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The Troubled Teen Industry / Press Release Re: Campaign to Regulate RTC's
« on: October 19, 2005, 05:51:00 PM »
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Unregulated Residential Treatment Facilities Exploit Children and Families, Say Mental Health Experts and Advocates; Urge GAO Inquiry, Passage of Legislation

10/18/2005 3:00:00 PM

To: National Desk, Health Reporter, Congressional Reporter

Contact: Tammy Seltzer, 202-467-5730 ext. 116 or [email protected] or Lee Carty, 202-467-5730, ext 121 or .

Among speakers at the briefing was Christine Gomez, who had unknowingly placed her son in unregulated facilities in Montana and Jamaica, where he was kept from communicating with his family for over a year and from which he emerged physically and mentally traumatized. Gomez describes "the guilt I felt over having been so na?ve and trusting." She now reaches out to other families, including "some who liquidated their assets and sold their homes to get help for their children" only to find that help was not on the program at the facilities where their children went.

In addition to professionals and advocates, speakers at the briefing included a former staff member of an unlicensed treatment center and a young woman who had been placed in such a facility. All of the speakers' remarks are online at ... sbrief.pdf . To reach former program participants and families who are willing to share their stories with the media is available, contact the Bazelon Center or the Florida Mental Health Institute (see above).

"To induce families to send their children to these programs, parents have been told that they must make immediate placements before it is 'too late,'" said Dr. Robert Friedman, chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies of the University of South Florida. "Tragically, it is now 'too late' for many young people who have died in these programs or suffered great harm. Congress must act quickly to protect other children whose families are being told the same lies."

While most experts agree that even children with serious emotional and behavioral problems can and should be served in their homes and communities, the speakers agreed that there is a place for residential care. "Residential treatment facilities should be reserved for children and youth whose dangerous behavior cannot be controlled except in a secure setting," concluded Tammy Seltzer, senior staff attorney at the Bazelon Center. "They should not be opportunities for unscrupulous and unaccountable entrepreneurs to get rich quick at the expense of children and families who need responsible and effective mental health treatment. We ask Congress to protect children and families by improving access to appropriate mental health treatment and increasing oversight of those who only pretend to have children's best interests at heart."

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is the nation's leading legal advocate for the rights of children and adults with mental disabilities. For more information on the Bazelon Center, visit .

The Florida Mental Health Institute's Research and Training Center for Children's Mental Health serves as a resource for other researchers, policy makers, administrators in the public system, and organizations representing parents, consumers, advocates, professional societies and practitioners. For more information, visit .

© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
posted by Barbe Stamps at 1:58 PM


« on: October 03, 2005, 03:56:00 PM »
The Loose Screw Awards

By: Robert Epstein

Summary: Projective tests, recovered memories, correctional boot camps -- psychology's top 10 misguided ideas.

The mental health fields have, now and then, spawned and nurtured some completely crazy ideas. Physicians in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example, inflicted strange and extremely cruel treatments on their mentally ill patients based on equally bizarre theories of human nature. To try to shock schizophrenics into "regaining consciousness of the true self," for example, doctors bled them until they fainted, or blindfolded them and allowed them to fall through a trapdoor into cold water -- the so-called "Bath of Surprise." It's unlikely that such techniques had any therapeutic value.

Our own era has also produced theories and techniques of dubious worth. In the 1990s, for example, practitioners by the thousands began "facilitating communication" with nonverbal children by strategically guiding their clients' hands over keyboards. Some of these children appeared to claim that they had been sexually abused, and one even wrote a novel this way. A barrage of research soon demonstrated that the technique was nonsense; all of the ideas came from the facilitators, not the children. Unfortunately, no matter how persuasive the evidence, people often cling to bad ideas, including facilitated communication.

Here are 10 faulty concepts from the mental health professions that have yet to disappear. Sometimes their effects have been benign; other times, put into practice, such ideas have harmed many people.

1. The Jackson Pollock Prize for Ambiguity
Projective Tests

In the 1930s behaviorist B.F. Skinner -- known mainly for his work with rats and pigeons -- invented the verbal summator, a device that undoubtedly made some psychoanalysts salivate. A 78-rpm record played ambiguous, muffled phrases, and listeners interpreted the sounds. If you heard a strange hissing sound like mzher bsss, mzher bsss, mzher bsss, what words would occur to you? Mother's breast? My abyss? Wide-mouth bass? Psychoanalysts believed that responses on a projective test of this sort -- that is, a test that forces people to interpret ambiguous cues -- could give insights into a patient's unconscious mind. After all, someone who answered "my abyss" would presumably have far different things on his or her mind than someone who said "wide-mouth bass."

