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The Unsilenced Policy Team

Georgia Legislation Report

2022

2022

Introduction

The ‘troubled teen’ industry is a network of residential programs that claim to provide treatment for the behavioral and developmental needs of youth. The industry’s lack of transparency and accountability has led to widespread abuse of youth, resulting in hospitalizations, prolonged trauma and death.

Today, there are an estimated 120,000 – 200,000 minors in residential programs across the United States. These youth are placed each year by state child welfare agencies, juvenile justice courts, mental health providers, refugee resettlement agencies, school districts’ individualized education programs, and by parents.

Many of these youth have trauma histories, which are only exacerbated by being removed from their communities and institutionalized. Youth with lived experience describe these programs as being carceral, harsh, and abusive.

An estimated $23 billion dollars of public funds annually are used to place youth in residential programs. Daily rates for residential treatment ranges from $250-$800, costing up to $292,000 per year, per child.

It is overwhelmingly clear that our communities and agencies are over-relying on residential placements that are negatively impacting the youth they serve.

Introduction

The ‘troubled teen’ industry is a network of residential programs that claim to provide treatment for the behavioral and developmental needs of youth. The industry’s lack of transparency and accountability has led to widespread abuse of youth, resulting in hospitalizations, prolonged trauma and death.

Today, there are an estimated 120,000 – 200,000 minors in residential programs across the United States. These youth are placed each year by state child welfare agencies, juvenile justice courts, mental health providers, refugee resettlement agencies, school districts’ individualized education programs, and by parents.

Many of these youth have trauma histories, which are only exacerbated by being removed from their communities and institutionalized. Youth with lived experience describe these programs as being carceral, harsh, and abusive.

An estimated $23 billion dollars of public funds annually are used to place youth in residential programs. Daily rates for residential treatment ranges from $250-$800, costing up to $292,000 per year, per child.

It is overwhelmingly clear that our communities and agencies are over-relying on residential placements that are negatively impacting the youth they serve.

Georgia Legislation

General Oversight and Transparency Subject to 290-2-5 Rules and Regulations
Oversight Agency Department’s Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) and Department of Human Services (DHS)
Which state agency oversees investigations? Department of Human Services (DHS)
Are investigations and outcomes visible to the public online? No
Are religious congregate care programs required to be licensed? No
Is this type of program required to be licensed by the state? Yes
Is a list of licensed facilities available to the public? Yes
Are regulations only applicable to facilities receiving public funds? No
Can complaints be filed online? Is the reporting portal easy to find? Yes, but it is not easy to find
Does the state conduct unannounced site visits? How many per year? Yes, but the amount is not specified
Are background checks required, including volunteers? Yes
Is a full-time licensed clinician required to be on staff? No
Does the state require a guardian's consent to all treatment received? Yes
Does the state require that the guardian be notified of an emergency involving their child within 24-hours of the incident occurring? Yes
Does the state require notification within 24-hours of a program admitting, discharging or major treatment change for children under its care? Yes
Is a licensed clinician required to perform a mental health evaluation upon intake? Yes
Does the state require mandatory child abuse response training for all staff working with children in residential settings? Yes
Does the state require medical response training for all staff working with children in residential settings? Yes
Does state require 1:4 staffing ratio or higher? No
Ban on Conversion Therapy for LGBTQA+ youth? No
Are there admissions requirements? Yes
Are the guardian & admitted child required to be informed of their their rights? Yes
Does the state define institutional abuse and neglect? Yes
Are there civil penalties for violations of institutional child abuse and neglect? Yes
Does the state prohibit mail censorship? No
Do the youth have unrestricted access to guardians, legal counsel, welfare advocates, religious clergy, friends and family via telephone? Yes
Does the state require that children be allowed visitors in private during normal visiting hours? No
Is the facility required to provide an individualized treatment plan? Is the plan reviewed regularly? Yes
Is medical and psychological experimentation on youth prohibited without the express consent of all involved parties? Yes
Is it required that youth receive education that is of the same quality and outcomes as their assigned public school? Yes
Is it required that youth receive age-appropriate sexual education, access to sexual healthcare, and menstruation supplies? Yes
Are youth provided with access to advocacy services and representation? Yes
Does the state require a guardian's consent to all treatment received? Yes
Is a grievance procedure required for youth and families? Yes
Is youth consent required for all treatment received? Yes
Does the state have zoning and occupancy requirements for structures being used to house youth in residential settings? Yes
Is there regulation for physical restraint? Yes
Is there regulation for chemical restraint? Yes
Is there regulation for mechanical restraint? Yes
Is there a Bill of Rights for youth in care? Not specifically. However, there are some rights provided through the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-183) O.C.G.A. § 49-5-3
General Oversight and Transparency Subject to 290-2-7 Rules and Regulations
Oversight Agency Department’s Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) and Department of Human Services (DHS)
Which state agency oversees investigations? Department of Human Services (DHS)
Are investigations and outcomes visible to the public online? Yes
Are religious congregate care programs required to be licensed? No
Is this type of program required to be licensed by the state? Yes
Is a list of licensed facilities available to the public? Yes
Are regulations only applicable to facilities receiving public funds? No
Can complaints be filed online? Is the reporting portal easy to find? Yes, but it is not easy to find
Does the state conduct unannounced site visits? How many per year? Yes, but the amount is not specified
Are background checks required, including volunteers? Yes to employees. Prior to serving as an employee other than a director of a licensed outdoor child caring program, a person must submit a preliminary record check application and receive a satisfactory determination. Provided however, should there be an unsatisfactory determination, the person must submit to a fingerprint record check and get a satisfactory determination or be determined eligible to serve as an employee as a result of an administrative hearing.
Is a full-time licensed clinician required to be on staff? No, but there needs to be a social worker on staff
Does the state require a guardian's consent to all treatment received? No
Does the state require that the guardian be notified of an emergency involving their child within 24-hours of the incident occurring? No
Does the state require notification within 24-hours of a program admitting, discharging or major treatment change for children under its care? No
Is a licensed clinician required to perform a mental health evaluation upon intake? No
Does the state require mandatory child abuse response training for all staff working with children in residential settings?