On April 27, 2023, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) introduced the bipartisan Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act.

According to Representative Khanna’s press release, “this bipartisan, bicameral bill would provide greater oversight and data transparency for institutional youth treatment programs, begin implementing urgent recommendations to develop robust information sharing systems among states, and promote dissemination of best practices for identifying and preventing institutional child abuse.”

The Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act:

  • Establishes the Federal Work Group on Youth Residential Programs, comprised of representatives from the Administration for Children and Families, the Administration for Community Living, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and other relevant federal agencies.
  • Directs the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study on the use of restraints, seclusion, and other restrictive interventions in youth residential programs.

The sponsors and cosponsors of the bill held a press conference to celebrate the introduction of the bill, featuring Paris Hilton, a key advocate for this movement, as well as others who have experienced abuse in residential settings. Speakers drew attention to the need for more information and oversight in residential settings.