U.S. Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) today reintroduced legislation to protect teenagers attending residential treatment programs from physical, mental and sexual abuse and to prevent deceptive marketing practices by operators of private residential programs for teens. The lawmakers also announced that the House Education and Labor Committee will mark up the legislation on Wednesday.
Investigations conducted by the Government Accountability Office during the 110th Congress at the lawmakers’ request have uncovered thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990’s at teen residential programs, including therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps, wilderness programs and behavior modification facilities. Currently, these programs are governed only by a weak patchwork of state and federal standards. A separate GAO report, also conducted last year at the committee’s request, found major gaps in the licensing and oversight of residential programs – some of which are not covered by any state licensing standards at all.
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