Unlicensed Residential Programs: The Next Challenge in Protecting Youth – Over the past decade in the United States, the number of private residential facilities for youth has grown exponentially, and many are neither licensed as mental health programs by states nor accredited by respected national accrediting organizations. Unregulated residential programs have been linked with reports of youth mistreatment, abuse, and death, as well as the exploitation of families. In the fall of 2004, a multi-disciplinary group of mental health and child-serving professionals was formed through a collaboration between the Florida Mental Health Institute and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, in response to rising concerns about reports from youth, families, and journalists describing mistreatment in unregulated programs. This review is a summary of the information gathered by this group, the Alliance for the Safe, Therapeutic, and Appropriate use of Residential Treatment (ASTART).
A Summary of Participant Perspectives on Residential Treatment for Youth – Allison Pinto, Ph.D. – Reports continue to emerge regarding the mistreatment and abuse of American youth in unregulated “therapeutic” boarding schools and similar “specialty” residential treatment programs. An online survey was developed and posted to gather information from young adults who participated in these types of programs when they were adolescents.
Counselor Magazine: Confrontation Doesn’t Work in Addiction Treatment – The use of confrontational strategies in individual, group, and family substance abuse counseling emerged through a confluence of cultural factors in U.S. history, pre-dating the development of methods for reliably evaluating the effects of such treatment. Originally practiced within voluntary peer-based communities, confrontational approaches soon extended to authority-based professional relationships where the potential for abuse and harm greatly increased. Four decades of research have failed to yield a single clinical trial showing the efficacy of confrontational counseling, whereas a number have documented harmful effects, particularly for more vulnerable populations. There are now numerous evidence-based alternatives to confrontational counseling, and clinical studies show that more effective substance abuse counselors are those who practice with an empathic, supportive style. It is time to accept that the harsh confrontational practices of the past are generally ineffective, potentially harmful, and professionally inappropriate.
Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Information – Residential Treatment Programs for Teens – No standard definitions exist for specific types of programs. The programs are not regulated by the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring as mental health or educational facilities, either. A 2007 Report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found cases involving serious abuse and neglect at some of these programs. Many programs advertise on the Internet and through other media, making claims about staff credentials, the level of treatment a participant will receive, program accreditation, education credit transfers, success rates, and endorsements by educational consultants.
If you are in an urgent situation and need help call 911. If you are having suicidal feelings call toll-free 1-800-273-8255. or text HOME to 741741 If you are LGBTQ and in need of support call the Trevor Project hotline 1-866-488-7386. If you are a child being abused or know of a child being abused, please call 1-800-422-4453.