Bullying: Does it Start at Home? Sibling Rivalry or Sibling Abuse?

Do your kids argue? Do they take it too far?

Bullying in America is epidemic.

Nearly 1 in 5 students in an average classroom is experiencing bullying

Bullying starts in many American homes.

Each year, siblings abuse 19 million children…in their own home.

Nearly 2 million children use a weapon as a means of resolving a physical confrontation with a sibling.

Siblings commit 10 percent of the murders in the American family.

The linkage between bullying and sibling abuse has been grossly overlooked.

Order today!

Girl In The Water: Bullying Starts At Home. The research link between bullying and sibling abuse can’t be overlooked

By Nancy Kilgore, M.S.

Bullying in America is at epidemic levels, often starting in the American home. Each year, 19 million children are abused in their homes by their own siblings. Nearly two million children use a weapon as a means of resolving a conflict with a sibling. Siblings commit 10 percent of the murders that occur in the American family.

Research has shown a solid link between bullying and sibling abuse. Children who are abused by their siblings are often targets to bullies and often become bullies. The terrifying world of sibling abuse and bullying is exposed in this book. The author’s account is a “first” in the nation.

It is a brilliantly written portrayal that offers a rare and riveting glimpse of what lies beneath the surface of millions of children’s and adult’s lives. The author’s first bully was in her home…her own sister. The author leads the reader on a journey back to her childhood home—where she is confronted with her young dreams and fears, her familial bonds, and the profound, lingering influences that sibling abuse and bullying had on her adulthood and parenting. Resembling the scariest fairy tale, the author’s personal story is narrated with a singular devotion to re-telling her experiences, no matter what the cost.

Like a fairytale, it provides lessons for us all concerning the tragedies and experiences of victims of bullying and sibling abuse. It grips the reader’s imagination with the same unrelenting moral force that fairy tales have for children. This unique story breaks the seal to what has been hidden in so many American homes…sibling abuse. It is a hopeful story for millions of children and adults. This book is comprehensive and has a bibliography, resources and informational strategies for parents and adult survivors.

Learn more here.

Order on Amazon!

Watch powerful video of an introduction to this book.

Follow this author on Twitter.

Teen Help: Parent Community Education for Drug Prevention

It’s a new year, a fresh start, a new leaf…..

What can be described in many different ways is how we have just entered 2011 and life goes on same as peer pressure, school, work and other aspects of your everyday world.

With a new year, it is also an opportunity – maybe a second chance for some, but for all parents of youths today, it is a time to promote education on substance abuse prevention.

Youth360 (wreckED) is a community-based program designed to educate youth about substance abuse through an engaging presentation meant to challenge their behavior toward alcohol and other drugs. The program provides the opportunity for teens to fully reflect upon the choices and consequences associated with alcohol and drug abuse and to continually keep themselves and their friends in check.

The Partnership at has created PACT360 which offers community education for parents, youths and others.

Are you a teen or a youth debating whether to try drugs?  Are you thinking, ‘well, everyone is doing it and they seem okay’ or maybe, ‘it is only once, it is no big deal’.

Not only is this a big deal, it needs to be dealt with before it gets to this point.  It is important for parents to talk to their kid often about the dangers of drug use as well as how to handle peer pressure.

Ask your kids:  How do you think drugs and alcohol affect a person’s behavior? What would you do if you were with someone who was drunk or high and they asked you to join in? Learn about different scenarios here.

Be the one to take the first step this year and get your community involved in Youth360, Parents360 through PACT360 today!  Make this your New Year’s Resolution – you never know how many lives you could be saving.

Don’t be a parent in denial – be a parent with power! Visit

Visit for valuable information on starting your Community Education Program.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Your teens friends – Do you know them?

Last fall Dr. Michele Borba, TODAY Show Contributor, released her largest book ever!  The BIG Book of Parenting Solutions – 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.

In a 10 part series on Examiner, I explored only a tiny fraction of what BBPS (BIG Book of Parenting Solutions). Parenting Resolutions with Solutions is a 4 part series that shared 101 topics that are covered in BBPS.

Today the topic is bad friends (social scene section).  Turn to page 315 and learn about how your kids are choosing friends and why.  Find out the problem, the red flags, and why sometimes change is necessary.  You will also find solutions!

