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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 14, 2006 12:34PM

[i:4e02478d79]Missing Bacliff teen had been on Dr. Phil show
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle 11/9/06

After her best friend was found dead days ago, the disappearance of Kimberlee Ramsey, 15, of Bacliff has taken on greater significance, according to Houston EquuSearch officials.

Kimberlee, who was recently seen on an episode of the TV show "Dr. Phil," was last seen leaving her home in the 4600 block of Seventh Street in Bacliff at 7 p.m. Oct. 29.

The body of her best friend, Terressa Lynn Vanegas, a 16-year-old Dickinson High School student, was found on a former soccer field behind the school. Terressa had been missing since Oct. 31.

Kimberlee and her family were on the "Dr. Phil" show to discuss the dangers of being a runaway. After the taping, Kimberlee was sent to Aspen Achievement Academy (Utah) for wilderness therapy. According to EquuSearch, the therapy did not work for Kimberlee.[/i:4e02478d79]

Kimberlee has been found. She is being questioned regarding the death of her friend.

Aspen Achievement Academy also goes by the name Aspen Education Group, and I thought it might be linked to Landmark Education. AAA has programs and schools throughout the US. Some parts of their program are rooted in LGATs. A quick Google search brought up many hits on the abuses, controversies, people seeking restitution, forums with stories so similar to those who have experienced LGATs, that it was stunning.

Utah, with its polygamous groups, seems to be known also for its wilderness achievement programs. There is no regulation of these "therapeutic" boot camps, ranches, and despite research that says their tough love methods do not work, they continue to get funding via government grants and high "tuition" payments. There are countless allegations of abuse and neglect by untrained counselors in the "troubled teen industry."

One survivor has gone on to become a lawyer and I emailed her about Aspen and her reply is below. She gave me permission to distribute her materials. Her website is a great resource on the troubled teen industry.


"Regarding Aspen Education Group... We don't know anymore about the missing girl than is available in the news report. We will keep a look out for any new information as it develops and let you know. Please, if you find out any additional information, share it with us. Dr. Phil has repeatedly enrolled kids in abusive programs. He has enrolled kids on his show into Provo Canyon School and a number of other programs. We exposed this travesty through some media channels and did a letter writing campaign to his show online and via snail-mail. I didn't receive a response. And, survivors and parents were not allowed to post their adverse experiences with the industry on the Dr. Phil message board at his site. We were all blocked from exposing the ugly side of the industry through Dr. Phil's network. This more than suggests that he is in bed with some very unfortunate and wicked people.

There are many more things you can do to help expose the myriad of abusive programs. We have a list of volunteer opportunities from which you may choose or you may create your own actions with our support. It is completely up to you. Please participate in the following easy online actions:

Please take the following actions:

Rep. George Miller (D-CA)has introduced HR 1738, the "End Institutionalized Abuse Against Children Act!". This legislation was introduced on April 20th, 2005. The purpose of this legislation is to regulate ALL facilities, US and Abroad, that service families and "treat" children and teenagers. Please contact your representatives immediately and often asking them to support HR 1738! You may look up your Representatives Contact Information by Visiting: [] .

SIGN "YES ON HR 1738—THE "END INSTITUTIONALIZED ABUSE OF CHILDREN ACT" PETITION NOW!-- This legislation was introduced by George Miller on April 20th, 2005. The purpose of this legislation is to regulate ALL facilities, US and Abroad, that service families and "treat" children and teenagers. To sign, visit: []

SIGN PETITION TO CLOSE PROVO CANYON SCHOOL: Provo Canyon School is one of the oldest teen "treatment" programs. They have been found guilty of cruel and inhumane treatment of children multiple times by multiple courts. They have been sanctioned and the Federal District Court has placed injunctions against them. Yet, they remain open with the same abusive staff and same cruel practices. The licensing department of Utah and CPS of Utah state they have never received a complaint against Provo Canyon School. But, the Utah Dept. of Licensing has been listed as co-defendants in at least one of the lawsuits filed against the program. Please take a moment to sign this petition at: . Thank you.

Angela S.
HEAL Coordinator"

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: ajinajan ()
Date: November 14, 2006 01:25PM

The text of the bill is available here:

Also more information here

Timeline of the bill's history here

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 14, 2006 01:29PM

I gotta agree with this, there are countless "Teen Bootcamps" running amok out there.
Dr. Phil did a show about a troubled teen called "Rescuing Angela", and they sent her to some place, and bottom line she ended up in jail.
Then you never hear about the kid again.