Skinner's test never caught on, but others are legendary. The most famous is the series of symmetrical inkblots developed early in the 1900s by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach to assess personality characteristics. Even the old word-association test, in which the therapist asks for quick reactions to common words, can be considered a kind of projective test.

Early evaluations of such tests praised them as "foolproof X-rays" of personality, but eventually it became clear that responses on projective tests varied considerably with the situation, the instructions and the scorer. If different lab technicians produced dramatically different X-rays, we'd abandon that test, but projective tests are still widely used by therapists -- even in life-changing situations like child-custody disputes. A recent review of research on projective tests suggests that they rarely reveal information that can't be obtained in other, more practical ways -- like asking the client!

2. The Idea That Launched a Thousand Suits
Recovered Memories

While under treatment for depression in the mid-1980s, Patricia Burgus made a horrible discovery. Her psychiatrist, employing both hypnosis and medication, helped Burgus remember that she had been a victim of horrendous abuse as a child -- torture, cannibalism, even participation in ritual murders. She also learned that she had more than 300 alternate personalities. Burgus was hospitalized for more than two years, often in leather restraints.

Eventually she began to doubt the validity of her many "recovered" memories. She sued her therapist, his associate and the hospital where they practiced and ultimately won a settlement of $10.6 million.

Burgus was one of many swept up in the "recovered memory" craze of the 1980s. Zealous therapists encouraged clients to recall repressed memories of childhood abuse, leading to more than 800 lawsuits against alleged abusers between 1985 and 2000. Many of these resulted in incarcerations. A few led to suicides.

In most cases there was no corroborating evidence, and many accusers later recanted. But if the memories were inaccurate, where did they come from, and why did patients accept them as real?

Laboratory research by Elizabeth Loftus of the University of California, Irvine, provides a clear answer. Her studies of eyewitness testimony demonstrate that memory is remarkably susceptible to suggestion. Ask subjects who have just seen photos of a crime scene to describe the stop sign in the image, and many will "remember" the stop sign -- even though it was never there.

In other words, the source of many of the recovered memories was the therapist. Leading questions, especially when combined with drugs, hypnosis and suggestive dream interpretation, can easily produce false memories that seem quite real to patients.

In recent years, dozens of recovered-memory "survivors" have won settlements or judgments against their former therapists, but according to the director of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, recovered-memory therapy is still being practiced.

3. Meanest
Correctional Boot Camps

In the late 1970s, government leaders were desperately seeking remedies for the nation's soaring crime rate. One solution, inspired in part by the tough love message coming from mental health professionals, was to establish military-style boot camps where harsh discipline and strict regimens would set people straight. The first adult camps were established in 1983, and by the end of the decade, at least 15 states had opened or were developing similar camps for either adults or juveniles.

Although initial reports were encouraging, by the mid-1990s troubling stories began to appear about abuse and sadism at the camps. In 1998 five staff members at a boot camp in Arizona -- including the camp nurse -- were indicted in connection with the death of a 16-year-old inmate. At the time of his death, his body was covered with cuts and bruises -- 71 in all. The camp was eventually shut down, and 16 of its staff members were added to the state's registry of child abusers.

The biggest problem with boot camps, however, is that they just don't do the job. Recidivism of 60 percent or more is common -- as high as, or higher than, recidivism rates generated through more benign programs. Experts on learning have long known that harsh discipline mainly teaches people to be harsh themselves -- and to hate their abusers -- but that message is getting through only belatedly to the boot camp advocates. As the head of a National Institutes of Health panel that studied "get tough" programs nationwide summed it up a few months ago: "All the evaluations have shown [the programs] don't work."

4. Most Over-Rated
The Cult of Self-Esteem

Humorist Garrison Keillor is famous for his stories about the fictitious Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average." Statistically speaking, however, all children can't be above average -- unless, that is, they're raised in self-esteem-obsessed America.

