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Paris Hilton and Rep. DeLauro push for patient rights for troubled teens

Paris Hilton, Adam Schiff, Rosa DeLauro
J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press
Hotel heiress and reality television star Paris Hilton, flanked by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., lends her celebrity to support legislation to establish a bill of rights for children placed in congregate care facilities, at the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

Paris Hilton and Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut have joined forces to take on the troubled teen care industry.

DeLauro visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday with Hilton, who has been an outspoken advocate against troubled teen facilities, where she said she faced severe physical and psychological abuse. Together, they introduced the Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which would set federal standards for care at these facilities for the first time by establishing a patient bill of rights.  

The Youth Congregate Care Bill of Rights states every youth should have the right to be free from abuse and neglect including all forms of physical, psychological and sexual abuse. It would also ban long periods of forced silence and allow reasonable daily access to the outdoors.

“If I had these rights and could have exercised them,” said Hilton, “I would have been saved from over 20 years of trauma and severe PTSD.”

DeLauro said there has been inadequate oversight of these facilities because the troubled teen care industry is not subject to federal guidelines.

“This bill would provide funding to states to establish life-saving measures and infrastructure to help youth in these sittings. [It] would help to prevent the abuse and the neglect of over 120 thousand young people in congregate care facilities across this country,” said DeLauro.

“Imagine if it was your child who was suffering abuse, neglect or death in the name of treatment,” Hilton said. “Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to protect them?”

John is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.