In recent news, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has conducted a study revealing concerns about abuse and deaths in certain programs for struggling teens as well as deceptive trade practices of referral agencies within this industry labeled, teen-help.
At P.U.R.E. we are deeply touched by the publicized reports, which found thousands of cases involving abuse and even death at facilities licensed to help troubled teens. It is disturbing to hear about marketing arms (referral agencies) that prey upon the desperate parent. When I was a parent at my wit’s end, I became prey for a referral agency that made many false promises and my daughter suffered the consequences.
This reality hit home with my daughter and myself which inspired me to create Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) My organization helps to educate parents that are searching for safe alternatives for their children as well as create awareness in an industry that can be daunting for the desperate parent.
I offer sympathy to the families that have been affected by any ill treatment and as always, would like to encourage all parents considering this level of care to take the necessary steps to ensure your child’s safety and well-being. There are many excellent programs designed to help teens in crisis, but not all are created equal.
It is imperative that parents take an active approach in seeking the most suitable program for their individual needs of their child. As stated on my website, http://www.helpyourteens.com/questions_to_ask_schools.html . These questions to ask and helpful hints in assisting you to find the best program for your child. My book, “Wit’s End!” will expand on these questions and offer parents hope and inspiration if they are struggling with an at risk child.
It is certainly frightening to hear about the teen fatalities and incidents of abuse at Residential Treatment Programs and Wilderness Programs, but I am grateful for the media attention that this matter is finally receiving. I am joined by other industry professionals who are hopeful that this increased awareness resulting from these hearings will propel a trend for improvement within our industry. I strongly support any legislation, both state and federal, that will enhance the safety and treatment of at-risk teens as well as regulate referral sources. I intend to be active in the development of such policy and work with the GAO.
For more information on the recent GAO report, visit www.gao.gov .