01 Nov
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H.R. 3060 Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2015

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2015 This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to require each covered program to prohibit child abuse and neglect and meet specified minimum standards.
Defines “covered program” as each facility of a program operated by a public or private entity that, with respect to one or more children who are unrelated to the program owner or operator, purports to provide treatment or modify behaviors in a residential environment.
Directs HHS to: (1) implement a review process for overseeing, investigating, and evaluating reports of child abuse and neglect; (2) establish a process to assist states in the oversight and enforcement of this Act.
Requires HHS to refer any violation of such standards to the Attorney General for appropriate action. Authorizes the Attorney General to file such a complaint on his or her own initiative regardless of whether such a referral has been made.
Amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to establish additional eligibility requirements for grants to states to prevent child abuse and neglect at residential programs. Requires such states to develop policies and procedures to prevent child abuse and neglect at covered programs, including standards that meet or exceed the standards required under this Act.

More Information: Who is supporting/Opposing

In 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) documented over 1,300 reports of maltreatment by staff at a variety of programs spanning across 34 states, including substantiated accounts of starvation, excessive use of physical restraints and isolation, severe verbal abuse and intimidation and neglectful medical practices. The GAO made clear that the lack of federal oversight and a loose patchwork of state regulations failed to properly license and monitor residential facilities, which put an already vulnerable population of children at higher risk for multiple forms of abuse, and even death. Robbing the child of the most basic elements that are needed in childhood development, creating severe trauma, including PTSD, Severe Depression, Anxiety.

This deceptive practice of moving abusive facilities from state to state to dodge regulation has been replicated by many other programs across the country because of disparate state regulations. Operating in several forms — juvenile boot camps, residential  treatment, drug rehabilitation, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs and behavior modification efforts — many types of residential treatment have been the subject of serious reports of abuse at one time or another.

Abusive facilities that operate under the guise of providing real therapy have no place in our society and families who turn to residential programs for help, often as a last resort, must know that their children are safe and in the care of professionals. That’s why legislation is so important. I urge you to come together to support the children of the United States and protect them from Institutional child abuse. Please support this bill together we can make a difference and create change.

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