Monday, November 11, 2013

Teen Challenge : Abusive Rehab Centers

In spite of US Congressional Investigations - Abusive Rehab Centers Remain


A recent report by the US Congress revealed that there are significant problems in the teen rehabilitation industry and a general lack of oversight and accountability. The US House under the leadership of Congressman George Miller conducted investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) during the 110th Congress uncovered thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990’s at teen residential programs. The US Congressional investigation revealed that currently these programs are governed only by a weak patchwork of state and federal standards. A separate GAO report, also conducted by at the committee’s request, found major gaps in the licensing and oversight of residential programs – some of which are not covered by any state licensing standards at all. GAO concluded that without adequate oversight “the well-being and civil rights of youth in some facilities will remain at risk.” State reported data to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2005 found that 34 states reported 1503 incidents of youth maltreatment by residential facility staff. Of the states surveyed by GAO, 28 reported at least one youth fatality in a residential facility in 2006. GAO concluded both of these statistics understate the incidents of maltreatment and death. But many facilities are outside the scope of this limited study and many still remain unregulated and uninspected.

The US Congress has needed to examine this problem before in residential treatment centers - first with The Seed and then with Straight Inc. Each time the offending substance abuse treatment program was shut down, but very rapidly new ones sprung up with new legal identities to start the same kind of program all over again. Now there are even more programs who have been reported to be abusive, in spite of numerous state and local investigations and even federal investigations. To those who have been victimized in one of these facilities it is a source of frustration and dismay to realize that not even several US Congressional investigations can prevent the re-occurrence of the same kind of abuse to children. It is a national disgrace that the abuse of children in residential centers has not stopped but has gotten even more governmental power to hide its true nature from law enforcement and regulators. Abusive teen rehabilitation centers are now even more numerous and the industry is still not regulated by the US federal government. There is no adequate means to monitor these facilities for human rights abuses. So it is important to trace the development of public policy in regards to these residential treatment programs in order to determine how they managed to evade public scrutiny and governmental control.

1 comment:

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