The Community Alliance For the Ethical Treatment of Youth
, or CAFETY
, is an advocacy group for survivors of residential treatment
programs for at-risk teenagers. The group's mission includes advocating access to advocates
, due process
, alternatives to aversive behavioral interventions
, and alternatives to restraints
for young people in treatment programs. They have also called for the routine reporting of abuse in residential treatment
programs, as well as federal government
oversight and regulation
of residential treatment
CAFETY was founded in 2006 by Charles King and Kathryn Whitehead, with the goal: "to create a forum for youth advocacy and support designed to develop and shape youth-guided policies and practices with a speciﬁc emphasis on the ethical treatment of youth with behavioral, emotional, and mental health problems in institutional settings."
By July of that year, CAFETY had 118 members and 8 core group members from across the United States, including at least one medical professional.
CAFETY seeks to end institutionalized child abuse and human rights violations in institutional settings. The organization additionally advocates for the regulation of, and the efficacy in treatment in such settings. In pursuit of that objective, CAFETY has chiefly focused its efforts on actively supporting and providing testimony in support of legislation aimed at the regulation of residential treatment facilities
in the United States
From late 2007 through 2008, a broad coalition of grass roots efforts, prominent medical and psychological organizations that included members of CAFETY, provided testimony and support that led to the creation of the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008 by the United States Congress Committee on Education and Labor.
In support of this effort, Jon Martin-Crawford, a member of the group's Board of Directors and Kathryn Whitehead, the group's Executive Director, appeared at a hearing before the United States Congress Committee on Education and Labor on April 24, 2008., where they provided testimony about abusive practices at two residential treatment programs.