Feeling good -- as opposed to behaving well -- came into vogue in the 1960s, driven in part by books like Nathaniel Brandon's Psychology of Self-Esteem. By the 1980s, many schools were spending upwards of three hours a week on counseling and self-esteem classes, and at some schools all students were made "Student of the Month." Curriculum programs such as educational psychologist Michele Borba's Esteem Builders stimulated the development of more than a thousand off-the-shelf exercises like "I Love Me," in which students complete sentences like "I am" with words such as "gifted" or "beautiful" and then memorize the sentences.

But hundreds of studies have failed to show that self-esteem training produces lasting positive results. To put this another way, merely feeling good about yourself doesn't necessarily make you more effective. What's more, recent studies suggest that self-esteem training may be harmful -- that it leads many students to overestimate their abilities, for example. One study even shows that people with high self-esteem are more likely to be violent or racist.

5. Most Likely to Make Good People Feel Bad
Codependency, Enabling and Tough Love

Love and support are generally seen as good things, but in the 1980s, some substance-abuse writers and counselors claimed that the family members of alcoholics "enabled" alcoholism by being too loving. "Tough love," they insisted, was the only solution. What's more, they said, "co- dependent" enablers were themselves almost certainly victims of sexual abuse when they were children. The abuse lowered their self-esteem, which made them more likely to love and support someone unworthy of their attention. Some also insisted that all adult problems were the result of child abuse, and co-dependency was sometimes defined so broadly that almost any act of love or self-sacrifice could fit the definition. Best sellers like Melody Beattie's Codependent No More and Robin Norwood's Women Who Love Too Much thrust these ideas into the public consciousness, where they remain to this day.

Considerable evidence suggests that the codependency idea is dead wrong. In a comprehensive analysis of alcoholism treatment published in 1990, for example, Stanford University psychiatrist Rudolf Moos and his colleagues came to the obvious conclusion that family support helps ex-alcoholics stay sober. Abandoning a substance abuser in the name of "tough love" can sometimes provoke a relapse, and it's certainly hard on family relationships.

As for the child-abuse idea, it too contradicts the evidence. Not everyone who suffers from emotional or behavioral problems as an adult was abused as a child, and not everyone who is abused as a child necessarily develops psychological problems in adulthood.

6. The P.T. Barnum Medal for Mass-Market Potential
Mozart Babies

All parents want the best for their children, which is presumably why millions of moms and dads have played Mozart for their babies over the past decade -- especially the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major. In 1993, researchers Frances Rauscher and Gordon Shaw announced that playing this piece for college students temporarily increased their "spatial reasoning ability." To be precise, some of the students were better able to make judgments about how pieces of paper would look after they were folded and cut in certain ways. The researchers suggested that the music of Mozart (but not of other composers) had a positive impact on the brain.

From this modest study a large industry has grown, driven in large part by musicologist Don Campbell, who trademarked the phrase "the Mozart Effect" and published a best-selling book about the idea in 1997.

Although there is evidence that intensive training in music may produce some general cognitive benefits, there is virtually no evidence that merely listening to music -- even to Mozart -- produces any significant or lasting effects. Even the original Rauscher and Shaw study has proved suspect; attempts to replicate it -- including a careful 1999 study -- have failed.

Meanwhile, hospitals around the country give out Mozart CDs to new parents, and the governors of Tennessee and Georgia have made this practice mandatory in their states.

7. Most Bureaucratic
Stages of Dying

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has some very specific ideas about death. I saw her lecture just once. It was an unforgettable experience, in part because she chain-smoked during the entire two-hour talk -- on life after death, no less. Kübler-Ross, who died in 2004, is best known for her theory that terminally ill people go through five distinct stages of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, introduced in her 1969 book On Death and Dying.

Her theory does sound good: First we tell ourselves that we're not really going to die, then we get angry, and so on, until we finally accept the inevitable. Her theory spread widely, and caregivers were soon pushing dying patients along this pathway, inferring from Kübler-Ross's book that any deviation from her five-step path was detrimental to the patient.

The problem is that Kübler-Ross based her stages on interviews with terminally ill people. The universality of her model was never actually tested.

As early as 1980, hospice chaplain George Fitchett published an article insisting that dying patients actually decline in their own unique ways. More recently, Michele Chaban of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital has claimed that many of the patients Kübler-Ross interviewed didn't even know they were dying, which could explain why these very sick people were angry or in denial: They were being lied to about their ailments by hospital staff, including Kübler-Ross herself.

