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Messages - Deborah

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;D  :cheers: Friends

Is this the end, or beginning?

Will we see more suits from parents who were deceived about HLAs solvency?

Is the IRS yet asking, "Where's the Beef"?

The Troubled Teen Industry / Youth Rights UK Manifesto
« on: January 21, 2008, 07:31:21 AM »

Youth Rights UK aims to provide commentary about matters effecting the rights of young people in the UK. The site aims to provide a voice for young people whose rights are being abused. Focus is on:

Excesses in punishments for young offenders. For example surveillance and/or detention based punishments which far from rehabilitating lead to a destruction in morale and more offending.

The tendancy to extend these kinds of progammes to young people who are deemed to be 'at risk' of offending before any offences have been committed. This is recruiting children into the surveillance and control industry to ensure the continued need for this industry.

Practices which are abusive and offensive to human dignity such as tagging, in any circumstances

The use of control orders against young people, and their parents, for minor offences which challenge the authority of police, teachers and council officers, or which cause irritation and annoyance to neighbours - the 'anti-social' behaviour campaign. Social responsibility is very important; but is not taught by surveillance, punishment and prison. It is taught by positive adult example in the community. Public funds should be freed to resource this, not spent on the control industry.

The tendancy to always seek authoritarian solutions to social problems. For example new legislation that enables head teachers to issue fines to parents whose children do not attend school and imprisoning parents for failing to compel their children to attend school.

The trend towards accepting surveillance as an everyday part of life; for example finger-printing systems used in schools for checking the register, and use of drug testing and sniffer dogs in schools. Surveillance depersonalises relationships and should not be an ordinary part of everyday life.

Use of drugs to control hyperactive children. Understanding and time, not adult convenience and drug company profit should be the response to these children.

We aim to challenge the excesses of power used against children and young people by accurate reporting of the facts, by argument and by protest. Currently we believe that protest should be within the law.

We note the comment by Albert Camus. "In a curious reversal peculiar to our age when evil dons the appareil of innocence it is innocence which is called upon to justify itself". We aim to take up that challenge.

You can forget about the Compact anyway. It may still apply to court-ordered placements, but it no longer applies to parent placements. We have Robin Arnold-Williams, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Human Services and NATSAP to thank for that. ... ew&id=1748
July 04
Reform of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children plays a necessary role for ensuring that children placed across state lines receive appropriate care and supervision. However, it has not been sufficiently amended in its 44-year existence. APHSA, as the Secretariat of the Association of Administrators of the ICPC, and based on recommendations from its’ ICPC reform task force, has embarked on a comprehensive reform of the ICPC. A drafting and development team comprised of a broad and diverse set of stakeholders representing state commissioners, state and local child welfare directors, ICPC administrators, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, court administrators, the American Bar Association, Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National Indian Child Welfare Association, Child Welfare League of America, and the National CASA Association. We begin the work of redrafting the compact next week and will complete the process by the end of this year.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Residents Oppose Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch
« on: December 12, 2007, 02:29:22 PM »
Residents split on faith-based teen center
Posted: 11/14/2007
Modified: 11/14/2007
A local Christian couple announced Monday that they want to open what they called a "glorified foster home" for up to 40 troubled teens in the Bedell Flat area north of Reno.

A fiery public comment session ensued at the North Valley Citizen Advisory Board meeting with residents arguing for and against the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch. More than 100 attended the meeting.

Ranch co-founder Marvin Neal said they plan to enroll teenagers who need homes and want to live in the Christian care community. Neal said teens who have committed felony offenses would not be allowed.

"We have talked to several family court judges who have said they could fill (the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch) in a day if we were ready," he said.

Those against the proposal cited concerns about safety, passable roads, declining property values, no perimeter fence to keep teens on the property and a lack of the administrators' qualifications. Many said they wouldn't feel safe to continue leaving their doors unlocked and keys in their vehicles if the facility were built.

"Nobody can guarantee that a walk-away will not occur, and that could turn into something horrible," Red Rock resident Jim McGill said. "I don't care whether this facility is Christian, Buddhist or Martian."

Others said the Christian teen ranch, located two miles from the nearest home, would provide necessary services to help meet the needs of homeless and troubled teens.

