To: The Massachusetts State House, The Massachusetts State Senate, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Donald Trump

Social Workers across U.S. file legal complaint of child abuse/neglect of detained asylum seekers

This petition is initiated by April Berry-Fletcher, LICSW, EdD to elicit support for my filing of a Report of Suspected Abuse and Neglect of migrant and refugee children by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The basis for this filing, and for seeking the support of social workers and others is to uphold our moral, ethical and legal responsibility under
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1974(42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 and 2-19 which defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:

"Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or

"An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."

Where the Texas Tribune reports " Trump administration recently canceled English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for unaccompanied minors at shelters across the country, citing budget pressures. And in court Tuesday, an attorney for the Department of Justice argued that the government shouldn’t be required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels or showers" and one Congressional leader described these facilities as "concentration camps" we, as social workers, are obligated to report and to expect a full investigation of the legal rationale, the procedures for family separation, the systems for ensuring child and family whereabouts, child and family health, education and general welfare.
We, as social workers will not stand idly by as these and related atrocities are perpetrated by federal and contracted agenciesin this country.

Child Welfare Laws:
Texas Tribune Investigation Report:

Why is this important?

As a social work professor and practitioner, and as a human being, I take my ethical obligation to uphold the values of NASW Code of Ethics which include service to others, commitment to social justice, respect for and defense of the dignity and worth of the person, knowledge and commitment to uphold the importance of human relationships, to act with integrity when bearing witness to undue harm to vulnerable persons and to the value of competence as it relates to my professional knowledge that the actions taken at the U.S. Mexico border constitute child abuse and neglect as well as human rights violations.

Reasons for signing

  • This needs to be corrected. What is being allowed to happen to these children is unbelievable in 2019. Praying for this country
  • Everybody deserve to live and get an education. Just like the rest of our kids.
  • This is unconscionable!! We will look back on this time in our history with shame and horror.

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