Thursday, April 27, 2023
By: Kendall Bartley
WASHINGTON D.C. – “Every day in America, children in residential facilities are being physically, emotionally and sexually abused by those responsible for their care,” said Paris Hilton, an advocate for the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act.
For over two years, celebrity Paris Hilton has brought awareness to the child abuse that goes on in residential care facilities across the nation, by sharing her own abuse story.
Thursday, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley joined her fight by helping to introduce the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act.
Merkley says investigations have shown children in some residential care facilities nationwide experience abuse, like broken bones, fight clubs, sexual abuse and more.
Senator Merkley says It’s an industry that receives about $23 billion a year in federal funds and serves about 60,000 children.
“When it comes to institutional care, we discover that too often without oversight, love and compassion are in short supply,” said Sen. Merkley. “In far too many facilities, institutional care has become institutional abuse. Time again we hear stories of broken bones and sexual assaults.”
Paris Hilton has been a leading advocate for change after experiencing abuse as a teen in a residential care facility and is encouraging law makers to do something.
“To majority leader Schumer and Speaker McCarthy,” she said, “I ask that you please prioritize the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act and pass the bill this year.”
The bill is aimed at preventing abuse through greater oversight, providing recommendations for sharing information between states, and providing best practices for identifying child abuse.
The bipartisan bill has already received support from multiple lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.