It is a type of LGAT mentality---come to our place, do our program, "get real", confront, yell-cry, and then you are healed---

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 29, 2006 11:24AM

Fornits is sort of the "rickross forum" (not as expertly moderated, however) of the troubled teen industry. There is some pretty horrifying stuff here from kids who have been escorted to boot camps and long-term residential programs. Aspen Education Group, the one Dr. Phil endorses, and to which he sent Kimberlee Ramsey, has two threads in the forum linked here. The State of Utah has many, many of these academies and wilderness camps because it is a state that is lax in child welfare. It is the same state where the polygamous communities exist and marry off girls to men twice their age. Aspen is currently buying up many more schools, many that have complaints of abuse, board of health issues, inadequate psychological and medical care, and inadequately trained staff.


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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: ajinajan ()
Date: November 29, 2006 11:34AM


Fornits is sort of the "rickross forum" (not as expertly moderated, however) of the troubled teen industry. There is some pretty horrifying stuff here from kids who have been escorted to boot camps and long-term residential programs. Aspen Education Group, the one Dr. Phil endorses, and to which he sent Kimberlee Ramsey, has two threads in the forum linked here. The State of Utah has many, many of these academies and wilderness camps because it is a state that is lax in child welfare. It is the same state where the polygamous communities exist and marry off girls to men twice their age. Aspen is currently buying up many more schools, many that have complaints of abuse, board of health issues, inadequate psychological and medical care, and inadequately trained staff.


Interesting related developments today:

Boot camp teen's parents: 'It's a good day'

Eight former employees of the Bay County Sheriff's Office were charged Tuesday with aggravated manslaughter in the death of a 14-year-old at a Florida boot camp for juvenile offenders.

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 30, 2006 12:12PM

A little digging around yielded this gem, written by Lon Woodbury, an education consultant who provides information and advice to parents of troubled teens for finding the rght boot camp, wilderness or residential programs. Many of the complaints people had regarding these schools were identical to those regarding LGATs. This essay is from, which is a website published by Mr. Woodbury

By: Lon Woodbury

Those of us old enough to remember the 1960s will recall a decade of tremendous change, creativity and turmoil. It was a turning point decade, a time when many of the old attitudes were cast off and new directions taken. At least one national social critic has asserted that when you look at the things going wrong in this country today, they all came out of the 1960s. On the other hand, many of our most respected contemporary values were products of the 1960s.

In education and personal growth, a tremendous amount of creativity and new thinking began during the 1960s. Traditional public and private education thinking was widely challenged. The traditional interventions for emotional and behavioral problems of juvenile detention or hospitalization were criticized as harmful all too often.

Storefront schools and other experimental and experiential forms of education flourished, as they tried to break away from the traditional model of education founded on the concept of the factory in the early years of the 20th century. In personal growth, we saw est, lifespring, synanon, a variety of eastern mystic ideas brought to this country, and a host of other movements with new visions of how to increase human potential. In addition, the concept of individual therapy provided by credentialed therapists, rooted in at least the trappings of science and credentials, finally became accepted legally and culturally. This was marked by the legal acceptance of alcoholism as a disease in 1962, rather than the old view of it being only a moral problem. The 1960s was a cornucopia of new ideas and experimentation, starting a process of developing, interacting, and evolving to find better ways to educate and help young people.

The network of emotional growth/therapeutic schools and programs this newsletter focuses on evolved directly out of the experimentation going on in the 1960s. Part of this experimentation was to establish schools for at-risk adolescents as private alternatives, with parental choice driving enrollment decisions. These influences are still evident, it is these roots in the experimentation of the sixties that make this network unique from other education and mental health associations and networks. Many of the people and schools who started working with struggling teens during the creativity of the 1960s, are still around.

Larry Dean Olson, founder of Anasazi Foundation, discovered that students at Brigham Young University did better academically after going on one of his wilderness experiences in the late sixties, and Larry Wells, Founder of Wilderness Quest, found that taking young Idaho prisoners into the wilderness in the early 1970s reduced recidivism rates drastically. In addition, many of the programs in Montana were founded by people who had worked at, or been inspired by, Spring Creek Community School, a backwoods alternative school founded by Steve Cawdry in the late sixties or early 70s. Cawdry closed the school down several years ago, but its influence remains.

The late Mel Wasserman founded the CEDU School in 1967, and CEDU probably had the most widespread influence on this network. Originally, Wasserman saw how many of the young people he met around his hometown of Palm Springs, California in the mid-sixties were living in total chaos. They had real problems with drugs, relationships and parents, and from the standard institutions and interventions of the time, there was nothing available to effectively help them. He decided to go into the school business. He founded CEDU specifically as an alternative school, designed to provide what these confused young people desperately needed. His genius was in selecting from the currents of experimentation floating around the sixties, those elements that created a whole child education system by addressing their physical, mental and emotional growth. The term Emotional Growth education came out of the CEDU approach. CEDU became extremely successful in helping young people as an alternative to therapeutic institutions. CEDU expanded to establish several north Idaho schools by the 1990s and added the two schools currently in California. More importantly, many people who worked at CEDU left to establish their own schools, or took key positions in other schools, adding their own personal ideas to what they had learned at CEDU. A significant number of the schools in the Emotional Growth/Therapeutic schools and programs network were developed or strongly influenced by people who were originally inspired by their CEDU experience.

