In response to reports of abuse from thousands of youth, and the reported deaths of hundreds of young people, the Los Angeles LGBT Center joined Survivors of Institutional Abuse (SIA) in 2015 to launch the national Protect Youth from Institutional Abuse campaign to regulate the industry of residential programs that claim to help “troubled” youth, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark bill into law in 2016 to regulate the industry of residential programs in California. The new law, first introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara, is the most comprehensive of its kind, with no exemption for religious-based businesses.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that in just one year (2005), 1,619 program employees—in 33 states—were involved in incidents of abuse. SIA reports the deaths of more than 300 people who are linked to these programs. Now, federal legislation to stop this abuse nationwide is essential because it is common for programs forced to close in one state to reopen in another, often under a different name.