8. Most Twisted
Rebirthing Therapy

Ten-year-old Candace Newmaker suffered, we're told, from "reactive attachment disorder" -- an inability to form close personal attachments. In April 2000, her adoptive mother brought her to a professional "rebirther," who promised to help Candace by staging her rebirth. The technique was spawned in the 1960s by New Age guru Leonard Orr, author of the recent book Breaking the Death Habit. More than 100,000 people have been trained in Orr's technique, which mainly involves breathing in ways that supposedly allow people to return to the moment of their birth.

The rebirthers handling Candace used a creative adaptation of Orr's highly questionable methodology: Four adults pressed on Candace while she was surrounded by pillows and wrapped in a blanket -- a makeshift womb. The idea was for the girl to emerge through the simulated birth canal into her new life with her adoptive family. Instead, she suffocated, and her adoptive mother and the four rebirthers were charged with her murder.

While rebirthing is not even on the fringes of legitimate therapy, sometimes legitimate therapists, like licensed counselor Kim Waters-Rose of Atlanta, adopt such techniques to add to their therapeutic tool kit. By using rebirthing, "therapy goes a lot faster" for some clients looking for "personal growth," Waters-Rose says. She also offers "group rebirthings."

In 2002, the American Psychiatric Association said the technique "is not therapeutic and can even be fatal." But as long as therapists use it, and so long as clients don't object, rebirthing is unlikely to disappear.

9. The Breakfast Club Award
Adolescent Angst

With so many bad ideas around, it's certain that some of psychology's worst have yet to be exposed. Adolescent angst is a good example. The idea that adolescence is necessarily a time of emotional turmoil was introduced by pioneering psychologist G. Stanley Hall in 1904 and has been widely accepted ever since. It still provides a rationale for America's massive and deeply troubled juvenile justice system, which handles more than 1.5 million teens a year, and it is also at the heart of a wide range of therapeutic treatments for teens.

But Hall based his concept of adolescence on a faulty theory from biology -- "recapitulation theory," according to which each individual creature, as it develops, relives the evolutionary stages of its species. Hall conjectured that teens were reliving a time of "savagery" in our distant past -- "an ancient period of storm and stress." By the 1930s, recapitulation theory had been completely discredited, but this had no effect on Hall's theory, which had by this time taken on its own life.

Teen turmoil, it turns out, is far from inevitable. In a recent review of 186 contemporary preindustrial societies, researchers found that more than half had no sign of it. Yet the idea that teen angst is unavoidable is pervasive in our culture.

Hall's theory has probably set a vicious cycle in motion: Society responds to teen problems (drinking, drug use, pregnancy and so on) with restrictive laws and treatments, which in turn cause more teens to act out and rebel. The tumultuous stage of life we call "adolescence" is, without doubt, a creation of modern culture, not an inevitable stage of human development, and our own culture has produced far more of it than has any other culture in the world -- in part, perhaps, because of a faulty idea from psychology.

10. The Sound and the Fury Award

The idea behind catharsis is that current psychological pain is the result of pent-up energy left over from unresolved trauma. Like a fluid trapped under high pressure, energy is vented when someone relives an old experience while expressing intense emotion. In the 1960s, when extreme self-expression was all the rage, therapies in which people screamed (primal-scream therapy) or were goaded into states of near-panic (implosive therapy) became mainstream. Most people still believe that anger is some sort of force that can be "bottled up," and that it's healthy to "vent" or "let go."

But in the 1970s and '80s, prominent psychologists like Elliot Aronson suggested that expressing your pent-up anger could make you even more angry, and recent studies by Iowa State University's Brad Bushman and others seem to bolster this viewpoint.

The catharsis idea is highly suspect, but the case against it is not airtight. No one is entirely sure just when venting frustration or rage is helpful and when it's not, but for some clients, expressing anger during therapy can help them learn about and control their negative emotions. Similarly, some studies show that expressing anger through athletic activities helps people stay calm.

This is just the short list, of course. The mental-health fields have generated a dizzying number of bad ideas, many of which still affect us. Even when an idea is discredited, it's rarely abandoned; it just moves to the fringes of the field, where needy people are only too happy to adopt it. And that's the heart of the problem: We want solutions now, and we'll take what we can get. When therapists or behavioral scientists offer us even the most preliminary ideas for improving our lives, we grab them and hope for the best. PT

Dr. Robert Epstein is West Coast Editor and former Editor in Chief of Psychology Today. He is currently working on a book called The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen.

