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.

Adult Abuse and Risk of Violence

A new report from Liverpool John Moores University in England analyzed 26 worldwide studies that measured the occurrence and risk of abuse for disabled adults.  Of the studies conducted, 15 of the 26 disability samples came from the United States.  The report concluded that adults with disabilities, totaling approximately 15% of the global population, are at greater risk of being victims of abuse and violence.  Adults with a mental illness are four times more likely to be abused than non-disabled adults; adults with an intellectual impairment are one to two times more likely to be abused. To read more about this report, view it at The Huffington Post.

New York Times publishes expose of state owned group homes in New York

A front page story on Sunday, March 13, entitled “At State-Run Homes, Abuse and Impunity” exposes significant abuses by direct care workers. It specifically highlights the difficulty in terminating direct care staff with documented cases of abuse and neglect due to the state’s public employee union rules. Read the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13homes.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=disabled&st=cse
Readers are encouraged to add their comments to those already posted at http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13homes.html?sort=oldest