Send a Message to Help Youth in Institutional Care, Feb 17, 2021



The repeated reports of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at youth institutions have been heart-breaking and infuriating. This cruelty cannot be allowed to continue. But, with action by the Philadelphia City Council, the wheels of change are starting to turn. Your email to City Council will help.

Thousands of children living in institutions are at the mercy of their providers. In the last 11 years, at just one of these facilities, one child has been killed, and staff have been charged for 12 rapes, two cases of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, seven reports of indecent exposure, four cases of corruption of the morals of a minor, and one case of child endangerment. There were also 23 reports of sexual abuse and six reports of physical abuse against children.

In response to the many horrific emotional, physical, and sexual assaults by staff, City Council last June authorized a blue-ribbon task force to draft specific policies to protect children in care. The task force identified the need to create an independent Youth Services Ombudsperson’s office where youth or family members could report abuse. What is best for children and youth in institutions is to have one place they can call when the protections in place fail them; one place to turn where they know they can get help. A dedicated, independent Ombudsperson’s office will be a resource for victims when their cries for help go unanswered.

There is no better time to rally for City Council to establish a such a lifesaving resource. Councilmembers Gym, Thomas, Brooks, Gauthier, Johnson, Henon, Gilmore Richardson, Domb, Squilla, and Bass have sponsored Resolution 210126, which directs the Committee on Children and Youth to hold hearings concerning recommendations to establish an independent Youth Services Ombudsperson’s office.

Contact your councilmembers to let them know that you care about the safety and welfare of the thousands of children in institutions. Residential placement should provide youth with a safe and caring environment in which to heal and grow.

Council Members


Mark Squilla, District 1

Kenyatta Johnson, District 2

Jamie Gauthier, District 3

Curtis Jones, Jr., District 4

Darrell Clarke, District 5

Bobby Henon, District 6

Maria Q. Sánchez, District 7

Cindy Bass, District 8

Cherelle Parker, District 9

Brian O’Neill, District 10

Kendra Brooks, At-Large

Allan Domb, At-Large

Katherine Gilmore Richardson, At-Large

Derek Green, At-Large

Helen Gym, At-Large

David Oh, At-Large

Isaiah Thomas, At-Large