"It's the spirit of fear that's breaking apart this room," Stead resident Shawn Lady said. "You are making these children, who need help, into absolute monsters ... If you don't help these kids, you'll be paying for them in prison."

Red Rock resident Patti Reslock said this kind of project is allowable on land zoned general rural.

"(The county) cannot deny (your project) based on fear," Reslock said in favor of the project. "What may or may not happen is no reason to deny it."

Others said the remote location of the ranch could be a liability to its occupants' safety. Pete Hackbach, speaking on behalf of the Sierra Rancho Housing Association, said deaths have occurred in the remote area because of delayed police and paramedic response times.

Hackbach said residents in the area all have been stranded in their homes for three and four days during bad winter weather. If an emergency were to occur at the ranch, Hackbach said he didn't see how they could be evacuated.

Washoe County requirements will dictate the quality of the road, fire safety precautions and water access.

Co-founder Jan Neal said the dirt road to the site will be improved and a helipad will be installed in case of emergencies. They also are looking into snowmobiles and horse sleighs if the winter weather makes the roads impassable. Marvin Neal said they haven't decided what level of first-aid training the staff would have.

Marvin Neal said he doesn't have all of the qualifications needed for the facility, but plans to hire adequately trained staff or partner with other successful teen homes for training. He said he has never run a facility similar to the teen ranch but has worked as a juvenile detention facility chaplain.

Marvin Neal also said he once was on the same path as the kids he hopes to help.

"It's not blind faith," Jan Neal said. "There are enough of these programs up and running to see it can work."

While the program is not affiliated with a specific church, the Neals said the teen ranch is faith-based and they will teach according to the universal church of Jesus Christ. They said the program will be funded by a combination of private and church donations, grants and other programs.

"They have love and true concern for other people," Animal Ark co-founder Diana Hiibel said.

Hiibel said she has known the Neals for 10 years from their participation in the Sparks Christian Fellowship Church.

"Whatever project they take on, they give it their all," Hiible said. "(Marvin Neal) feels like he's being led by God to do this."

The Neals said they chose not to pursue a similar project in Warms Spring in 2003 because the neighbors were too close.

"I arrived with an open mind," Bedell Flat resident Bob Reaney said. "(But) we all had to pull this out of you ... It doesn't feel like it's been as well thought out as we would hope. That's why there's such a feeling of fear in this room."

North Valleys CAB Vice Chairman Glen Pedersen made the motion to forward the comments made by citizens to county officials rather than make a recommendation.

"There's too many unanswered questions here," Pedersen said. "Everything must be made available to the county for their consideration."

All voted in favor of the motion except North Valleys CAB member Jack Selin, who said he would rather have the board recommend denying the project since most residents spoke against the project.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Residents Oppose Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch
« on: December 12, 2007, 02:23:36 PM »
Washoe OKs at-risk teen ranch
Posted: 12/8/2007
The Washoe County Board of Adjustment approved a highly controversial care facility for up to 40 at-risk teens Thursday night to be built in the Bedell Flat area north of Reno.

Marvin and Jan Neal hope to build a faith-based school and live-in facility for teens who are not delinquents but whose personal safety and welfare are in jeopardy.

Teenagers who agree to live at the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch will be directed there by Family Court, Juvenile Court, or by parents relinquishing custody. The teen ranch is not acting as an incarceration facility and only is meant to provide supervision.

But at the meeting, Peter Hackbusch provided a stack of opposition letters from residents he said totaled more than 150.

"This site is just not good for a group care facility," said Hackbusch, speaking on behalf of the Sierra Ranchos Property Owners Association.

"The planning department and the Board of Adjustment Band-Aided and patched this project into existence with extreme and unreal conditions. The community is going to be sitting around waiting to see if (the project) crushes under its own weight."

Marvin Neal said the entire project would cost $10 million. When Board of Adjustment members asked about the source of funding, Marvin Neal said God would provide.

"We're not really afraid of that $10 million price tag," Marvin Neal said.

The ranch is expected to be completed in several stages by 2017, and the Neals said they plan to pay for new structures as they grow, starting with facilities for 10 kids.

