Author Topic: The Kids Nobody Wants  (Read 12269 times)

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Offline Eliscu2

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The Kids Nobody Wants
« on: May 05, 2017, 02:02:06 PM »
"The Kids Nobody Wants: Treating the Seriously Delinquent Youth" - McKenzie and Roos (1982)


1. Synanon (Tomales Bay, California).
2. Delancey Street (San Francisco, California).
3. Devereaux School (Santa Barbara, California).
4. Circle S Ranch (Salome, Arizona).
5. VisionQuest (Tucson, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado).
6. Provo Canyon School (Provo, Utah).
7. New Pride (Denver, Colorado).
8. Closed Adolescent Treatment Unit (Denver, Colorado).
9. Devereaux School (Victoria, Texas) .
10. Centerpoint (Danvers, Massachusetts).
11. Elan (Poland Springs, Maine).
12. Illinois State Psychiatric Institute (Chicago, Illinois).
13. Southwest Martial Arts Association (San Diego, California)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 05:24:40 PM by Eliscu2 »

Offline Eliscu2

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Re: The Kids Nobody Wants
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 02:07:16 PM »
Elan, R.E D. Box 33, Poland Springs, Maine 04274
Some of the best features of the therapeutic community are set in the framework of a residential treatment program
with an accredited high school, in the Elan program, located in rural Maine.
 This 250-bed program was founded by Gerald Davidson, a psychiatrist, and Joseph Ricci, a graduate of a drug-rehabilitation
and self-help program which was to some considerable degree an offshoot of Synanon.
 It is very difficult to describe the theory and operation of Elan in a few pages; it has been articulated at length in their own literature.
 Residents live in group homes of thirty to forty, and attend school in these same groups. A great deal of sophisticated planning and screening has gone into structuring the residences along lines of educational ability, and the more advanced houses have produced
some first-rate graduates.
 There is also a major division between the kids who are placed there voluntarily by their upper-middle class parents,
who bear the cost of their stay, and the "state kids," who are mostly poor, inner-city delinquents.
The two groups are segregated.
 The theoretical view of the Elan resident is the "out-of-control" youth, or the child who has been loved "too well, but not too wisely." The emphasis is on breaking exaggerated emotional bonds to parents and others, which lead to "acting-out" behavior.
The goal is to force the child into accepting responsibility for his or her behavior.
This is done by creating a highly structured environment in which a certain kind of peer culture is created. This culture
forces the residents to monitor each other's behavior and confront each other with their failures. The organizational structure of each house is used to teach lessons to the residents. They run the entire residence.
Everyone is forced to move up the ladder and to move laterally into areas where he or she is guaranteed to fail and be demoted, or "shot down," several times.
This is designed to teach the capacity to tolerate failure and rise from it. There are various kinds of encounter groups. Some are confrontational in the extreme.
I sat in on one of these in which the residents took turns screaming at each other at the top of their lungs for over an hour.
After this was done, they began to tear each other apart in a more analytical way under the guidance of the group leader.
It was in many ways like the Synanon game in the lack of inhibition, the lack of any "safe" areas of privacy which may not
be discussed. However, it did have a formal leader, a trained therapist, which the Synanon game does not.
There are also primal groups, in which one resident becomes the focus of a group designed to lead him into re-experiencing
some of his most deeply repressed pain.
Here the other residents act as supports, and the therapist is like a guide, leading the resident deeper into contact with his feelings.
Dr. Davidson pointed out to me that in Elan, the kids administer rules made by adults.
This is not like the illusory power of an ordinary high school government; here they really have responsibility to run their own residences, but they must do it according to the comprehensive system established by the adults.
 The inevitable effect of doing so is the emergence of the therapeutic
community atmosphere, in which a positive, growth-oriented peer culture is created.
 Dr. Davidson said that he is "being driven crazy by advocacy lawyers," to the point where Elan has considered not taking juvenile court placements.
 These lawyers, he said, "feel that kids should like the place, shouldn't be harassed, and who want to be called if the kid doesn't like things."
The point is not that the kids should like Elan, but that they should learn and change there.
These lawyers sometimes work at the behest of parents who have been unable to keep the child in line themselves, but then feel compelled to interfere in the treatment process.
Dr. Davidson feels that excessive parental interference is highly disruptive and can cause great problems for the child while he is in the
Edward Morris, Elan's Director of Education, said that above all else Elan teaches its residents to "be objective," and to "stand up for yourself."
These are part of the Elan philosophy, a set of eight statements which are very explicitly transmitted, discussed by the residents, and used as a standard by which they can gauge themselves and measure their progress.
There is no trace of a value-free atmosphere.
Elan claims a success rate of 80-90% with the privately placed kids,and 70-80% with the "state kids."
This is based upon their own research in which they have done followups for five years on 92% of their graduates.
This is obviously a remarkable success rate.
 However, this placement is in all likelihood not open to San Diego juveniles in any large numbers, at least not through the juvenile courts.
 First, Elan is moving away from court placements because of the many legal squabbles which result from them.
 Elan is not eager to expand in size, and it is filled to slightly beyond Its optImum capacity as it stands.
Nonetheless, there is a great deal to be learned from Elan. It appears to be successful.
It uses elements of confrontation and encounter. It takes juveniles out of their element, and uses unconventional methods.
These factors need to be considered as San Diego decides upon which option, or options, to choose.
Treatment, room, and board at Elan cost $1 ,200 per month.
School fees are an additional $3,000 per year; so the total yearly program cost is $17,400.
The average length of stay is 16 to 18 months.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 05:23:52 PM by Eliscu2 »