Operating mostly in secret, while making billions of dollars, is the abusive "teenage behavior modification" industry. Posing as schools, these unregulated monstrosities are praying on the fears of parents while physically, emotionally and sexually abusing young people in facilities that wouldn’t meet prison standards, let alone standards for schools or hospitals. These programs often look very much like boarding schools complete with websites that use words like “college preparatory” and “therapy.”
But punching a ten-year-old boy in the face for wetting his pants on a field trip is not therapy. Neither is forcing a student to eat worms. A recent GAO report documents abuse and even death at some of these facilities.
Congressman George Miller has led passage of H.R. 911, which would require that all residential programs treating youth implement some common sense provisions. These include providing access to a telephone, a toll free hotline to report abuse and a requirement that programs provide emergency treatment. They would also allow for regulators to make unannounced inspections.
Tell those members of the United States Senate that refuse to implement any of the requirements of H.R. 911 to move this legislation forward. Ending child abuse, particularly institutionalized child abuse, should transcend partisanship.
In light of two reports by the Government Accountability Office alleging deceptive marketing, abuse and even death in these programs I would like to see the Senate work with the National Youth Rights Association to implement some of the proposed changes from H.R. 911 – the “Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009” in this year’s Child Abuse and Prevention and Treatment Act re-authorization.