Another early school was Elan, in Poland Springs, Maine. Established in 1970, Elan was strongly influenced by the behavioral concepts prevalent at the time, developing into an extremely tightly structured behavioral modification school. Although Elan itself has not grown to beyond the one school, I have met several people elsewhere in the Northeast who had once worked at Elan. It seems Elan’s approach differed from the norm, and it opened people up to the idea that there were ways beyond the traditional to construct a school or program for struggling teens, and they proceeded to act on that insight.

Provo Canyon School, in Provo Utah, was founded in 1971. Although a secure treatment center, they employed several new ideas, including thinking of themselves as a school, and referring to their residents as students instead of patients. Today, there are many schools and programs in Utah that were either founded by people who had once worked for Provo Canyon School, or learned the business from an ex-employee of Provo Canyon School.

Other important influences were Campbell Loughmiller, and his book Wilderness Road, published 1965, from his work with the Salesmanship Club near Dallas. This book, and the Salesmanship Club, found a kid’s behavior gets better after camping out. Primarily influential in the Southeast, this concept of long term camping inspired the Three Springs programs and the Eckerd Programs, along with a number of other smaller programs.

So, what's my point? First, if you start tracing the history of influences on many of the schools in the network of Emotional Growth/ Therapeutic schools and programs, you usually wind up back to just a handful of early founders. Also, much of what is most successful and creative in the schools and programs in this network came directly out of the creative thinking and experimenting that occurred in the 1960s.

Lon Woodbury is an educational consultant who has worked with parent choice, private pay Schools and Programs for struggling teens since 1984. Prior to that, he taught in the public schools and was involved in public policy working for the U.S. Senate and for the Executive office of the President. He received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Idaho. He offers a nationwide referral service for parents of adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems, writes an education newsletter, Places For Struggling Teens Newsletter™, publishes the Parent Empowerment Handbook™: a Resource Guide for Parents of Struggling Teens as part of the results of his research into which schools and programs of quality are available for the child who is making poor decisions, and the publishes the website Places For™, to provide parents and professionals with empowering information.

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: December 22, 2006 09:55AM

(From the Woodbury Reports)
(and its value as a counseling tool in emotional growth schools)
by: Linda Shaffer, Ed. Consultant
Sandpoint, Idaho

All emotional growth schools are not alike! In their counseling tools, nineteen among the more well-known schools use a tool the others do not, the Interactive or Marathon-Like Workshop.

In most emotional growth schools it is standard practice to utilize the group session process 2 to 3 times a week with feedback among peers as a major counseling tool — all guided by the staff facilitators. Individual counseling also is implemented on a regular basis with an assigned therapist. The more informal version of this style of counseling is the ride in the pick-up truck or the walk down to the pond or the farm.

Not every school, however, utilizes the Interactive or Marathon-Like Workshop. I find in assisting families that some are open to this counseling style for their children and for themselves (in the parent workshops). And, some prefer to participate only in the more private one on one family counseling sessions a school may offer.

Those schools who Do Use these workshops are: Cascade School, Whitmore, CA; Mount Bachelor Academy, Prineville, OR; Swift River Academy, Cummington, MA; Hidden Lake Academy, Dahlonega, GA; Crater Lake School, Sprague River, OR; CEDU Schools, CA and ID; Spring Ridge Academy, Spring Valley, AZ Cross Creek Manor, LaVerkin, UT; Paradise Cove, Apia, W. Samoa; Tranquility Bay, Mandeville, Jamaica; Spring Creek Lodge, Thompson Falls, MT; Copper Canyon Academy, Camp Verde, AZ And for the over 18 year old students — Northstar, Bend, OR and Benchmark, Redding, CA

Two other schools considering implementing the Interactive Workshop are Aspen Ranch in Loa, Utah and Montana Academy in Marion, Montana.

Various Components of these interactive workshops include psychodrama, role playing, dads, bioenergetics, creative visualization exercises, supportive music, and various types of “stretch” exercises to take one outside one’s comfort zone.

Students in the interactive workshop often are excited about them because they indicate Points Of Passage within their school and their goal of getting “to the top of the mountain” and completing all the workshops.

Where did these workshops come from? From creative minds. They came from often controversial influences and beginnings — Synanon, Lifespring, est, — out of the ‘60’s — and from many of the earliest creative innovators in the mental health field. Through years of evolution, and years of individual creativity in adapting these workshops to adolescents, came “workshops” and “seminars”. I see them, if designed with care and sensitivity to the individual, as benefiting anyone — but, especially the frightened and refusing child, the counseling savvy/issue dodging child who knows what to say, and the intellectual child who tries at all costs to not touch upon feelings.

