Representative Miller is Reintroducing H.R. 911
In 2009, H.R. 911 – The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Center for Teens Act – was introduced. It passed the House but died in the Senate. On September 28th, 2011, Representative Miller announced that he would be reintroducing the bill following urging from survivor’s organizations and grassroots efforts. While this bill does not address many of the issues that we survivors would like to see changed, it is a great start. Having Federal involvement will not only help to bring awareness, but also help to fill oversight gaps in some of the states with the least licensing requirements for these facilities. It is extremely important that we all come together to support this bill and lobby our representatives to support it.
Please reach out to your representative and submit the following in support of this bill:
I write to you as a voting member of your district who is deeply concerned about the child abuse that is occurring in residential treatment facilities across the United States.
On February 23, 2009 the House of Representatives passed the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs bill H.R. 911. H.R. 911 stalled before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions We call upon you to act and urge you to support the re-introduction of the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009.
This bill was introduced following a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which found that many residential programs, include therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps, wilderness programs and behavior modification facilities, 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.
It is currently the state’s authority to regulate these programs, but a separate GAO report found major gaps in their licensing and oversight, so that they have been able to operate virtually unregulated. To help fix this major failure, H.R. 911 proposes that these programs fall under federal regulations. While some states may have relatively high standards, it is critical that other states, where there’s virtually no (or poor) regulation, are held accountable. (eg. Montana, Utah)
Far too many youth are being maltreated in the name of treatment and institutionalized unnecessarily as a result of lack of access to community based care. The majority of our members have witnessed first hand that harm that may come from a poorly regulated or monitored residential program. It is incumbent upon us to protect our most vulnerable citizens, youth experiencing behavioral, emotional or mental health challenges.
Please help ensure youth safety by supporting the re-introduction of Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs Act. Please confirm what measures you plan to take to ensure no other youth in America are harmed in the name of treatment.
CAFETY (Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth) offers a great resource page, as well as options to support this bill, on their PopVox site.