Publication: Psychology Today Magazine
Publication Date: Jan/Feb 2005
Last Reviewed: 7 Sep 2005
(Document ID: 3640)

As shown by the THAYER case, criminal and child protective investigations into the conditions, practices and policies of private programs can be severely limited by virtue of the program's "PRIVATE" status.  This is particularly true in private, for-profit UNLICENSED programs where state licensing regulators and inspectors are "stopped at the door".  They simply do not have the legal authority to do their job.

Please learn from the example of other parents whose children have been abused, even killed, while participating in a private program.  In most cases, these parents had no other recourse but to bring a civil lawsuit as a means of holding the program owners/operators accountable for allegations of CRIMINAL negligence, abuse, fraud, death.

It is a rare scenario, indeed, when criminal charges are filed against a private program but when they are, the penalities for conviction can and often do amount to nothing more than a "slap on the wrist".  In cases where jail time has been ordered, the sentence can be shockingly light (e.g. 6 years for the death of Tony Haynes). Plea bargains are made, fines levied, programs closed and reopened under different names, and it's business as usual.

Second, I'd like to stress that the tendency for program parents to believe the "end justifies the means" comes about through program conditioning and strict compliance with the program's expectations and demands. Parents are often unaware they are being "manipulated" by the very people charged with changing/controlling the so-called manipulative behavior of their children.

Sadly, it is all too common for program parents to fall victim to acquiring a false sense of security about the safety and efficacy of their child's program when in reality, there is no rational basis for them to put their trust (or their child) in the hands of people who "make and play by their own rules".

This inherent risk must be factored in by parents when considering an out-of-home placement in a private program.  

Bottom Line:  Steer clear of UNLICENSED programs and make sure that you, not the program, is in control of your child's basic human and civil rights ... even if that means making unannounced visits or periodically demanding to speak to your child without their case worker/counselor/therapist monitoring the conversation.  

Lastly, under no circumstances should you be made to completely sever the lifeline to your child's health and safety as a condition for their participation in a program. You are the child's parent, not the program.  Enforce your parental rights and if need be, tell the "program" that if they don't cooperate, you will cancel the enrollment agreement and remove the child from the program.  

In the end, MONEY TALKS, and I can assure you, programs will listen.

TAUSA ... Death.html

[ This Message was edited by:  on 2005-10-03 11:27 ]

The Troubled Teen Industry / SPEAK UP FOR ROBERTO REYES (THAYER)
« on: October 03, 2005, 12:58:00 AM »
Personally I find this report very disturbing and hope everyone who is interested in speaking up for Roberto Reyes, will write or call the "powers that be" (listed below report) and remind them that THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN THE NAME OF "TREATMENT" or "THERAPY" or "GOD" and that it's time for them to be proactive instead of reactive (e.g. why does a kid have to die to get the attention of lawmakers?) ... Death.html


TAUSA[ This Message was edited by:  on 2005-10-02 22:37 ]

Sun, Oct. 02, 2005
Boot camp won't face charges in death of resident

Associated Press

KIDDER, Mo. - A home for troubled teens will not be charged in the death of a 15-year-old resident, after the county prosecutor said he had found no evidence that criminal abuse or neglect was involved in the death.

Roberto Reyes, of Santa Rosa, Calif., died Nov. 3, 2004, after being at the Thayer Learning Center in northwest Missouri for less than two weeks. His death was blamed on a spider bite.

His parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the boarding school, alleging that physical exertion and abuse caused or contributed to Roberto's death. They also alleged that their son would have lived if had he received timely medical care.

"The question boils down to: 'Did somebody commit a crime to cause his death?'" said Caldwell County Prosecutor Jason Kanoy. "As of right now, I just haven't seen that sticking out like a sore thumb."

But Kanoy, who was not given access to the private facility, added that it "sounds like there's (civil) negligence all over the place" in Roberto's death.

Thayer's owners, John and Willa Bundy, have denied wrongdoing and said allegations of abuse at the school were "ludicrous and false."

An attorney for Thayer, Rhonda Smiley, said in a Sept. 22 letter faxed to The Kansas City Star that "Thayer chooses to try the facts of this lawsuit in the appropriate forum, not in the newspaper." She called the allegations unsubstantiated.