The off-the-grid location of the proposed Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch was the source of much concern.

For almost five hours, discussion ranging from solutions to what-if scenarios and impassioned arguments for and against the Sierra Nevada Teen ranch filled the meeting's public comment phase. An audience of almost 50 people stayed for the entire debate.

Concerns that it could take wheeled emergency vehicles more than a hour to respond were soothed in part by an added condition that an emergency medical technician would be on staff at all times, and a basketball court would act as a helicopter landing pad for air medical evacuations.

The Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch also would be responsible for road improvements and maintenance of Bird Spring Road, the ranch's primary access road. They will have to keep a snowplow on site and upgrade the road to compacted gravel.

But many residents worry that it's not enough.

"The roads are impassable in the winter," said Heather Benjamin, 29, a Sierra Ranchos resident, of the gravel and dirt roads branching off of Lemmon Valley Road, Pyramid Highway and Red Rock Road.

Additionally, Benjamin said the effects of the teen ranch traffic and pollution on the surrounding ecology haven't been examined. Antelope populations, deer migration and a variety of other wildlife can be observed in the Bedell Flat area, Benjamin said.

Others worried about the teen ranch administrators' lack of qualifications.

"This project is based on good intentions only," Hackbusch said.

Marvin and Jan Neal said they will have to meet Washoe County's licensing requirements before they can open.

"For the past 20 years, I've devoted my life to helping at-risk teenagers through volunteering my time," Marvin Neal said.

He said he volunteers his time at church on Sunday, Bible study classes on Wednesday and by mentoring children. While mentoring kids and teens in a one-on-one environment, he said he heard stories of their broken homes and began to dream up the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch.

"I know first hand that we need to do a whole lot more, and I stepped up to the plate," Marvin Neal said. "I want to spend the rest of my life building a facility like this to change these numbers."

Marvin Neal said 80 percent of people who go through ranch-style care facilities go on to have successful lives, which is better than the 20 percent success rate in the penal system.

Friends, co-workers and fellow church members attested to the Neals' good character during public comment including LaDawn Malone who said Marvin Neal brought together all the different churches of the area to work with youths.

"He knows what these kids need," Malone said. "I watch him deal with these kids on a weekly basis."

Brenda Taylor, who owns the closest home to the proposed teen center about two miles away, said she worries what will happen if the teenagers decide to wander into their neighborhood.

"Mr. Neal said these ranches have an 80 percent success rate," Brenda Taylor said. "I'm worried about the 20 percent who decide they no longer want to stay there."

Taylor said she also worried about walk-away teens who might encounter the traps, rattlesnakes or the harsh climate of the desert for a prolonged period of time.

No similar services

"My son is the type of kid Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch is trying to help," Ginger Cape said during public comment. "If I had a choice, I would have put my son in it. The school district is not set up for students like (my son)."

Cape said her son was placed in special education upon reaching third grade and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and Oppositional and Defiant Disorder when he became an adolescent. He was suspended seven or eight times per year in junior high school, but none of his misbehavior was criminal in nature.

"We're sending our kids out of state and the money and resources are going with them because we don't have anything like that here," Jan Neal said.

Ken Stine, a former resident of Rancho Haven, said during his 33 years in local law enforcement, he wished there had been a facility like the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch.

"From a law enforcement perspective, I think it's a wonderful idea because we have no place to put kids like her son except Wittenberg Hall, and that's more of a criminal facility," Stine said. "I would have loved to have a place to put kids like this because cops can work for kids, too. There's a bunch of kids out there that are on the fence. They could go bad, they could go good, and a place like this will help them go good."

Many residents worried that the feeling of safety and the charm of the remote area will change.

"We moved to Rancho Haven to be among like-minded people who enjoy horse riding by day and star-gazing by night," Rancho Haven resident Susan Reaney said. "If I had known this property would be built in this area, my husband and I would never have looked at this property."

But Marvin Neal said they would not knowingly accept teenagers who are drug addicts or felons.

"We would not knowingly accept a felon out there," Marvin Neal said. "Who's to say that we get all the records? I think that possibility (of housing a felon) could exist, but it's highly unlikely."

