New Legislation Introduced to Protect Children From Abuse

Senate Bill 2054, the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2014, was introduced by Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) as a co-sponsor.  S.2054 addresses the lack of federal law regulating the treatment of minors in residential facilities by establishing standards designed to prevent child abuse and improve access to medical care during emergencies.  The bill would prohibit physical or mental abuse and withholding of essential food, water, clothing, shelter, or medical care to children in the program’s care and restrict the use of restraints.  The bill requires programs to obtain parental consent before making nonemergency changes to a child’s medication. Programs must report any deaths to the protection and advocacy system within 48 hours after informing the state of the death.  Covered programs include public or private residential programs that provide behavioral modification programs and therapeutic boarding schools and are designed for children with emotional, behavioral, or mental health problems or alcohol or substance abuse issues.  To view The Arc’s statement on this legislation, visit our blog.

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