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Institutional Child Abuse: What is it and how can we prevent it?

Part 3 | A Collaborative Multi-series Webinar Event


In this third episode of our multi-series event, the ABA and guest speakers Maia Szalavitz, Guy Stephens, and Elissa Glucksman Hyne explore institutional child abuse within and around the Troubled Teen Industry and the child welfare system.

Struggling teens and their families desperate for help, find themselves trapped in an industry that has for the last 50 years operated in the shadows. With a mental health crisis and insignificant definitions pertaining to standards of care, the troubled teen industry has thrived and preyed upon families in crisis.

This sense of urgency is also present in the child welfare system where thousands of children in care are inappropriately placed in institutions and group settings. During this time of national reckoning on racial justice, dangers of COVID-19, new federal legislation, and reports of shocking conditions, we must demand action and ensure that unnecessary institutionalization no longer occurs.

This, in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, will:

  • Provide an overview of institutional child abuse.
  • Examine what constitutes abuse in residential treatment.
  • Provide reasons as to what causes these issues to persist.
  • Discuss the difference between TTI and Mental Health.
  • Present the harms and costs of unnecessary congregate care for children in the child welfare system.
  • Discuss potential alternatives to the use of congregate care in child welfare to promote positive child development and, well-being, and connection to family.
To view previous webinar videos from this series, visit the Troubled Teen Industry Program Resource Page.



Program Materials

  • Families over Facilities - Ending the use of harmful and unnecessary institutions and other group facilities in child welfare systems
    Elissa Gluckman Hyne, Children's Rights
  • Institutional Abuse - Restraint and seclusion use in schools and residential facilities across the nation
    Guy Stephens, Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint
  • Senator Sara Gelser's 2 part inverview with young survivor, Uvea, who testified on SB710.