Appeals are likely

With the amount of community opposition to the project, Hackbusch said he was disheartened that the project sailed through with a majority decision of 4-1 in favor of the project. Only Board Member Gary Feero voted against it.

"(More than 150 letters of opposition) doesn't sound like a lot, but you have to factor in the size of our community," Hackbusch said. "You won't find another project that has that level of community involvement."

Hackbusch estimates there are 600 homes in the area, but many property owners possess multiple houses. In Sierra Rancho alone there are 212 lots and 170 owners.

Hackbusch said he's not certain if the local homeowners associations will decide to appeal the decision to the Washoe County Commission because it hasn't been put to a vote yet.

"It will probably be appealed," Jan Neal said of the Board of Adjustment's decision. "We'll have to do it again with the Washoe County Commission, but it will be just another bump in the process until we reach fruition."

Jan Neal said other care facilities of the same nature have encountered strong opposition when first developed, only to be enthusiastically embraced by the community later.

"Eventually, people in the community will become involved and it'll be their kids and their home," Jan Neal said. "We're anxious to cross that bridge."

Marvin Neal said even though he's aware he has a mountain of work ahead of him to make the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch a reality, he was delighted by Thursday night's victory.

"I'm just very moved that, with all that we went through, we finally have a green light to go ahead," Marvin Neal said. "Though it's not done yet, it's cause for celebration."

The Troubled Teen Industry / Another 12 year old dies at STAR RANCH
« on: December 11, 2007, 10:55:11 PM »
Castell Residents Circulate Petition
Look to stop Charis Hills
Published on December 5, 2007
By Staff Reports

The Castell Community Christmas Party Saturday night was not all holiday camaraderie, it was also an opportunity to bring residents together in their opposition to the Charis Hills Camp.

The new summer camp with an emphasis on children with learning disabilities is being planned by Rand and Colleen Southard for 43 acres of land on the Llano River and the Castell Community is not happy about it. A petition headed for the Llano County Commissioners Court was circulated at the Saturday gathering.

The petition has four tenants for appealing to the commissioners for some kind of help in blocking the development.

First they say the location is unsafe and unsuitable for a youth camp:

• CR 104 and the 43 acre camp site are subject to life-threatening flash flooding. CR 104 is the only entrance and exit to the property between the Castell Bridge and Elm Creek. The road is in the 100-year floodplain and in the past has been inundated with 6-8 feet of floodwaters.

• Children from the camp would be required to cross the county road in order to access the river.

Secondly, says the petition, managers of a camp known as Star Ranch near Ingram in Kerr County, Texas, and run by the same operators’s had a residential program license revoked by the Texas Department of Family Services (DFPS) after the death of two children and numerous other incidents of neglect and abuse.

Thirdly, Castell residents complain that the camp represents an undue Llano County tax burden.

• The owner of the proposed facility is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization which will not pay county taxes.

• The facility will likely require initial and ongoing expense including extra law enforcement personnel, the pavement and improvements to CR 104, additional maintenance on county roads, and potential evacuation costs during flooding events.

Finally, the petition lumps together unknown factors.

• The impact of the facility on downstream water quality is unknown.

• The eventual uses of the property are unknown. The previous facility in Ingram Texas, started as a summer camp, and then expanded to a residential facility, a placement service and a charter school.

“We, the undersigned, do not welcome a corporate business that would put children and others in harms way, place an undue hardship on an entire community, and a financial burden on all of Llano County, the petition concludes.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Another 12 year old dies at STAR RANCH
« on: December 11, 2007, 10:47:03 PM »
Center to give support to former foster kids

By Alison Beshur
The Daily Times  

Published November 27, 2007

When foster children age out of the state’s system, many struggle because they lack access to affordable housing while they start college, get their first job or simply plan their next step in life.

These young adults between the ages of 18 and 23 soon will have a place to go to ease their transition into adulthood.

Enhanced Horizons, a young adult transitional living center, is expected to open in May at the former Star Ranch-Charis Hills camp in Ingram.

The Troubled Teen Industry / Another 12 year old dies at STAR RANCH
« on: December 11, 2007, 10:44:38 PM »
10/31/2007 10:00:00 PM    
Castell residents to fight proposed summer camp

By George Hatt
Highland Lakes Newspapers

Another fight is brewing in Castell.

