For those of who have become with Hephzibah House and other teen homes run by Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB), you will understand the significance of the need for legislation to stop the abuse that takes place in these "private boarding homes." Because of the denial about the true conditions in these homes and because of the belief that this extreme abuse is required by God to save souls, the IFB will do nothing to address the abject abuse of children within their ranks and sphere of influence.
Because group homes claim to be private homes, they have free reign to conduct activities in any manner they see fit, abusing residents with impunity. Abused children become the casualties, sacrificial lambs who are offered up under the guise of the preservation of religious and private liberty. Currently, these money making group homes for troubled children and teens fall under the same legal definition of a private home or a church, and the government has no recourse to intervene on behalf of the residents within them.
Please let your elected representative know that you wish to place limits on the free reign of group homes like Hephzibah House to limit the abject abuse that takes place within them. State Law in Indiana makes investigation of reports of the child abuse that takes place at Hephzibah House nearly impossible, and Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act would require such homes to meet certain minimal regulatory standards.
The Three Easy Things That You Can Do:
Link Below to Support the Effort
Click on each of the three links to register your support and opinion with Congress)
- Link to Popvox to support the older 2009 version as H.R. 911 (Just because you can!)
The referral engine at Popvox will determine your location and will route a message of support to your elected officials regarding the bills, and you can chose to add your own material and information to the automated response.
About the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act (2009, 2011)
According to the Congressional Research Service Summary:
Directs the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services to require each location of a covered program to meet specified minimum standards if individually or together with other locations it has an effect on interstate commerce. Defines "covered program" as one operated by a public or private entity that with respect to one or more children unrelated to the program owner or operator: (1) provides a residential environment; and (2) operates with a focus on serving children with emotional, behavioral, or mental health problems or disorders, or problems with alcohol or substance abuse. Directs the Assistant Secretary to: (1) implement an ongoing review process for investigating and evaluating reports of child abuse and neglect; (2) establish public websites with information about each covered program, as well as a national toll-free telephone hotline to receive complaints; (3) establish civil penalties for violations of standards; and (4) establish a process to ensure that complaints received by the hotline are promptly reviewed by persons with appropriate expertise.
Read more about the original Act HERE and a fact sheet about the current version HERE.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES and INFORMATION
Hepzibah House Information and Resources for Survivors at Under Much Grace!
Additional Resources Offsite:
- Hephzibah Girls Blog (Susan Grotte's blogspot; This site includes copies of documents distributed to families by Ron Williams.)
- Former Hephzibah Girls (Visit their links page for more links on activism.)