shocked that the very companies and trade organizations that want to be entrusted with their children oppose the passage of such a law.

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NM
3
laszlohenry
NM-3
2 years ago

Users Opposing

No constituents opposing yet.

Bill Summary

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