Rand and Colleen Southard, owners of Charis Hills, a Christian summer camp for children with learning disabilities, or "learning differences" as Mrs. Southard prefers to call them, have bought property on the Llano River and plan to move Charis Hills from its current location in Ingram.

"We just finalized the property this week (Oct. 22)," Mrs. Southard said. "We are just getting our ducks in a row and getting Charis Hills up and running."

Mrs. Southard said that they have sold the location in Ingram. Work crews are already improving the acreage on the Llano River, called Llano River Estates.

"It is a camp for special needs children," Mrs. Southard said. "We call them learning differences," instead of learning disabilities. "We are building our permanent location on the Llano River."

Mrs. Southard said that she planned to be ready to host up to 500 campers by next summer.

"Camp starts in the early part of June, and the staff comes in May," she said. "We better be ready. We have a lot of work to be done, but we are very excited."

In the off-season, the camp will serve parents and children together.

"During the remainder of the year, we will have family camp. Parents can attend educational seminars and learn about their child's diagnosis and parenting from a Biblical standpoint," Mrs. Southard said.

Some in Castell are gearing up for a fight. Weeks before the deal closed, residents alerted the press to a dark spot on the Southards' record called Star Ranch, a residential treatment center that was closed after the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services pulled the Southards' permit to operate.

The Southards have a permit through the Texas Department of Health to operate a non-residential summer camp, which is what Charis Hills will be.

DFPS cited several incidents, two of them fatal, as justification for pulling the residential treatment license.

The incidents were detailed in a letter to Mr. Southard from Charlane Bateman, director of residential licensing, dated June 15, 2006.

The letter said that in December 2005, "a child died as a result of an inappropriate restraint by one of (Star Ranch's) staff members; DFPS subsequently made an abuse finding against that staff member."

The letter also accused the facility of neglectful supervision that resulted in a drowning in 2006 and two instances of sexual conduct between residents.

In December of 2005, "a 17-year-old resident of your operation sexually assaulted an 11-year-old resident in part because of the neglectful supervision by a caregiver," the letter said. "On or about Sept. 3, 2005, one of (the) staff members neglectfully supervised three children who in turn acted out sexually," the letter goes on to say.

Mrs. Southard defended their record.

"There were two horrible accidents that happened to 18 years of an excellent record," she said.

Mrs. Southard said that the child who was restrained was banging his head and staff had to restrain him. She claims that the child had a heart attack.

As for the sexual activities, she said that the information was incorrect.

"I think we had an excellent record," she said. "This is a population of kids who are misunderstood. They're not always the easiest children to work with."

The Southards appealed the finding in June 2006; the finding was upheld this spring.

Residents are concerned about the Charis Hills' ability to supervise the children.

"As someone who is deeply inspired by our heritage, I find an effort of this nature to be a total cultural shock to the calm and peaceful 160-year-old German community of Castell," said resident Patty Pfister. "As property owners whose property adjoins the proposed camp, my husband and I find the newspaper articles of the death of two children and other allegations of abuse and neglect of children at their previous camps to be very unsettling and disturbing."

The Southards will not be able to apply for another license from DFPS to operate a residential treatment center for five years.

Mrs. Southard said that she and Mr. Southard are committed to bringing Charis Hills to Castell.  "We feel like we were called by God. We're excited to be doing what we're doing."

The Troubled Teen Industry / Another 12 year old dies at STAR RANCH
« on: December 11, 2007, 10:24:18 PM »
The Southard re-open under new license

Dec. 10, 2007, 12:11PM
Case sparks new look at youth camp licenses
Couple still in business after being made to close site where two died

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

The relocation of a summer camp for learning disabled children in the Hill Country has social services officials examining the state's one-size-fits-all license for youth camps in Texas.

In 2006, Rand and Colleen Southard, the owners of the Charis Hills summer camp, were stripped of their state license for another facility, the Star Ranch residential treatment center in Kerr County, after two Texas foster care children died there.

But they continued to operate - without incident or complaint since 1999 - Charis Hills, their summer camp for learning disabled children under a youth camp license issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

A spokesman for the Southards says the operations are different, so the licenses that govern them should be different, and losing one at one facility shouldn't reflect badly on the record of another.