The Star reported Sunday that a state investigative report said a former Thayer student reported that Roberto had been "almost lifeless" for several days before his death. Two former students told The Star that Roberto had barely moved when they saw him in the days before he died. And a business owner who installed surveillance equipment at Thayer said that the boy had been unable to climb a short staircase the day before he died.

The state investigative team said it appeared those responsible for Roberto's safety did not recognize his medical distress or provide adequate treatment.

Police reports reviewed by the Star show that since April 2003 at least seven people had reported more than a dozen allegations of child abuse at Thayer to the Caldwell County sheriff's office.

Kanoy has asked the state attorney general's office to assist in a criminal investigation of alleged abuse of more than a dozen students.

Kanoy said he hasn't filed charges against anybody at Thayer because some allegations don't constitute abuse, some can't be proved and others aren't credible. And investigations at Thayer are difficult, he said, because state law makes private facilities that provide care "in conjunction with an educational program" exempt from state licensing and regulation.

"We can't get in the front door," Kanoy said.

In interview excerpts in the state's investigative report, the Bundys and some Thayer employees said they didn't know or didn't think Reyes had been sick before he died. One witness said Roberto appeared lazy, and another said he had had a bad attitude.

In court records, Thayer officials denied all the allegations. The case is scheduled to go to trial in June.

It's another sad day in America when a child dies while in the care and custody of a residential treatment center and no one is found to be at fault .... except the victim ... a 15 year old boy.

Let's hope the civil lawsuit brings justice for Roberto, his family and friends.

In the meantime, may I suggest those who are interested write their congress reps. and ask them a simple question:

Why should kids who are in a private (meaning parent funded) institution not have the same rights as kids who reside in state-run and/or federally funded institutions?

Private placement kids are being shortchanged in ways that put them at risk of serious injury and even death at the hands of their "caregivers".


Thank you,

[ This Message was edited by:  on 2005-10-02 20:21 ]

The Troubled Teen Industry / New Kid on The Block?
« on: July 01, 2005, 01:55:00 AM »

Anybody have any first-hand experience with this outfit? If so, can you tell me what they are?  A referral agency?  A program selling other programs?  

Personally, I have never heard of them but it appears they (the registered domain owner) is based out of St. George, Utah.


The recommended programs TOP FLIGHT ACADEMY and BIG BROTHER ACADEMY (which appears to be a new program owned and run by Max Ahquin, the former owner of the boy's group home in Cedar City that closed after the death of counselor Anson Arnett).

The Personal Growth Seminars called REFRAMING.  

The links to familiar "resources" in the teen help industry.

The negative feedback about private referral agencies who accept fees paid by programs yet praising EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS.  A question of ethics and/or bias?

The Troubled Teen Industry / Remembering Aaron Bacon: March 31, 1994
« on: March 24, 2005, 01:23:00 PM »
It's the "wilderness experience" at its most extreme--rehabilitation of wayward teenagers delivered with the in-your-face discipline of a boot camp. But in the past five years at least four young people have died, the victims of alleged beatings, starvation, and emotional abuse, and the so-called therapy is looking more like murder.

The long-distance connection was good, but as Sally Bacon stood in her Phoenix kitchen, she couldn't make sense of what she was hearing. A month before, she'd sent her 16-year-old son, Aaron, to a Utah wilderness school called North Star Expeditions. Now a disembodied voice from North Star was telling her, "Aaron is down. We can't get a pulse."

"What does that mean, you can't get a pulse?"

"Aaron's been airlifted to the hospital in Page, Arizona," came the reply. "Call your husband. He's been given the hospital phone number." Sally frantically dialed Bob Bacon at his office. Sounding numb, he repeated what he knew: Aaron had collapsed in the desert. It was a freak accident. There was nothing anyone could do. Their son was dead.


To read entire article click here:

Special Message to Parents:

Please remember that no program is a good program if your child's attitude and behavior is subject to being controlled and/or changed in an environment ruled by FEAR.  

If you believe or even suspect your child is at risk of abusive care and treatment (including being deprived of an education) please take the appropriate and necessary steps to protect and enforce your child's safety and well-being.

