Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform > Facility Question and Answers

Any info on Havenwood Academy ?


It is located in Cedar City, Utah. We found this testimony, so we will like to learn more about the facility:

--- Quote from: From Google ---This place ruined my life. It did nothing for my family or I.

They tried to keep me after I was 18, luckily they didn't. I never had any problems there, followed the rules, my program, etc. Management was horrible, poorly run and planned. I gained 15 pounds living there because we ate terrible food and say on our asses all day. We rarely did any activities such as go to the gym or go rock climbing. RARELY. I was there for 8 months and went climbing maybe 4 times. I had to pee in a bathtub a lot because our toilets would clog and we (the girls) would tell staff, program director, and anyone who would listen and it wouldn't be fixed for days. This place will not fix your daughter. You will hurt her, your relationship with her, among other things.

Please for the love of god don't send your child here. Be a better parent. See a counselor. Don't ruin and steal a year of your kids life because you think you know what's best for them. This isn't it. For some it may be, for most it's not.

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In a recent article there is a reference to a 2018 incident where a girl was tied and forced to sit in a horse trough. The facility came under investigation but as usual with Utah, nothing came out of it.

Can the $300 million ‘troubled teen’ therapy sector be reformed by legislation and public pressure? (Deseret News)

Also there is a new review of the facility on Google:

--- Quote from: Hannah Cahon ---Havenwood academy is one of the most, if not the most wasted and detremental periods of my life. I was taken there by force when I was 14 years (I am now 17)old by 2 people whom I can not even identify by name. I did not know what state or city I was in for the first 72 hours of me being there. I was refused the information by the staff who were supposed to make me feel comfortable. I would consider Havenwood academy one of the most tramatic parts of my life. On top of the inadequate emotional care havenwood suplies the schooling system is also extremely lacking in structure. The teachers were not prepared to teach the subjects that they were assigned and that often left students including myself at a standstill academically.  The managements was horrible and increasingly got worse. My family and I did not come out with any real improvements to our relationship. After I left havenwood all staff and therapy cut off relations with me and my parent leaving us without the promised aftercare. Havenwood academy is thriving off of false hope and manipulation. I wish wholeheartedly that Havenwood could have executed what they wanted well but unfortunately they failed horribly. I strongly urge any parent reading this ro rethink the idea of sending there child away, seek hometherapy and love. All a child in struggle needs is to feel like they have a home and people in it who love them. Sending your child away will not solve problems but only our space inbetween you and them and intensify the issues.
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These ones are from Yelp:

--- Quote from: Ry A ---If I could honestly give Havenwood 0 stars I one hundred percent would. This "program" is a complete joke. I myself was enrolled in Havenwood in 2015-2016. I absolutely can not stress enough, do NOT send your girls here. This is a FRAUDULENT program and I genuinely do not understand how it hasn't been shut down yet. My time at Havenwood was a little different than most girls as I was expecting a little boy. Right off the bat, Havenwood informed us they only took one pregnant girl at a time because of many "liabilities". I struggle with Reactive Attachment Disorder, depression and anxiety. My parents wanted a SAFE place for me to work on my ever so present issues and wanted to make sure I was comfortable and well taken care of while I worked through the majority of my trauma. Sadly this is not at all what care I received. From the minimal "outings" if you'd even consider them outings, to the "nutritional program" that is stated to be offered. It is all a scam. Outings consisted of drives, trips to Taco Bell and the park. There was ONE time in my 8 month stay that I witnessed girls getting to go rock climbing. I was not allowed to go once again because of "liabilities". They did not have an alternative for me so I was left at the home alone with two male staff. The nutrition program is for lack of better terms, a joke. Although I was pregnant and it was normal for me to gain weight. I gained 65 pounds in my pregnancy even though my doctor constantly told the two "nurses" on campus that I needed a better diet program. They ended up asking my parents for $300 more a month so they could shop for me personally... out of the entire 8 months I was given a box of Oreos, healthy potato chips and my own bread... NOT A DIME of the $300 my parents were shelling out for MY DIET was being used appropriately. Not to mention, I have food allergies. Consisting of some nuts, citric acid and vitamin C. I am incredibly allergic to pineapples and strawberries. But not once was it accommodated. One night specifically I was told to go to bed hungry or eat the Pineapple "chicken" that was prepared. I went to bed hungry. Now, to more alarming scenarios. I was admitted to the hospital with a 103° fever during my pregnancy and my parents were NEVER informed until my Sunday phone call. Once I told them I had gone to the ER a staff ended my phone call and counted it as "manipulation". We were constantly left alone with all male staff, which got very uncomfortable. Staff refused to speak to our parents or let them know what was going on. Often times staff would let the girls use their phones to see their social media. There are holes in the walls, mold in the back freezers and the house is honestly just mediocre at best. 16 girls with issues straining from drug addiction to RAD do not mix well when they are all crammed into a tiny house and 6 of them live in ONE room. I wasn't allowed to even do much of the very limited "equine" program because I was pregnant and once again, I was a liability. Most of the therapy they offered is a complete joke. The school program was actually laughable. I legitimately just had to keep clicking the arrow and it would pass an entire class for me. Transitioning back into a real high school for my senior year was so incredibly difficult... Some staff even went as far as to tell me word for word that I would be a terrible mother. That I was not going to be able to do it. That I NEEDED to give my son up for adoption when NO WHERE in my plan was this supposed to be spoken of. Not only that, but a couple (as loving and gracious as they were, honestly the only two people who I actually trusted somewhat ) approached me and asked me to adopt my son KNOWING where I stood. I was completely disrespected and my heart was BROKEN. December 2015 rolled around and I was granted the luxury of getting to go spend a week off campus with my family. I immediately informed my parents of all that went on in the program that I wasn't allowed to say over a monitored phone call without getting into trouble. They pulled me almost instantly. I can not stress to you enough. Your girls will not benefit from this program. They all have the ability to flourish and live such healthy beautiful lives. But this program is NOT where they will achieve that. 90% of the girls who have left program who I keep in contact with still have INCREDIBLE amounts of instability throughout their lives. One girl was even sent back to program after graduating all together not even a month later. I urge you to please look into these RTC programs thoroughly before sending your girls!!!!! I know there are programs out there that will walk miles above Havenwood with people who DO want to help. Not just unqualified staff and money hungry owners. Good luck to anyone who is currently struggling in trying to find the correct placement and I sure hope this helps in your decision

