Saturday, January 30, 2010

HR 911 Outlaw Teen Residental Abusive Programs

Congressman George Miller, D-CA, asked the U.S. Attorney General to investigate abuse and neglect of American youths being held in foreign countries. The Attorney General declined, saying that his authority extended only to investigating abuses by governments not by private companies.

Miller developed a bill to expand his authority to cover the youths abroad and to regulate the industry, but the bill died.

In the next session Miller sponsored another bill regulating the industry in the U.S., but not giving the Attorney General authority to investigate conditions abroad. His staff said it was arguably unconstitutional for the U.S. government to investigate abuses at private facilities in foreign countries even abuses of minor children who are U.S. citizens.

Miller held two hearings on the bill with dramatic, shocking testimony from families and investigators: Child Abuse and Deceptive Marketing by Residential Programs for Teens and Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse at Private Residential Treatment Facilities. The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.

The 2009 bill, HR911, outlaws many of the abuses that have caused deaths in these programs. It prohibits disciplinary practices that withhold essential food, water, clothing, shelter, or medical care.

It sets limits on the use of physical and mechanical restraints and seclusion.

It requires all staff to be familiar with the signs of and appropriate responses to heatstroke, dehydration, and hypothermia. It requires the program to have policies for the provision of emergency medical care. It requires that youths be allowed to make and receive phone calls with as much privacy as possible and be allowed to call the state hotline to report abuses.

HR911 does not exempt church-run facilities from its requirements. It will greatly improve protection for young people in residential care, especially in Missouri, which allows church-run facilities to operate without even sanitation or food safety inspections and which has been a giant magnet for operators of abusive programs who get in trouble elsewhere.

HR911 is now in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee whose members are Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Bingamon (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH, Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John McCain (R-AZ), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).

We urge the public to contact the U.S. Senate in support of HR911 especially if they live in a state represented by members of the Senate HELP Committee.

Resources on abuse and neglect in therapeutic residential care for young people include Alliance for the Safe, Therapeutic & Appropriate Use of Residential Treatment, Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse, and International Survivors Action Committee.

The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy 2010 Annual Rights Conference

“Choice, Not Force”

September 8 – 11, 2010
Hilton Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Mark your calendars now * Conference is Wednesday evening through Saturday noon
The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) is seeking proposals which address strategies, ideas, programs, and emerging practices that support and promote NARPA’s mission and commitment to individual rights, liberty, freedom and dignity.

The Application for Workshops and Presentations is available below
and will be posted at


Rights Issues Action and Advocacy
Cultural Competence Alternatives to the Medical Model
Strategies Against Forced Treatment Informed Consent
Seclusion and Restraint Trauma and Healing
Children’s Issues Legal Strategies
Prison Issues Innovative Strategies for Change
Community Organizing Public Policy/Legislation

The incorporation of diversity and multicultural perspectives into the above themes is encouraged. All workshops are approximately 90 minutes.

Deadline for Submission March 15, 2010; electronic notification April 15, 2010.

For more information, contact NARPA at or (205) 464-0101. Mail proposals to NARPA, P.O. Box 40585, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 or e-mail to
Electronic submissions preferred.

Donate or Volunteer for Haiti Relief

Donate or Volunteer for Haiti Relief

Physicians for Human Rights stands in solidarity with the people of Haiti today and every day. We offer our deep concern for the struggling survivors of the devastating earthquake in Haiti and our profound sympathy for the families of the as yet uncounted victims.

You can make a difference for Haiti — take action today:

* If you are a health professional, your special skills are urgently needed to save lives. Consider joining the relief effort in Haiti today. Partners In Health has put out a call for surgeons, nurses, and other health professionals: "send an email to with information on your credentials, language capabilities (Haitian Creole or French desired), availability and contact information."

Partners in Health urgently needs the following:

* Orthopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, OR nurses, post-op nurses, and surgical technicians. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate any volunteers without significant surgical or trauma training and experience. If your qualifications match our needs, please fill out this form.

* Orthopedic supplies, surgical consumables (sutures, bandages, non-powdered sterile gloves, syringes, etc), blankets, tents, and large unopened boxes of medications. Unfortunately, we cannot accept small quantities or unused personal medications. People with private planes willing to fly medical personnel and/or large quanities of supplies are also greatly needed. To donate any of the above goods, please fill out this form.

Our contact coordinates for all mail except donations and for phone, fax and email are:
Partners In Health
888 Commonwealth Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: +1 617-432-5256
Fax: +1 617-432-5300

Please send all donations to:
Partners In Health
P.O. Box 845578
Boston, MA 02284-5578

* Take 2 minutes to take action to support the US Haitian community. Urge President Obama to have the Department of Homeland Security provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) NOW to Haitians currently in the United States.

TPS is granted by the US government to eligible nationals of countries who cannot safely return to their homelands because of armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Haiti clearly fits this description.The earthquake has devastated Haiti, leaving little for immigrants to go back to: no shelter, no food, no water, no medical services and no infrastructure.

PHR welcomes the decision of the Obama Administration to halt the pending deportation of some 30,000 Haitians. We believe that, given Haiti's lack of capacity to safely accept any returnees at this time, the Administration should take the next step and grant TPS on an expedited basis to all Haitians who are in the US at this time and are in need of temporary protection.

Granting TPS will allow Haiti to focus on recovery and disaster relief without the additional difficulty of dealing with potentially homeless returnees.

Ask President Obama to act TODAY. We must unite as a nation in solidarity with the people of Haiti — both those struggling to survive in the earthquake ravaged Caribbean and those here in the United States.


Frank Donaghue
Chief Executive Officer

PHR Offices
National Office

Physicians for Human Rights
2 Arrow Street
Suite 301
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Tel: (617) 301-4200
Fax: (617) 301-4250

Washington Office

Physicians for Human Rights
1156 15th Street, NW
Suite 1001
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (202) 728-5335
Fax: (202) 728-3053

If you are considering making a Haiti-related donation,

you might consider these organizations:

Doctors Without Borders

Partners in Health



Mercy Corps:


Yele Haiti:

Red Cross:

If you are inclined at this time of tragedy to seek a broader perspective on Haiti's history, you may wish to consult these resources:

An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President
Randall Robinson
Basic Civitas Books, 2008

The Uses of Haiti
Paul Farmer
Common Courage Press, 2005

Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance
Beverly Bell
Cornell University Press, 2001