Mandated Reporters: Demand an end to government led child abuse and neglect
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We are social workers, teachers, law enforcement professionals, school personnel, child and youth workers, social service workers, physicians, nurses, psychologists, mental health therapists, child care providers, law enforcement officers and other professionals that are the nation’s mandated reporters. As mandated reporters when we encounter child neglect and abuse, by law we must report it to protect that child from harm.
Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.
The horrific and inhumane treatment to immigrant kids we are seeing clearly fits the legal definition of abuse and neglect, to the extent that there are legitimate legal grounds for these children to be removed from their perpetrators-- the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The psychological, sexual and physical abuse that has been reported is undoubtedly creating traumatic marks impacting children’s development that can last a life span and will have long-lasting impact on our society.
This week from July 22 to July 26, we are contacting Congress to report child abuse of immigrant children. We are designating Congress as Child Protective Services, the agency that as mandated reporters we call when children are being abused and neglected. We elected you to create healthy policies and take action when harm is being inflicted to communities. We are reporting these abuses and neglect:
1. Senseless deaths of children while in detention centers
2. Child sexual abuse that has been occurring at the detention centers under government custody
3. Children being transported in government cars without car seats
4. Children being asked to care for other children
5. Children being left inside vans under for more than 20 hours
6. Neglectful treatment of kids such as keeping kids having access to basic necessities like soap, toothbrushes, and other hygiene items
7. The psychological abuse inflicted when separating kids from their parents and delaying reunifications
8. Denying much needed medical and mental health care that has led to physical illness and mental health challenges
9. Extreme exposure to dire conditions such as sleeping on floors, under cold temperatures
As mandated reporters we demand:
- The conditions these children are being held in are deplorable and unacceptable and we want all children in CBP custody have access to safe and sanitary conditions and be moved to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody within the required 72 hours, under the Flores agreement, for a healthy transition into safe environments that foster healing and developmental growth for reunification with their family members, friends, or paired up with qualified and licensed culturally competent community host homes/foster care programs.
- Support Congressman Raul Ruiz’s Bill, H.R. 3239- Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act.
- Ensure that families remain remain together when arriving at the border and establish a system for identifying, tracking and connecting separated families.
- Conduct an external/independent review of how funds allocated are being used or not used to meet basic needs of kids detained and services promised.
- Conduct an immediate investigation of the conditions of the facilities immigrant children are held and provide immediate corrective action including but not limited to termination and pursuing legal action against employees and administrators who have engaged and/or aware of the abuse.
- Immediately create a Children Wellness Committee composed of child welfare experts, advocates, social workers, psychologists, physicians, teachers, to inform policies that impact newcomer children .
- Convene hearings to hold government officials accountable for their mistreatment of children in CBP, and immediately implement recommendations for CBP Standards when Detaining Children proposed by the Young Center.
As mandated reporters, we will not remain silent as we witness child abuse and neglect inflicted on our most vulnerable due to harmful policies and inaction.
Petition by Social Workers United For Immigration, Social Workers Unraveling Racism, Hope Center for Wellness, Gardner and Associates, and supported by Social Work Helper, Latin American Youth Center, American Federation of Teachers, Undocublack Network, CASA.
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