You can laugh at my experience in this facility. Its okay. Not everyone's experience was the same. Nor as traumatic and I do recognize that. My point being, the point of Havenwood for me was to recognize trauma and RECOVER.  Havenwood DID NOT help me through this time in my life. Do I genuinely believe there were some people there who WANTED to help? OF COURSE! I still have VERY close relationships with staff members who have previously worked in house with the girls.

My therapist left half way through my program when I was 7 months pregnant after it already took me SIX months to feel comfortable with some random man I was thrown in a room with. HW had and has so many genuinely kind staff. BUT 90% of the staff that was there in my time, no longer work for the Hofflings. They have moved on to REAL, LEGITIMATE facilities to put their efforts to use where it will make a difference. Havenwood has treatment plans. Basically all the staff get together once a week to go over each girl and what they need to do with them.... I am sorry but? Half of these people were not even licensed to be GIVING therapeutic help EXCEPT for our TWO therapists who we were only to speak to ONCE a week. I do think the program started off well rounded until they got money hungry. (Which I will not even get started on what my parents endured after pulling me from a program that did not do anything it promised).

A genuine treatment program is nothing in which I just described to you. Please recognize this issue has matter of factly only gotten worse since my time there in 2016. I relentlessly spoken to previous staff and a few of the girls who spent time in HW after I left. I promise you, I am not the only one. Just the only one who wants to speak up for what I TRULY endured as a teen in treatment here.


