Several stories of youth being maltreated by residential staff have recently been reported in the news. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on February 23, 2022, after being asked to review these instances of maltreatment in federally funded residential facilities. State and local agencies are primarily responsible for addressing these concerns, but incidents continue to happen.

GAO interviewed stakeholders in Arkansas, Massachusetts, California, and Washington, D.C., and examined three main questions: (1) how selected states help prevent and address maltreatment in federally funded residential facilities, (2) the challenges selected states face in reporting and collecting maltreatment data, and (3) the additional steps suggested by stakeholders to address maltreatment and how relevant federal agencies are supporting state efforts.

As a result of these discussions, GAO recommends that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in consultation with the Department of Education, facilitate information sharing among states on promising practices for preventing and addressing maltreatment in residential facilities. HHS agreed with the recommendation.