Here are some signs and symptoms that your child may be choosing less than a desirable peer group.

  • Secretiveness. Your child becomes very secretive, locks his room, and covers up what he is doing.
  • Changes in appearance.  Your child starts wearing “provocative” attire, wants only pricey or name-brand items, has a complete change in hairstyle, or starts wearing gizmos that “just aren’t your kid.”
  • School problems.  Your child’s grades drop; he loses interest in school, gets detentions or tardies, doesn’t turn in homework; you have received worried calls or notes from his teacher.
  • Changes in activities.  Your child pulls away from past friends; sees this kid exclusively; is negative about “former” pals; or quits a team or sport or other activities that he has always loved.
  • Character changes.  Your child’s integrity and your family values, culture or religious beliefs are affected; he is more withdrawn, moody, or sad.
  • Untrustworthiness.  You can no longer count on your child’s word; he lies, doesn’t keep his promises, isn’t where he say he is, misses his curfew, sneaks out.
  • Decline in reputation.  Your child’s image is negatively affected; teachers, coaches, other parents, or kids pull away or say your kid “has changed” – and not for the better.
  • Tense family relations.  You and your child have frequent arguments, and your relationships with your child is strained.
  • Violence.  Your child is preoccupied with violence in his drawings, writings, vocabulary, or choice of activities.

Of course any kid could show some of these traits, and they may have nothing to do with the friend he is hanging out with.  The trick is to keep a closer eye on your child and this new friend: how many of these symptoms showed up because this kid came into his life?  Also, are you sure the other kid is the negative influence—not vice versa?

The entire social scene section of BBPS covers so much more.  Cliques, Drinking, Peer Pressure, Sex, Swearing and more. 

If you are parenting today or going to be a parent, this book is a must in your library of parenting books. Order today!

Be an educated parent, you will be prepared and that means safer and healthier children!

Watch video. And read on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Challenges of Parenting Teens

bringing_families_back_togetherParenting teens today has become one of the most challenging jobs with a new generation of technology, peer pressure, substance abuse, and much more.

As a Parent Advocate, I continuously help parents with today’s teen issues.  Many call my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, at their wits end

Here are some article that I encourage parents of teens and tweens to take the time to read.  An educated parent is a prepared parent.  A prepared parent can lead to a safer teenager.

School Violence: The dangers of bullying

Teens Shoplifting and Stealing

Teen Dating Abuse

Teen Inhalant Abuse

Teen Suicide

Parenting teen girls

Teen Vandalism

Teen Truancy

Teen Pregnancy

Teen Depression

Teen Runaways

Teen Drug Prevention

Click here to learn more about the author

Also on

Sue Scheff: Teens and Eating Disorders

Lori Hanson is an Award winning author, speaker and mentor.  After reading her first book, It All Started with Pop-Tarts, I was impressed with her ability to share her own journey with Bulimia as well as her private life.  Most recently she released her book for teens, Teen Secrets to Surviving & THRIVING, again, another fantastic book. Lori is dedicated to others in helping them better understand eating disorders as well as motivating people in a positive direction.  Learn more at Learn2Balance.

teeneatingdisorerMy Daughter Has an Eating Disorder and I Don’t Get It

By Lori Hanson

The bombshell drops. Your precious little girl or boy has an eating disorder. For some parents they suspect and have to figure out how to confront their child. For others, they are blissfully unaware until their child confides in them. 85% of eating disorders start between the ages of 13-20.

Finding out your child has an eating disorder stirs up numerous emotions for a parent. The first reaction seems to start with questions of how could this happen? I was a good parent! Then guilt sets in and for many parents, mom’s in particular they quickly jump on the thought train of what am I going to do to fix it? How can I make it go away quickly and make my child normal again. The embarrassment is there along with the  guilt. For some there is a feeling of betrayal because their child, teen or young adult didn’t tell them about he eating disorder, or didn’t tell them sooner.

