Parents Should Know

Abuse is not limited to isolated cases, but has been reported in hundreds of private residential programs for teens in nearly all states.

Child abuse, maltreatment and neglect in residential programs for teens are widespread

GAO Testimony Residential Treatment Programs Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled TeensThe Government Accountability Office (GAO) asked its forensic team to investigate allegations that youth were being maltreated in private residential programs for teens. The reports the GAO issued in 2008 documented and verified:

Personal accounts of experience with teen programs are frightening

Hundreds of personal accounts of abuse in residential programs for teens have been received by ASTART and other youth advocacy organizations. We believe these young people, and their reports contain many common elements, including traumatic transportation to the program, harsh and cruel punishment, inadequate education, unqualified staff, short stays that grow into multi-year confinements, and lack of access to parents and advocates to whom they might report abuse, to name a few.  And we have heard from far too many parents whose children have died while in programs due to staff malfeasance and abuse. View videos with accounts from survivors, parents and experts.

We urge parents and guardians to avoid residential programs for teens because of these serious concerns for child safety.  

Last updated 3/1/13