Convictions for, or reports to authorities of, abuse or fraud at residential programs for teens do not prohibit program operators from opening new facilities under different names or in different states. Check with state regulators and conduct your own independent research before placing your child.
November 3, 2011--Ricky Wyatt was a rambunctious Alabama teenager who had broken windows, overturned a school desk or two, and been in and out of group homes. His probation officer decided he needed to be committed to a mental institution. His aunt, his legal guardian, agreed. So Ricky found himself at 14 in a crowded and understaffed hell, the Bryce State Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Though he was never found to have any illness, he was given large doses of Thorazine and other psychoactive drugs regularly. Mr. Wyatt, who died on Tuesday at 57, became the lead plaintiff in a landmark class-action federal lawsuit protesting conditions in the hospital. The suit led to a judgment in 1971 that gave the federal government control of Alabama's mental institutions and set national guidelines for mental care that came to be called the Wyatt Standards. Read more
Depressed teens with anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure, have lower levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in a key mood-regulating region of the brain, according to an NIMH-funded study published online October 3, in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Read more
October, 2011--National Geographic describes how research into teen brain functioning and behavior is producing a surprising result: The teen brain is an "exquisitely sensitive, highly adaptable creature wired almost perfectly for the job of moving from the safety of home into the complicated world outside." But this process can be maddening for adults. Read more
Pasadena Star News, Oct. 26, 2011— Two disturbing videos obtained by this newspaper offer an inside look at Pasadena-based boot camps. The videos were created at least two years ago. One shows Kelvin "Sgt. Mac" McFarland forcing children to gorge themselves on water. The children in the video struggle to drink the water and several are seen vomiting as a result. Read more
By Maia Szalavitz, Time Magazine - Oct. 7, 2011 —The first legislation aimed at regulating residential programs for troubled teens was introduced on Thursday in the House and the Senate. The bill would crack down on hundreds of programs housing thousands of teens, many of which use punishing "tough love" regimes found to include physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Read more
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Last updated 6/8/12