But what parents and loved ones don’t understand is why it is so difficult for the child or young adult to tell them. First, it’s incredibly difficult for the individual suffering with an eating disorder to admit to themselves that they have a problem. It’s a behavioral addiction which means it’s a “psychological” thing. Which means there is something mentally wrong. And most individuals aren’t anxious to join that club. Second, the embarrassment, guilt and shame of the eating disorder behavior makes it incredibly difficult to share with family or loved ones. It’s not about betrayal. Third, one of the core characteristics of eating disorders is isolation (in addition to obsession with food, body and more.)

So when the news comes out via an intervention or when the individual suffering approaches loved ones for help just remember, both the individual with the eating disorder and their loved ones are hurt, confused, feeling guilt, embarrassment and shame. Underneath all the embarrassment, the parents core sentiments is usually, “How can I help them recover? What’s the best way to support them?” And depending on where the individual with the eating disorder is on their path, their core sentiment may be denial or wanting to get help.

For the individual suffering the obsessiveness of the behavior is draining, scary and totally controls them. As much as they may want to stop, the fear of losing the control they gain through the disorder is often paralyzing. At the root is low self-esteem, but that is only one of the factors that contributes to an eating disorder.

For most who suffer, they lack the courage to communicate freely, to set appropriate boundaries, and to express their emotions, positive or negative.  The eating disorder behavior helps them numb out and disengage from life and other people. It provides a quiet solitude which evolves into a living hell of isolation and obsession. Digging out on their own to improve self-esteem and gain much needed self-confidence isn’t something most can do on their own.

A holistic approach to treating eating disorders teaches the individual healthy communication skills, helps them improve self-esteem and understand the causes of their addictive behavior. It is critical to understand and address the body and brain chemistry through diet, nutrition and nutritional supplements which helps move the individual beyond “willpower” and gives much needed nutritional support and objectivity. Reprogramming negative thoughts and beliefs is key to recovery and lastly improving mental and physical health with body work rounds out the circle of a solid holistic approach.

So parents, before you get consumed in anger, hurt, embarrassment and try to figure out to make the problem go away quickly realize that as a behavioral addiction it runs deeps and won’t go away with simple comments of “honey, why don’t you just eat.” Unfortunately, this is something the individual suffering has to change, as parents and loved ones you can’t fix it for them. Find a pactitioner your child relates to and a treatment facility that is family oriented and a parent advocate. Healing an individual from an eating disorder can and should have a positive effect on the entire family!

In peace, balance and health,


Lori Hanson
Award-winning author, It Started With Pop-Tarts…An Alternative Approach to Winning the Battle of Bulimia
Speaker and Life Balance Consultant

Sue Scheff: Teen Help Programs, Learn More

Are you a parent at your wit’s end?  Learn from my mistakes and all that I have learned over almost a decade of researching this very daunting industry of “teen help.”

witsIt has been almost 10 years since I made the horrible mistake of choosing Carolina Springs Academy  for my daughter who was struggling. Good kid making some not so good choices? I felt she needed some sort of program to help her through her struggles – and sadly what we received was anything but help.

In the past 9+ years – I have successfully defeated WWASPS/Carolina Springs Academy through a jury trial as well as continuing to be a voice for parents that are at their wit’s end. I also won the landmark case ($11.3M Jury Verdict for Damages) for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy done to my by a former WWASPS parent that defamed me online. Read more about that in my upcoming book.

If you are considering a Teen Help Program – take your time, do your homework – learn from my mistakes and gain from my knowledge.

Read Wit’s End  and hear my daughter’s firsthand experiences. This is my first book published by Health Communications, Inc. (HCI) – the original home of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Don’t be a parent in denial – don’t be afraid to give your teen a second chance at a bright future – there are many good programs, just take your time and do your research.

Learn more at

Sue Scheff: Cell Phones and Fatalities

celldriveSource: Connect with Kids

“Three days later I woke up out of a coma, just for my husband to tell me that Ryan wasn’t gonna make it.”

– Lisa Duffner, mother

Ryan Duffner’s second birthday was memorable for the Lisa and Rorry Duffner.  There were balloons, a cake and wishes for many more, but, unfortunately, it was Ryan’s last birthday. Two months later Ryan and Lisa, while on their daily walk, were hit by a car.  The driver was a sixteen-year-old who was dialing her cell phone.  The impact threw Ryan thirty feet and Lisa sixty feet. Lisa was knocked unconscious.