"This is a different population than the Star Ranch kids," said Dave Vinyard, a Charis Hills board member and spokesman for the camp. "The kids coming to Charis Hills are there because their parents want them there."

But the state's not so sure after questions were raised about whether one social service agency can allow a group to operate a children's facility if a sister agency has barred the same agency from caring for state foster children.

"This situation has made us aware of a serious gap in how we license camps," said Albert Hawkins, Texas Health and Human Services' executive commissioner. There are 538 youth camps in the state and all adhere to the same Texas state health department sanitation and safety standards, even those facilities with campers who have special needs or those operated by owners who have had a license revoked by any other state agency.

Like Woodside Trails/Eagle Pines Academy.

A youth camp in Texas is any facility or property that is used primarily for recreational, athletic, religious or educational activities and accommodates at least five minors who attend or reside there for the better part of four days.

Questions about relocation
The licensing issue surfaced this fall with the relocation of Charis Hills from the Kerr County town of Ingram, to the Llano County hamlet of Castell, about 88 miles west of Austin.

The Southards sold the Ingram property and began looking for land close to Kerr County that had access to water.

When they came upon 43 acres near Castell, they bought it and have begun clearing land to make way for camp facilities to house about 150 children with learning disabilities such as Asperger syndrome or attention-deficit disorder.

Along the Llano River, Charis Hills' new neighbors are puzzled that the camp owners would choose such a remote place, considering there is one narrow road in and out. They're concerned about the traffic the facility would bring.

The chief question residents have raised, though, is the one the state is now considering: whether there is a lack of consistency about how children's facilities are licensed. While Charis Hills has a camp license for the Ingram property, the company will have to apply for another one after the new camp near Castell is built.

"I want to know - my mom wants to know - why, when the state of Texas will not let him care for their children, why will they give him a license to care for my children?" said Cindy Yeager, whose family land near Castell will be some of the closest to the Charis Hills camp. "Why does the state of Texas think that if the Southards are supervised any less that they're going to care for children any better?"

Two deaths
The Star Ranch residential treatment center for troubled, abused foster children was stripped of its license by the state health department's sister agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in 2006.

The decision was made after two children died within six months of each other. The first died while being restrained from banging his head on the floor. The second child died during a bike outing along a rain-swollen creek. The child got off his bike and was swept into the creek.

The license revocation bars the Southards from seeking another DFPS license until 2011, but it does not keep them from operating another facility for children under a different type of state license.

And there's nothing wrong with that, Vinyard said.

"If what we're doing on the property in Castell is legal and appropriate in Llano County and the state of Texas ... and if we have the state health licensing to operate a facility, and the parents of these children choose to send them to Charis Hills, whose business is that?" he said. "It's a private camp. It's private property." ... 64435.html

Charis Hills website

Counselor requirements

No formal training necessary. The mission:
We teach children about Christ because that is our mission.  We believe that if a child can understand who Christ is, his or her life can be changed through that understanding. We also believe that most of our daily problems can be overcome through an understanding of the Bible and that understanding is sufficient for a successful life.

Texas Department of Health – Licensed as a Summer Camp
Charis Hills meets all criteria and standards set forward by the Texas Department of Health.

Open Free for All / Bubba Went to a Psychiatrist
« on: December 07, 2007, 06:28:18 PM »

Bubba went to a psychiatrist  

" I've got problems.  Every time I go to bed I think there's somebody under it.  I'm scared.  I think I'm going crazy."

"Just put yourself in my hands for one year," said the shrink.  "Come talk to me three times a week, and we should be able to get rid of those fears."

"How much do you charge?"

"Eighty dollars per visit, replied the doctor."
"I'll sleep on it," said Bubba.

Six months later the doctor met Bubba on the street.   "Why didn't you ever come to see me about those fears you were having?" asked the psychiatrist.

"Well Eighty bucks a visit three times a week for a year is an awful lot of money!  A bartender cured me for $10.  I was so happy to have saved all that money that I went and bought me a new pickup!"

"Is that so!  And how, may I ask, did a bartender cure you?"

