Senator Shannon Grove and Celebrity Advocate Paris Hilton Announce Children’s Protection Measure

Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and Paris Hilton have announced their bipartisan measure, SB 1043, the Accountability in Children’s Treatment (ACT) measure, sponsored by Hilton’s nonprofit 11:11 Media Impact and joint-authored by Senator Angelique Ashby (D-Sacramento) and Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward). The measure proposes greater transparency for children and young adults who are living in facilities licensed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), by requiring information related to the use of restraints and seclusion rooms to be accessible to the public.

“As a survivor of the ‘Troubled Teen Industry,’ I am proud to partner with Senator Shannon Grove - a champion for children in California - on the Accountability in Children’s Treatment Act to bring much needed transparency to California youth facilities,” said Paris Hilton. “I look forward to collaborating with all members of the California legislature on this important bill in our shared pursuit for protection of our state’s most vulnerable youth.”

Previously, California sent children to out-of-state facilities with the goal of getting them the treatment they urgently needed. Tragically, numerous reports and incidents were brought to light of these vulnerable children being abused at these facilities.

In response to the out-of-state abuses, AB 808 (Stone, 2021) was introduced to eliminate the placement of foster youth in out-of-state treatment facilities and also create the Child’s Continuum Pilot Program to develop care for foster youth. This measure was passed in a budget bill, AB 153, which decertified out-of-state facilities and required all California youth to return by January 1, 2023. Governor Newsom allocated $8 million to immediately bring home the remaining youth from these treatment facilities and utilize the funding to recruit foster families and bolster health and behavioral support services. Currently, Short Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTPs) serve as an alternative for out-of-state treatment facilities. Although these facilities hold a higher standard of care, the use of seclusion rooms and restraints on minors still occur which require reporting to CDSS. However, this information is not currently accessible to the public. 

“California has been on the forefront when it comes to recognizing the need to strengthen laws surrounding youth in congregate care,” said Senator Shannon Grove. “I am honored to work side by side with Paris Hilton, a survivor of the troubled teen industry, on this children’s protection measure which will create more accountability in their treatment. When it comes to our children’s health and wellness we should only accept the highest level of transparency in these areas of care.”

SB 1043 will provide additional transparency of STRTPs by requiring the reporting of key data, including the use of seclusion rooms, the use of restraints and incidents resulting in serious injuries or deaths, to be displayed on a public dashboard on the California Department of Social Services website.