Thank You,

Barbe Stamps
http://www.teenadvocatesusa.homestead.c ... Ahome.html

A California boy was reportedly struck and killed by a falling tree limb while sleeping in his tent on a 21-day wilderness therapy expedition in Oregon.  See TAUSA webpage AGENDA 2003 for details and further updates as they become available.

[ This Message was edited by:  on 2003-03-31 13:18 ]

The Troubled Teen Industry / Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant
« on: March 15, 2003, 02:23:00 PM »
[ This Message was edited by: Teen Advocates USA on 2003-03-15 19:31 ]

by Bob Lonsberry

Blessings to All,


[ This Message was edited by: Teen Advocates USA on 2002-10-20 09:13 ]

The Troubled Teen Industry / Catherine Freer Wilderness Program Death
« on: August 17, 2002, 03:03:00 AM »
An unidentified 15 year old girl collapsed and died while backpacking with a group of other teenagers near the Arc Dome Wilderness Area (Nevada) on May 27, 2002. The initial coroner's report stated there was no observable cause of death.  If anyone can help with updates on this case, please contact Barbe Stamps at

[ This Message was edited by: Teen Advocates USA on 2002-08-17 00:06 ]

New Info / Lawsuits
« on: July 30, 2002, 02:06:00 AM »
Need help tracking criminal and civil lawsuits filed nationwide against private entities and/or individuals operating for-profit schools, camps and programs for troubled teens.  

http://www.teenadvocatesusa.homestead.c ... tpage.html
 *Please see ON THE DOCKET, a short list of recently filed lawsuits.

New Info / U.S. Department of State Behavior Modification Fact Sheet
« on: July 21, 2002, 11:48:00 AM »
If you are a teen residing in an offshore behavior modification camp, school or program, chances are you don't know you have the absolute right to quit a program without your parent's (or the program's) consent once you reach the age of majority (18). If you are a teen whose parents may be planning to send you to a program outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law regulating the health and educational standards of said program, please copy this information and give it to your parents!!  Who knows .. it just might convince them to think twice before signing any contract (aka "enrollment agreement") that may violate your civil and human rights.  Good Luck and God Bless,

   U.S. Department of State FACT SHEET

In recent years there has been a growth of facilities around the world for the treatment of minors with drug/alcohol and discipline problems. These overseas treatment centers are known as "BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION FACILITIES." Parents enroll their children in these facilities in the hope of improving their behavior. The Department of State is aware of facilities in Jamaica, Mexico and Samoa. There may be facilities in other countries that have not come to the attention of the U.S. Government.

U.S. citizen parents who place their children in these facilities typically sign a contract for their child's treatment that authorizes the staff to act as agents for the parents. These contracts often give the staff blanket authorization to take all action necessary, in their judgment, for the health, welfare and progress within the program of the children. The facilities isolate the children in relatively remote sites, restrict contact with the outside world and employ a system of graduated levels of earned privileges and punishments to stimulate behavior change. Communication privileges of the children may be limited.

The Department of State has no direct knowledge of the corporate or legal structure of these enterprises nor of their precise relationship to each other, including ties to organizations in the United States. Though these facilities may be operated and staffed by U.S. citizens and populated primarily by U.S. citizen minors, the country where the facility is located is solely responsible for compliance with local safety, health, sanitation and educational laws and regulations, including all licensing requirements of the staff in the country. These standards, if any, may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the U.S. Parents considering enrolling their children in overseas Behavior Modification Facilities may find it prudent to visit the site and review the host country's rules governing the facility and its employees. Parents should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the host country to inquire about the facility, or speak to the country officer in the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202/647-5226. When aware of the existence of such facilities, U.S. consular officials conduct periodic site visits, sometimes accompanied by host country officials, to monitor the general well being of the U.S. citizen enrollees and to specifically check on individuals who have been the subject of welfare and whereabouts inquiries. These inquiries may be generated by parents or by other interested individuals. U.S. consular officials are not qualified to determine whether the programs offered by the facilities are of therapeutic benefit to the minors involved. U.S. consular officers encourage the administrators of these programs to ensure that all U.S. citizens at the facilities are registered with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the event it should be necessary to provide emergency consular services. Parents should be aware that U.S. citizens 18 years of age and older have a right to apply for a passport and to request repatriation assistance from the U.S. Government, both without parental consent.

Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings

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[ This Message was edited by: Teen Advocates USA on 2002-07-23 00:13 ]

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