MORE INFORMATION ON INSTITUTIONAL CHILD ABUSE

Hundreds of Teen Treatment Programs Operate in the United States Today

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           -Residential Treatment Center Database


 A 2007 ANNUAL REPORT STATED: 

About 10,000 to 20,000 young people are enrolled in these programs annually, which cost from $130 to $450 a day.

 

NATSAP DATA: (accreditation board):

The best data we have available as it pertains to children held in facilities was provided by NATSAP (National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs) to the Congressional Inquiries. They asserted that in 2006, approximately 16,000 teenagers were being held in 180 programs that their organisation listed. However, there are potentially many hundreds more programs than those listed by NATSAP. We believe that realistic estimates should consequently be between about 25,000 and 50,000 at this present time.

 

ANOTHER STUDY INDICATED:

During 2005 alone, 33 states reported 1,619 staff members involved in incidents of abuse in residential programs.  GAO found thousands of allegations of abuse. GAO could not identify a more concrete number of allegations because it could not locate a single website, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data. 

GAO also examined, in greater detail, 10 closed civil or criminal cases from 1990 through 2004 where a teenager died while enrolled in a private program. 

GAO found significant evidence of ineffective management in most of the 10 cases, with program leaders neglecting the needs of program participants and staff. This ineffective management compounded the negative consequences of (and sometimes directly resulted in) the hiring of untrained staff; a lack of adequate nourishment; and reckless or negligent operating practices, including a lack of adequate equipment. These factors played a significant role in the deaths GAO examined. 

RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS

Illustration by Lia Kantrowitz via VICE

 Programs affiliated with religious institutions are exempt from any state regulation or licensing. This means no state agency oversees their practices, tracks the children in their care, or inspects their facilities. In fact, even when Child and Family Services (CFS) is called about abuse or neglect, its hands are tied.  Many religious programs have used, or continue to use, conversion therapy on LGBTQ children.

(Image Credit Lia Kantrowitz via VICE)

THE EVOLUTION OF THE TROUBLED TEEN INDUSTRY

A "RECOVERY CULT" AND THE TOUGH LOVE MOVEMENT GREW INTO A PROFITABLE INDUSTRY

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The history of the troubled teen industry that we see today is long and corrupt.  What started as a recovery group in the 1960s (SYNANON wiki) developed into a violent and disturbing cult.  Before it was disbanded, SYNANON gave rise to several programs aimed at changing troubled youth.  The abusive, traumatizing tactics and damaging structures of these programs became a big piece of the blueprint for more facilities, "specialty programs", boot camps, wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, and behavior modification centers.  

The industry of "fixing" teens for profit dug in deep roots during the 80s-90s as fears about teen delinquency were pedaled in the media, and the concept of "tough love" was promoted as a means of saving the nation's youth.  See below for more resources for education on the troubled teen industry; the story, and the problems it is fraught with.

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