 “Three days later I woke up out of a coma, just for my husband to tell me that Ryan wasn’t going to make it,” Lisa says, while fighting back tears. 

Duffner was in such critical condition that doctors wouldn’t allow her to hold her son in the moments before his death. 

“Not to say goodbye to my own baby—that was hard,” she says.

A study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimates that 6 percent of crashes are due to cell phones, resulting in 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries per year.

Seventeen-year-old Edgar admits that talking on the phone is often distracting.  “When I’m dialing a number or something like that, I’ve caught myself kind of drifting off,” he says.

Edgar uses the cell phone while driving, in spite of his mom’s strict rules. “She’s always freaking out telling me, ‘Don’t be using your cell phone while you’re driving. ‘” Pull over if you have to,’” he says.

Though Lisa Duffner thinks that cell phones are necessary, she doesn’t have much patience for people that can’t take the time to pull over and make the call. “My biggest thing is just to pull over to make your phone call.  Are you so self-important that you endanger everybody else’s lives?” she says.

Experts say that looking at a detailed phone bill is a way of checking up on kids’ phone usage. “You can look at that, and you can tell if they’re spending a lot of time on the phone coming from school to home. Then obviously they’re doing it,” says Captain Tommy Brown, Department of Public Safety.

But for teenagers, seeing the effects of what can happen, like the death of a two-year-old, may be the strongest tool for convincing them to hang up and drive.

Ryan’s absence reminds Duffner every day of the dangers of driving-while-distracted. “He was just that happy-go-lucky, jump-off-of-everything, friendly little kid.  He just loved life.”

Tips for Parents

It is very likely that your teenager will pick up the majority of his/her driving habits from watching you. According to a survey by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), nearly two-thirds of teenagers polled say their parents talk on the cell phone while driving, almost half say their parents speed, and just under one-third say their parents don’t wear seatbelts. The following statistics, therefore, shouldn’t be very surprising:

  • Sixty-two percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone while driving, and approximately half of high school teens who do not yet drive (52 percent) and middle school students (47 percent) expect they will engage in this behavior when they begin driving.
  • Sixty-seven percent of high school drivers say they speed.
  • Thirty-three percent of high school drivers say they do not wear their seatbelt while driving.

Cell phones have been transformed from status symbols into everyday accessories. In fact, cell phones are so prevalent among teenagers that a recent study found that they viewed talking on the phone nearly the same as talking to someone face-to-face. And with the latest studies showing that at least 56 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, the issue of cell phone usage is more pertinent than ever.

If you believe your teen should have a cell phone, it is important to lay down a few ground rules. The National Institute on Media and the Family suggests the following guidelines for setting limits on your teen’s cell phone use:

  • Choose a plan that puts some reasonable limits on your teen’s phone time. Make sure he or she knows what the limits are so he or she can do some budgeting.
  • Let your teen know that the two of you will be reviewing the bill together so you will have some idea of how the phone is being used.
  • If use exceeds the plan limits, the charges can mount very quickly. Make sure your teen has some consequences, financial or otherwise, if limits are exceeded.
  • Teach your child about the dangers of using the cell phone while driving and the distractions it can cause.
  • Find out what the school’s policies are regarding cell phone use and let your teen know that you will completely support the school’s standards.
  • Agree on some cell phone etiquette. For example, no phone calling during meals or when it is bothersome or rude to other people.
  • Conversely, let your teen know that any “phone bullying” or cheating via text messaging will not be tolerated.
  • Let your teen know that his or her use of the cell phone is contingent on following the ground rules. No compliance, no phone.


  • Harvard Center for Risk Analysis
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Rutgers University
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions- SADD

Sue Scheff: Jobs and Drug Use

Source: Connect with Kids

“They end up experimenting in such a way that the use of that [extra] income is not really going toward beneficial things for them.”

– Dr. Richard Winer, Psychiatrist

For just seventeen, Adam Shapiro’s work experience is impressive. “I have worked at my synagogue… like three hours a week probably on a Sunday. I was assistant teacher. I’ve ref’d soccer before,” he says.

But with major exams this week, the jobs will have to wait.

“Are you studying the rest of the week?” his mom, Karen, asks him,
“Yeah,” says Adam.

