1. Make your check payable to: University of South Florida Foundation (or USF Foundation)
  2. Write “ASTART” in the memo line
  3. Include a note indicating the funds are for ASTART—if you wish to receive a receipt for your gift, please include your name and street address.
  4. Mail your check to: 

C/O Dr. Robert Friedman
University of South Florida
Department of Child and Family Studies
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612

We will send you a receipt in
the mail.


In Memoriam

We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of youth who have died in residential programs for teens. May we always remember them as we work together to protect youth from harm.


Help Us Protect Teens, Assist Families and
Stop Abuse in Residential Programs

Father and son walking

As many as 14,000 teens are confined in for-profit residential programs for “troubled teens.” It is a billion dollar industry with a history of pressuring parents and neglecting teens, sometimes with tragic results. In fact, recent reports from the Government Accountability Office documented widespread abuse, maltreatment and death in some private residential programs for teens. 

We need your support

ASTART is a volunteer organization working to protect children from abuse by residential programs, and to ensure that families have safe and effective community-based care. 

We rely on donations to fund our education and outreach efforts. Our funding is managed through the University of South Florida Foundation. At this time, our only method of accepting donations is if you kindly send a check by mail. 

Our apologies for any inconvenience, and we will provide you with a receipt by mail—please be sure to enclose your name and street address so we may acknowledge your generous gift. 

We advocate federal oversight of residential programs

ASTART is an active supporter of stronger laws and federal regulation of residential programs for teens. Along with our mission to educate families about the dangers of these for-profit programs, more must be done to protect teens from abuse, and protect families from being ripped off.

At the same time, we know such legislation must have teeth and provide resources for enforcement, or programs may claim a level of rigorous oversight that does not exist.

The "Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs for Teens Act of 2011" has been introduced in the House (H.R. 3126) and Senate (S. 1667). A previous version of the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice in 2009 with broad bipartisan support, demonstrating that people are united in their desire to help kids and hold companies accountable for violating the law. The law includes provisions to:  

  • Keep teens safe with new national standards for residential programs that focus on teens with behavioral, emotional, or mential health issues, or substance abuse problems
  • Prohibit sexual, physical and emotional abuse and ban the use of deprivation--of food, sleep, clothing and shelter, for example--as punishment, or for any other reason
  • Require staf to be trained in how to spot abuse and how to report it
  • Mandate that programs disclose staff qualifications to parents
  • Increase transparency to help parents make safer choices for their children
  • Prevent deceptive marketing by residential programs for teens
  • Hold residential programs accountable for violating the law
  • Require states to step in to protect teens in residential programs

Please contact your members of Congress to support passage of this legislation. Use the links at the right to track the progress of the "Stop Child Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs for Teens Act of 2011."

Last updated 6/8/12