Be Fully Informed

Convictions for, or reports to authorities of, abuse or fraud at residential programs for teens do not prohibit program operators from opening new facilities under different names or in different states. Check with state regulators and conduct your own independent research before placing your child.


In the News

APA: Residential Programs Often Make Teen Problems Worse

December, 2011 — More than 160,000 American youth each year are referred by juvenile courts to residential placements, according to a 2011 Social Policy Report by the Society for Research in Child Development. However, the report finds that such settings often do more harm than good, causing depression, thoughts of suicide, acting-out behaviors and recidivism among these youth. Recognizing this problem, many states have enacted a variety of community-based "diversion" programs aimed at keeping offending youth out of the court system, particularly those who have committed nonviolent crimes or "status" offenses such as truancy, running away from home or defying parents or other authority figures. Read more

New Lawsuit Targets Mount Bachelor Academy

November 10, 2011. Portland, OR — Fourteen more former students of one of Oregon's most notorious "tough love" boarding schools, the now-shut Mt. Bachelor Academy east of Prineville, filed a lawsuit against the school Thursday, alleging emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Meanwhile, a judge in Portland ruled Thursday that an initial lawsuit, filed earlier by 17 other former students, should be tried in Crook County. The new 98-page lawsuit (link to full suit below) alleges systematic humiliation, physical and sexual abuse over a 15-year period and seeks $23 million in damages. Read more

Plaintiff in Landmark Mental Health Case Dies

November 3, 2011--Ricky Wyatt was a rambunctious Alabama teenager who had broken windows, overturned a school desk or two, and been in and out of group homes. His probation officer decided he needed to be committed to a mental institution. His aunt, his legal guardian, agreed. So Ricky found himself at 14 in a crowded and understaffed hell, the Bryce State Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Though he was never found to have any illness, he was given large doses of Thorazine and other psychoactive drugs regularly. Mr. Wyatt, who died on Tuesday at 57, became the lead plaintiff in a landmark class-action federal lawsuit protesting conditions in the hospital. The suit led to a judgment in 1971 that gave the federal government control of Alabama's mental institutions and set national guidelines for mental care that came to be called the Wyatt Standards. Read more

Brain Chemical Linked to Joylessness Provides Insight Into Teen Depression

Depressed teens with anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure, have lower levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in a key mood-regulating region of the brain, according to an NIMH-funded study published online October 3, in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Read more

Beautiful Brains: The Science Behind Teen Behavior

October, 2011--National Geographic describes how research into teen brain functioning and behavior is producing a surprising result: The teen brain is an "exquisitely sensitive, highly adaptable creature wired almost perfectly for the job of moving from the safety of home into the complicated world outside." But this process can be maddening for adults. Read more

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Last updated 6/8/12