“The number one priority for us is his studies. So, if he wanted to work and make extra money that was great, as long as it did not interfere with his studies,” explains his mom, Karen.

Previous studies have found that kids who work just ten hours a week admit to cheating more often in school and taking less challenging courses.

And a new survey by the Rand Corporation finds that kids who work are also more likely to use drugs and alcohol and smoke cigarettes.

The difference between them and their unemployed peers: lack of supervision for one and extra cash.

“They end up experimenting in such a way that the use of that the use of that income is not really going toward beneficial things for them,” explains Dr. Richard Winer, a psychiatrist.

He says parents need to keep a close eye on where the money is going, and how the job is affecting their child. “Their sleep patterns, their eating patterns, their social skills among peers as well as family member… if there’s a distinct change that’s taken place then it’s probably worth looking into to that, because that might be kind of a warning sign.”

Finally, he says kids will do better off if they take a job for the experience, not just the money.
“If you enjoy your work, it won’t feel that taxing to you,” he says, “and [it] probably will have less likelihood of being an impediment to your academic work as a teen or as a college student.”

Adam, who already has been accepted to college early admission, says that’s exactly what happened to him.  “I ref soccer, and I enjoy, I love sports… so, I try to find a happy medium in between working, getting paid… and doing something I love.”

Tips for Parents

The Department of Labor estimates that 80 percent of high school students will hold a job at some point before graduation. Most teens are working for spending money. Few are contributing to family expenses. The National Academies assessed how work affects the health, education, development and behavior of young people. Their research found advantages and disadvantages for students that work.

Among the advantages of a job are that it can …

  • Help develop responsibility and time management skills.
  • Provide experience in dealing with people.
  • Provide opportunity to acquire specific job skills that might transfer to subsequent work situations.

Research has also shown the following negative consequences of work, particularly when a teen works more than 20 hours a week:

  • Work can interfere with schoolwork and academic achievement
  • Work can take precedence over extracurricular activities and social experiences that are an important part of adolescent development
  • Work can interfere with sleep
  • Students who work long hours – more than 20 hours – are more likely to use illegal drugs or engage in other deviant behavior.
  • Many students who work long hours get insufficient sleep and exercise and may spend less time with their families.
  • Students who consistently work more than 20 hours per week also complete less schooling.

Though working can help to acquire specific job skills, the reality is that many teens are employed in jobs that utilize low-level skills and do not provide any valuable learning experience. The National Academies and others recommend that Congress give the U.S. Department of Labor the authority to limit the number of hours worked during the school year by all children under 18.

Currently, under federal law, students under 16 cannot work more than three hours on a school day and 18 hours in an entire week. The government has not set guidelines for 16 to 17-year-olds. The National Consumers League recommends that 16 to 17 year olds be restricted to no more than four hours per day and 20 hours a week during the school year.

The North Carolina State University Family and Consumer Sciences offers these tips for parents and kids to make the most of a teen’s job:

  • Agree to make schoolwork the number one priority
  • Set clear expectations about the conditions of acceptable employment (type of work, how much work, maintaining good grades, etc.)
  • Have the teen work out expectations and conditions with employer (e.g. must have time off during finals week, must finish by a certain hour on school nights, etc.)
  • Consider working only during school vacations and/or vacations.
  • If money is not the issue, consider an unpaid or volunteer work that will serve the teen’s personal growth and long-term career interests.

Before your teen sets his or her heart on a job, make sure he or she is aware of the potential hazards of the job. According to the National Consumer League, the five worst and dangerous jobs for teens to hold include the following:

  • Driving and delivery, including operating or repairing motorized equipment
  • Working alone in cash-based businesses and late-night work
  • Cooking with exposure to hot oil and grease, hot water and steam, and hot cooking surfaces
  • Construction and work at heights
  • Traveling youth crews

As a parent, you need to teach your child the skills to keep a job by excelling in his/her chosen field. The YouthRules! Initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers parents the following tips for teaching their child the importance of appearance and courtesy on the job:

  • Know the dress code. If business attire is expected, wear it.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed and fit you properly. Shoes should be polished.
  • If you’re supposed to wear an identification card, wear it.
  • The basic rule is clean and neat: Bathe and brush your teeth before your work day. Hands and fingernails should be clean. Hair must be clean and neat, in acceptable styles and colors.
  • When you answer the phone at work or meet customers, always say, “Good morning (or afternoon or evening). Thank you for calling [name of your employer]. May I help you?”
  • Be friendly and sociable. Remember to say “thank you” and “please.”
  • Even if someone is rude to you, remain polite and keep your good attitude.