"He told me to cut the legs off the bed! - Ain't nobody under there now !!!"

The Troubled Teen Industry / Another Gone
« on: December 07, 2007, 12:05:42 AM »
12/6/2007 9:48:00 AM  Email this article • Print this article  
Program for at-risk teen girls prepares to close

Messenger staff writer

ZALESKI — News that the Eckerd Girls’ Challenge Program in Zaleski will be closing its doors next month was received with sadness this week in Vinton County.

Bruce Bishop, area director for Eckerd, met with the Vinton County Commissioners on Monday to formally declare the program’s intention of shutting down. Located in Zaleski State Forest on Wheelabout Road, Eckerd is a therapeutic residential program for at-risk girls ages 12 through 17.

Word of the impending closure reached the county leaders on Friday and Bishop was able to fill in the details.

“It’s with sadness that I am here,â€

By ANNA JO BRATTON and NATE JENKINS | Associated Press Writers
11:06 PM EST, December 6, 2007

OMAHA, Neb. - The young man who killed eight people and committed suicide in a shooting rampage at a department store spent four years in a series of treatment centers, group homes and foster care after threatening to kill his stepmother in 2002.

Finally, in August 2006, social workers, the courts and his father all agreed: It was time for Robert Hawkins to be released -- nine months before he turned 19 and would have been required to leave anyway.

The group homes and treatment centers were for youths with substance abuse, mental or behavioral problems.

On Thursday, while some of those who knew Hawkins called the massacre Wednesday at a busy Omaha mall unexpected, not everyone was surprised.

"He should have gotten help, but I think he needed someone to help him and needed someone to be there when in the past he's said he wanted to kill himself," said Karissa Fox, who said she knew Hawkins through a friend. "Someone should have listened to him."

Todd Landry, state director of children and family services, said court records do not show precisely why Hawkins was released. But he said that if Hawkins should not have been set free, someone would have raised a red flag.

"It is my opinion, it was not a failure of the system to provide appropriate services," Landry said. "If that was an issue, any of the participants in the case would have brought that forward."

After reviewing surveillance tape, a suicide note and Hawkins' last conversations with those close to him, police said they don't know -- and may never know -- exactly why Hawkins went to the Von Maur store at Westroads Mall and shot more than a dozen people.

But he clearly planned ahead, walking through the store, exiting, then returning a few minutes later with a gun concealed in a balled-up sweat shirt he was carrying, authorities said.

Debora Maruca-Kovac, a woman who with her husband took Hawkins into their home because he had no other place to live, told the Omaha World-Herald that the night before the shooting, Hawkins and her sons showed her a semiautomatic rifle. She said she thought the gun looked too old to work.

Police believe Hawkins was using that AK-47 when he stormed off a third-floor elevator at the store and started shooting.

Police said they have found no connections between the 19-year-old and the six employees and two shoppers he killed.

"The shooting victims were randomly selected," as was the location of the shooting, Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren said.

Acquaintances said that Hawkins was a drug user and that he had a history of depression. In 2005 and 2006, according to court records, he underwent psychiatric evaluations, the reasons for which Landry would not disclose, citing privacy rules.

In May 2002, he was sent to a treatment center in Waynesville, Mo., after threatening his stepmother. Four months later, a Nebraska court decided Hawkins' problems were serious enough that he should be under state supervision and made him a ward of the state.

He went through a series of institutions in Nebraska as he progressed through the system: months at a treatment center and group home in Omaha in 2003; time in a foster care program and treatment center in 2004 and 2005; then a felony drug-possession charge later in 2005. Landry said the court records do not identify the drug.

The drug charge was eventually dropped, but he was jailed in 2006 for not performing community service as required.

On Aug. 21, 2006, he was released from state custody.

Under state law, Landry said, wards are released when all sides -- parents, courts, social workers -- agree it is time for them to go. Once Hawkins was set free, he was entirely on his own. He was no longer under state supervision, and was not released into anyone's custody.

Ahh. The exit plan.

"When our role is ended, we try to step out," said Chris Peterson, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services.