That is all I have to say on this matter and it will be my last update. Feel free to contact me if you are contemplating sending your daughter here.
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--- Quote from: Martin M ---I was placed at havenwood twice. The last 6 months of my first time being there were exceptional. Management, the staff, and my therapist were extremely amazing. However, I did have to come back a year and a half later because although I got help the first time around, I do not feel my family got the help they needed so that we could have good lasting communication skills. Which is one reason I believe I got into bad things again. I did not fall back into old patterns, but found new dangerous coping mechanisms that brought me back to havenwood a year and a half later. I was glad to have gone back to havenwood instead of a new facility because things felt familiar. But I do admit some of the things happening were not okay. They have this thing called "shutdown" where all 16 girls are placed in the garage to sit and stare at each other and do nothing. When I say nothing, I mean NOTHING. We cannot talk, read, lay down, or even rest our faces in our hands. We could only sit and stare into space. I went through two shut downs and the second one lasted 6 days. We were forced to only have two changes of clothes during that time since we were not allowed to even do laundry. This means that we had to sit in unwashed dirty underwear for 6 days, and you could only rinse them in the shower to get them somewhat clean again. We were given our meals as normal, and a shower, and it was off to bed and awaken the next morning at 6am to sit on the garage floor with everyone else until 9pm that night. During that time, many girls physically hurt themselves, in which a lot of us were exposed to witnessing self mutilation of someone our very own age and were forced to run upstairs to another room so staff could restrain that peer until she stopped screaming and crying so we could all come back down to the garage once she was calmed down. The staff on shift are all very young college students who can barely manage their own emotions, and don't know how to deal with 16 unstable girls at once going through mental and emotional problems without lashing at us back. Trainings were minimal and some staff would use it as a power control. There were some amazing staff who I still keep in touch with, but those were the ones who were most loving and patient and did not punish us for reacting in the only ways we knew how. Girls try to run away during shut down and I don't blame them. That was probably the worst part about havenwood. I also gained 30 pounds from the poor nutritional diet they were offering and we almost never got to go to the gym and exercise. We did not have a lot of physical activity, or fun outings, and we were pretty much forced to all sit in a tv room all weekend and watch the same movies over and over. Sometimes they would take us on drives, but they even took that option away at one point and all we would do was sit in the cramped home. We did not have music therapy, and if we did it only lasted 2 months until the therapist would quit and we would be promised another one.. which never came. There are girls there who crap in other girls pillows, and get no consequences for it! Because the excuse is that's just the way they are and there's nothing they can do to control that. Girls who hit and bite and assault multiple other girls and staff and we get in trouble if we defend ourselves back. When I first got to havenwood my second time was great. But after about 8 months of being there, stuff started falling apart for some reason and I believe it is due to them admitting so many hopeless nut cases who belonged in an asylum, not a group home for girls with emotional trauma. However, I do have good things to say. I was the first girl at havenwood to go to college while being there. I graduated early and was able to take online college classes, and they really helped me succeed in schooling. Especially Kris the counselor, she was absolutely so helpful and amazing. I've grown great friendships with some staff and peers that I hold close to this day, and although I've gotten back into the old things I was doing I would like to say I appreciate the patience the therapists had with me. I did get a lot of help dealing with stuff from my childhood which has helped me understand my emotions better and I can prevent myself from acting out. I'm not entirely perfect but I did get more help than I did the first time so I don't feel like being at havenwood again was a waste of time. I definitely was there longer than I needed to be since I didn't act out crazy like the other girls there, but I had no other choice. Kirsten and Blaine hoffeling and Lou Trotta are fantastically generous and kind and loving. And the equine therapists were extremely helpful, horse therapy was definitely a highlight

I think if havenwood could stop admitting girls for the money aspect and actually take in girls they know they can help instead of biting off more than they can chew with these coocoo girls that belong in looney bins, then the program would improve much much more. I suggest havenwood goes back to how things were when they first started... only admitting girls with family, drug, or emotional problems instead of girls with deep rooted trauma that cannot be reversed. If she struggles terribly in school, this is a good option for her. If your daughter fights with you on a consistent basis, this is a good place for her. However, if you're daughter is violent, dangerous, or sociopathic, I suggest she's placed in more of a hospital setting or maybe try military camp. That would fix her pretty quick. Havenwood has enough of those they're struggling to fix.
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--- Quote from: Natalie G. ---8/29/2017 - We have a daughter who has been at Havenwood for 6 months and is still currently enrolled. We are not happy with many things in their program and are struggling to work through these issues but are planning on moving her as soon as we find a better program. I am putting my personal phone number on here and am willing to talk with any parents who would like a candid review of Havenwood

1/11/2018 - I feel like I can now post my full review instead of just my phone number because we finally moved our daughter out of Havenwood on 12/27/17 after her being there for 10 months. I have gotten many calls from parents just like me who are looking at RTC programs or who have children currently in terrible RTC programs, and we're all feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated. In realizing this need, as well as having had a very negative experience at Havenwood, it is my intention is to start a website/forum/database for reviews of RTC programs - specifically for California state funded programs. There has to be more accountability for these programs to do what they say they're going to do! If you're interested in being a part of this endeavor, please email [email protected] or call me at (916) 934-3270.
With that being said, here are a just a few of my reasons (not in any particular order) for a one star and pulling our daughter out of the self-claimed "premier" program at Havenwood:

1. They falsely advertise their program on their website and in their parent welcome letter after admission to the program. Whatever you read on their site, do not believe it.
- There is no music therapy, no art therapy, no recreation therapy, no outdoor therapy, no access to a gym and no regular fitness routine, no rock climbing, very few outings and extracurricular events (going on a drive is the highlight of the weekend), non-existent nutrition program (will discuss further below), their staff are hardly experts in any of the modes of treatment they say they offer, the school program is a joke (will discuss further below), and so much more inflated mumbo-jumbo to try impress parents.