  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • National Consumers League
  • North Carolina State University Family and Consumer Sciences
  • The National Academies
  • Rand Corporation
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • YouthRules!

Sue Scheff: Stop Medicine Abuse and Teens

stopmedicineabusemainI feel this topic is so important, that I am posting another Blog Post on it with a bit more information.  Many parents fear their teens are involved in substance abuse (whether it is pot or crack) – but what you need to remember is many of the drugs can be located in your own home.  Cough medicine, sleeping pills, prescription drugs (meant for other family members, etc).  Take the time to learn more.

Source: StopMedicineAbuse

Recent studies among middle and high school aged kids across the country show a disturbing form of substance abuse among teens: the intentional abuse of otherwise beneficial medications, both prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC), to get high.

Teens who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs from their parents are half as likely to abuse drugs.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high. Where OTC medicines are concerned, data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicate that one in 10 teens reports having abused OTC cough medicines to get high, and 28 percent know someone who has tried it.

The ingredient the teens are abusing in OTC cough medicines is dextromethorphan, or DXM. When used according to label directions, DXM is a safe and effective ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is found in well over 100 brand-name and store-brand over-the-counter cough medicines. When abused in extreme amounts, DXM can be dangerous. was developed by the leading makers of OTC cough medicines to build awareness about this type of substance abuse behavior, provide tips to prevent it from happening, and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets. Substance abuse can touch any family: The key to keeping teens drug-free is education and talking about the dangers of abuse.

Sue Scheff: Keeping Kids Safe

washdcThe Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009

 on February 10, 2009 3:11 PM
Keeping Kids Safe

Tens of thousands of U.S. teenagers attend private and public residential programs – including therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness camps, boot camps, and behavior modification facilities – that are intended to help them with behavioral, emotional, mental health, or substance abuse problems. Depending on the state in which the program operates, some of these programs are subject to State law or regulation, while others are not. As a result of this loose patchwork of state oversight, children at some the programs have been subject to abuse and neglect with little to no accountability.

The Government Accountability Office found thousands of allegations of child abuse and neglect at residential programs for teens since the early 1990s. Tragically, in a number of cases, this abuse and neglect led to the death of a child. To address this urgent problem, the “Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009” would:

Keep teens safe with new national standards for residential programs that are focused on teens with behavioral, emotional, or mental health, or substance abuse problems

  • Prohibit programs from physically, mentally, or sexually abusing children in their care;
  • Prohibit programs from denying children essential water, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care – whether as a form of punishment or for any other reason;
  • Require programs to provide children with reasonable access to a telephone and inform children accordingly;
  • Require programs to train staff in what constitutes child abuse and neglect and how to report it; 
  • Require that programs only physically restrain children if it is necessary for their safety or the safety of others, and to do so in a way that is consistent with federal law already applicable in other contexts; and
  • Require programs to have plans in place to provide emergency medical care.

Prevent deceptive marketing by residential programs for teens

  • Require programs to disclose to parents the qualifications, roles, and responsibilities of staff members;
  • Require programs to notify parents of substantiated reports of child abuse or violations of health and safety laws; and
  • Require programs to include a link or web address for the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will carry information on residential programs.

Hold teen residential programs accountable for violating the law

  • Require states to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of reports of child abuse and neglect at covered programs and require HHS to conduct investigations of such programs to determine if a violation of the national standards has occurred; and
  • Provide HHS the authority to assess civil penalties up to $50,000 for every violation of the law.

Ask states to step in to protect teens in residential programs

Within three years, states must require all public and private programs to be licensed, meet standards that are at least as stringent as the national standards, and implement a monitoring and enforcement system. The Department of Health and Human Services would continue to inspect programs where a child fatality has occurred or where a pattern of violations has emerged.