Training for the originators of today’s workshops often involved participation themselves in some earlier workshops in Their Own Growth Process and, thus, redesigning these workshops for their own schools. Some have established companies that offer various versions of these workshops today for Corporate America and also design special programs for emotional growth schools.

I would suggest the spread of these workshops in the emotional growth school setting says something about the insights and results for participants. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about - Results Education, both academic and emotional.

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: December 29, 2006 11:02PM

[b:0204b17878]Warning Signs of Potentially Abusive Facilities[/b:0204b17878]

1. The facility is not licensed.

2. Verbal and/or written communication between the child and his parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. is prohibited, restricted, or monitored on any level.

3. The facility requires that the parents and/or child sign a form releasing the program of liability in the event of injury to the child.

4. The program requests/demands/recommends that they have legal 6. custody of children.

5. The program requires that children live in foster or "host" homes instead of allowing them to reside with their parents.

6. The child or parent or forbidden from discussing the daily happenings at the facility. Often this policy is called "confidentiality."

7. The child is denied access to a telephone.

8. Phone calls between children and parents are monitored.

9. The program uses confrontational therapy.

10. Parents must fulfill requirements of the facility before being permitted to visit their own children.

11. The facility is located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

12. Children are restrained or otherwise physically prevented from leaving the facility.

13. The staff includes former students/clients of the facility.

14. Staff members claim that self-injury or cutting/carving on ones body is normal behavior for a child in treatment.

15. Parents are not allowed to remain with their child during the entire intake/entry process.

16. The program inflicts physical punishments on children such as exercising for extended periods of time, bizarre cleaning rituals (ie scrubbing floors with a toothbrush) or food restrictions.

17. The program uses humiliation to "break them down."

18. The program forces children to remain in solitary confinement/isolation/time-out for an unspecified amount of time.

19. The facility considers homosexuality to be a behavioral problem.

20. The facility claims to be able to "treat" homosexuality.

21. Reading materials are prohibited or severely limited.

22. The facility does not have a clearly visible sign outside the building or descriptions of their location are vague.

23. The facility claims to modify behavior, yet has no licensed therapists on staff.

24. A licensed doctor or registered nurse is not present at any time during normal operating hours.

25. Current clients/students participate in the intake/entry process.

26. Staff members offer to help parents obtain a court order forcing the child into, or keeping the child in, the facility.

27. Children are observed while bathing, dressing, or using the toilet on any level of the program.

28. The facility claims to treat drug abuse, but does not conduct a drug screen prior to entry.

29. The facility does not allow children to follow their religion of choice.

30. Staff members must "approve" family members, siblings, friends, or employment.

31. Children are not afforded an education in accordance with state requirements.

32. Medication is recommended, prescribed, approved, or dispensed by anyone other than a medical doctor (MD).

33. Children are denied medications that have been prescribed by an MD.

34. Staff members, admissions personnel, referrers, etc. make statements indicating that "your child will die without" the program.

35. Children escort/supervise other children.

36. Children have to "earn" the "right" to speak during group/therapy sessions.

37. Children are denied outside activities on any level/phase.

38. Staff members must approve the withdrawal of children from the facility.

39. The facility expects total and unquestioned support of parents.

40. Children on any level/phase are forbidden to speak to other children in the facility.

41. The facility will not disclose the names of any doctors or therapists on staff prior to the child's admittance into the program.

[b:0204b17878]ISAC will add to this list as necessary.

Source: ISAC Corporation -[/b:0204b17878]

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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: January 14, 2007 06:46AM

Kevin August of also owns a referral site at where he is actively referring
people to programs such as Sorenson's Ranch in Utah, which we know to be confirmedly abusive. Please do not link to Kevin's sites on your personal websites and do not associate with him. If you care about exposing institutionalized child abuse and protecting children, you will not
associate with Kevin August.


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Troubled Teen Industry
Posted by: windofchanges ()
Date: January 14, 2007 10:43AM

[i:e8f5cc34d1]The Sun[/i:e8f5cc34d1] magazine includes two articles this month on the "teen help" industry (Jan 07, issue 373: [] )

The lead article, an interview with Maia Szalavita is on the "Epidemic abuses of the teen-help industry," and discusses Straight, KIDS, and others, also mentioning Attorney Philip Elberg's successful lawsuit against KIDS, in addition to comparing KIDS to a cult.

Another article -- [i:e8f5cc34d1]The Seed[/i:e8f5cc34d1] by Mark Polonsky -- recounts his own experiences as a young teen with [i:e8f5cc34d1]The Seed[/i:e8f5cc34d1], a predecessor to Straight.

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