2. The house where the girls are at is depressing.
-  It is a very average house in the middle of an average to low-income neighborhood. Check it out on Google Maps and Zillow - then, imagine 16 teenage girls with mental and behavioral issues crammed into that small house. It feels more like a group home, and one of the rooms holds 6 girls.  The backyard is tiny and doesn't insight any desire to get outside for fresh air or exercise. There are indentations/holes in the walls where girls have destroyed property and the carpet is trashed.

3. HORRIBLE communication with parents.
-  We were not notified of changes to staff in the home (which was often) and would hear about it from our daughter during our family phone call.
- We were not given contact information of the staff who are actually in the home. Some staff literally refused to give us their phone number and told us to email them instead. So we did that, but emails were not returned.
- Our daughter was put on a new medication for three weeks without our approval.
- We were not given information about the parent weekends until (maybe) two weeks before we were supposed to arrive, making it difficult to plan for travel, childcare, time off work, etc.
- We were consistently told different things by different staff - no one was ever on the same page.
- We asked for their grievance policy and were never responded to.
- We filed a complaint with the BBB of Utah and they did not respond to that either.

4. Their educational program is a joke.
- The girls are in a class of 8. There is a "teacher" and an aide in the room. The girls are put in front of a computer to read a lesson, and then complete "post tests." The computer then gives them a score and they start on the next lesson. In "school" it is acceptable for the girls to  misbehave, and get into physical fights, resulting in restraints. We were supposed to receive a weekly report from her teacher on her progress, but that was inconsistent as well, sometimes being a month or more late. There is no accountability for the girls to do their work. If they don't want to do their work, they don't have to and there is no requirement for them to catch up over the weekend and/or lose privileges. Our daughter was on track academically, liked to learn, and was an A/B student before Havenwood. But, because of this "school," she began to hate learning and fell very behind.

5. There is no nutrition/health program. They claim to feed the girls "optimal nutrition" but the foods they serve are high in saturated fat and cholesterol with pasta, burgers, nachos, pizza and high sugar desserts being on the menu regularly. Our daughter gained 60 pounds while at Havenwood.

Overall, this is not a good RTC. I do believe the people there are kind to the girls and have good intentions, but the execution is really off, the leadership is weak, and the program and lacking in many key areas mentioned above. There is so much more here that I didn't discuss, so if you have any further questions, please feel free to email or call me.

4/7/2020 - This is an update from my posted Yelp review back in January of 2018 where I outlined the terrible experience we had when our daughter was at Havenwood for 10 months. In that posting I put my phone number and personal email.

***Since then, we went took Havenwood through a lengthy 9-month arbitration with the Better Business Bureau of Utah. The arbitrator found Havenwood to have "major discrepancies between what was advertised and what was delivered" in four major areas of our daughters treatment. The complete document of that final arbitration can be found here -…. Our claims are the first part of the document and make reference to an 18 page document we submitted that showed all proof of our claims. The detailed findings from the arbitrator start on page 4 for you to verify these discrepancies. Also, the last page of this document is the BBB final arbitration decision where they told Havenwood to REMOVE all the falsified information from their website and their parent welcome letter. Did Havenwood do this? No. They are no longer accredited with the BBB, but that was the only restitution we had with them.
So, why am I posting this update now?

***We have since had a wonderful experience at a residential treatment facility and our daughter has now successfully graduated and transitioned home. I want that same hope and help for any person reading this review, it does exist - just not at Havenwood.
***I am STILL receiving calls/emails from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, who currently have their daughters at Havenwood and their sister program Zion Hills Academy and are having major issues similar to mine, or even WORSE.

***I also am still receiving calls/email from those who are telling me what Havenwood is promising and getting a "bad feeling" (for good reason) and then searching the internet and finding my review.

***And, I am also getting calls/emails from teens themselves who have been at Havenwood and were treated poorly.

***I have also gotten calls from concerned social workers.
I contacted Havenwood on 4/5/2020 asking them for any updated policies and procedures, their new parent welcome's letter, and why I continue to get phone calls of concern.

***I am asking anyone who HAS or HAS HAD a daughter go through Havenwood or any of their other affiliated programs such as Zion Hills Academy, to please call or email me with any pertinent information about their experiences.

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