Our firm is passionate about protecting children and teens who seek treatment at Utah treatment centers. Residential treatment centers are prone to abusing their powers and harming residents. These abuses have drawn attention from lawmakers. Those lawmakers have recently approved a bill to enhance oversight of these centers. It is a step in the right direction – a direction our firm wants to encourage and support.
Utah Lawmakers are Interested – Why?
Residential treatment centers are notorious for their ill treatment of young patients. Fortunately, news organizations and advocates like our firm have repeatedly drawn attention to these abuses. The attention was enough to get the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee to hold hearings on the topic. Lawmakers invited testimony from Paris Hilton on the subject. Her testimony drew attention from national news outlets.
Hilton had attended several different Utah treatment centers in her teens. Over 20 years later, she came back to Utah to speak about her experiences. She told the Committee, “I was verbally, mentally, and physically abused on a daily basis. I was cut off from the outside world and stripped of all of my human rights.”
Her experiences were not uncommon. Utah treatment centers have abused many young people – verbally, mentally, and physically. This abuse has included denial of access to their parents and the outside world.
S.B. 127 – A Bill to Increase Oversight of Youth Residential Treatment Centers
S.B. 127 is the bill that will address the abuse at residential treatment centers. It includes a variety of provisions designed to increase the oversight of state government. Lawmakers hope that more oversight will reduce abuse. Some of the provision in the bill include:
- Staff must document physical restraints and seclusion. Treatment centers must submit reports to the Utah Office of Licensing. This is the primary regulator of the residential treatment center industry in Utah.
- Regulators must inspect centers 4 times a year. The Office of Licensing will be required to conduct 4 different inspections of treatment centers. Any of these inspections can be announced or unannounced.
- $638,000 appropriated to hire 8 new full–time staff. The increased requirement for inspections will require more staff. The bill ensures that the Office of Licensing will have the funding to hire that staff.
- Centers must report restraint or seclusion in one business day. Some lawmakers attempted to amend the bill to ease the reporting timeframe. They wanted to change it to three business days. The amendment did not pass.
It is worth noting that the bill passed with overwhelming support – with a 70-2 vote.
Holding Abusive Utah Treatment Centers Accountable
Abuse at residential treatment centers can cause permanent damage to young people. If treatment center staff abused you or a loved one, we want to help you hold them accountable. Please call our firm at (801) 845-4577 or fill out our secure online contact form now to speak to our personal injury attorney.