About an hour before the shootings, Hawkins called Maruca-Kovac and told her he had written a suicide note, Maruca-Kovac said. In the note, Hawkins wrote that he was "sorry for everything" and would not be a burden on his family anymore. More ominously, he wrote: "Now I'll be famous."

"He had said how much he loved his family and all his friends and how he was sorry he was a burden to everybody and his whole life he was a piece of (expletive) and now he'll be famous," Maruca-Kovac said on CBS' "The Early Show," describing the note. "I was fearful that he was going to try to commit suicide, but I had no idea that he would involve so many other families."

Bellevue police on Thursday arrested a 17-year-old friend of Hawkins who they said threatened to kill a teenage girl. The girl had made remarks about Hawkins that offended his friend, Chief John Stacey said.

The teen was being held in a juvenile detention center on suspicion of making terroristic threats, Stacey said. Police found a rifle and two shotguns at the teen's house, weapons he had access to, the chief said.

The shoppers that Hawkins killed were Gary Scharf, 48, of Lincoln, and John McDonald, 65, of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The employees killed were Angie Schuster, 36; Maggie Webb, 24; Janet Jorgensen, 66; Diane Trent, 53; Gary Joy, 56; and Beverly Flynn, 47, all of Omaha.

* __

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Nate Jenkins in Lincoln, Neb., and Oskar Garcia in Omaha.

Brat Camp / Video.
« on: November 23, 2007, 10:10:17 PM »
Sage Walk

The Troubled Teen Industry / Chinese Brat Camp
« on: November 23, 2007, 09:45:12 PM »
Brat Camp- China
The Chinese have come up with a unique way of reforming naughty children or bad students. They're sent to 'walking school' and forced to march up to 800 km across the country.
embedding disabled

The Troubled Teen Industry / Focal Point Academy Mesquite Nevada
« on: November 23, 2007, 06:08:25 PM »
Then you might want to read the complaint for the pending lawsuit. Take Merri out of the equation and this program still has numerous red flags.

Glen Horlacher- Owner
Shaquel Cannon, Program Director & Co-owner
Boyd Hooper- Admissions

Their website is apparently down. I couldn?t get it to load.

Licensed as a "Foster Home" Opened 1 Nov 04 ... 063006.pdf

Yet, advertise at ST as an RTC- for boys, ages 13-17, suffering from depression, low self-esteem, oppositional defiance, drug or alcohol abuse, family conflict, learning disabilities and/ or adoption issues. Students are accepted into the program from a variety of settings including home, wilderness, prep school, etc. Each student is individually assessed for treatment and educational planning. ... 5281.shtml

And elsewhere as a Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Since when do Foster homes diagnose and treat "mental illness" and substance abuse?
Red Flag! Sounds like they're flying under the radar.

Found that they took out a $289,000 loan in June 05 ... busnv.html

Now to the players:

BOYD HOOPER- consultant (Ed Con) for PURE
Boyd Hooper
801.380.3525 ... 0404vr.htm
Boyd?s also AD for Storm Ridge Ranch, Utah
And Pathway Academy, Utah

GLEN HORLACHER- MS, MFT. 15 years experience with youth in private practive, court systems, and non-profit organizations. Continues to work closely with judges, case workers, and families in designing appropriate activities, programs, and work shops for troubled teens. Glen received his bachelors from Southern Utah University and his masters from University of Nevada Las Vegas.

SHAQUEL CANNON- a wealth of experience from the Juvinile Justice System for the State of Utah. For over 10 years, Shaquel was given unprecedented latitude in creating programs and activities designed to help kids to return home with new attitudes adn beliefs in themselves. Attended The University of Utah.

KELLEE HORLACHER- MS, Education Director. Licensed teacher, 10 years in both public and private.
Yet, she?s listed as a K-8 teacher in Las Vegas, Nv.

MERRI CISERELLA- Residential Life Director. Previously employed at various programs for youth, both in the juvinile justice system and in private treatment. As a supervisor, Merri was responsible for working one-on-one with the students, monitoring group therapy and acting as a parent advocate. Merri's tenure and experience working with at-risk youth allows us to offer "Best-of-Class" service for all those involved with Focal Point Academy. Merri attended the University of Utah.

Posted and employment ad in July for a School Teacher and Counselors ... -jobs.html

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