Sunday, May 21, 2017

Who is watching the children at Diamond Ranch Academy - now there is one less

The website drasurvivors are now redirecting to the website of Diamond Ranch Academy which is a so-called residential treatment facility in Hurricane, Utah.

Drasurvivors contained the testimones of a number of former residents who were forced to play students at the facility.

Often children who had committed no crime but disapointing the expectations of their parents when it came to grades, choice of religion, choice of gender in relationships or choice of habits when partying.

Still they endured isolation from family and friends.

Still they endured punishments without access to legal representation.

Still they had no access to commnication which could allow them to access the authorities when they exposed to unjust treatment.

What the website drasurvivors gave them, were the chance to let the public learn of their torment.

It was important because two students never had the chance to tell anyone because they died while they were under the care of the facility.

A boy died from an illness. At least that is what we are supposed to accept base on a report from the local coronorer. It could be right but in cases like this a single report is not enough. Especially after the boot camp scandal in Florida where the papers didn't tell the truth because someone wanted to protect the local jobs at the boot camp.

A boy opted to take his own life rather than subject himself to the harsh treatment at the facility. It could have been prevented. An investigation into the suicide concluded this.

Some might claim that the authorities do supervise. That they do come to the facility and ask to speak with the student without monitoring. But do they listen? Are the local jobs not more important?

Then what about the social services from the communities all over the United States from where the students are sent? It doesn't happen. It really should because the welfare of the children at Diamond Ranch Academy should not be weighed against local jobs.

Something is really wrong at the facility because our contacts at Fornits reports an alarming number of deaths among the former residents at the facility.

We are really concerned because we already have two families who didn't get their son home alive. How many more should be put at risk before the social services all over the United States and United Kingdom who also have sent children to such facilities say stop to this child trafficing across state lines?

The children at Diamond Ranch Academy lost someone who could look after them with the hostile takeover of the drasurvivors website. Others need to take over or we will start counting dead bodies of children again.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A death is a tragedy - regardless who the victim is

What was supposed to happen at one point - did happen.

The entire setup of Turn-about Ranch in Utah was a setup for disaster.

Removing a child without warning from its own bed or luring the child on holiday only to dump it at Turn-about Ranch is not only traumatic, it provokes resistant. It was only a matter of time before a child reacted with such a violence that either the child or anyone else would have died.

It is not as if it did not happen before. On course there are many deaths caused by restraints. In fact, there are an entire blog about each recorded death among teenagers who have been confined to residential programs. Some deaths are not recorded. The local newspapers are quiet due to concern of loss of local jobs. The family has to settle out of court because they do not have the money to go up against the rich facilities.

Then there are deaths caused among innocent neighbors. Especially the Luc Ranch killings were tragic. Traumatized by their stay two teenagers ran and killed an elderly couple. However, people have been hurt in a number of incidents where the teenagers on the run or innocent people who just happened to be on the road at the same time also were either injured or killed.

Then there are teenagers in the programs who kills or just try to kill other teenagers to prevent them from reporting attempted escapes. Mountain Park Academy in Missouri saw such a tragedy. Out of three boys two are now dead and the last one still in prison. None today questions the fact that Mountain Park Academy was abusive. Given the news that the employees moved on to work at similar places makes it not better.

This time an employee lost his life at Turn-about Ranch. In Europe Turn-about Ranch is known from Brat Camp who boosted the career of Jemma Lucy. While her career certainly is an achievement, we only can question ourselves if the life lessons learned really are the kind of values we want to instill in our children. She entered the ranch with dreams of becoming a singer. The ranch taught her that life was extreme that she thought and extreme is the measures she has used during her career in the entertainment industry.

A boy is in prison. An employee is dead. Another employee needed treatment after the attack. Why? I am sure that the family of the boy now agree that it was not worth messing with the choices the boy made before they decided to send him to the program. Sometime teenagers make poor decision. Sitting around in the corner as a parent while you are bitter waiting to have money enough to send your child to other people for a quick fix instead of setting the standard your self is an absolutely no-go.

I am a parent. My children are among the few young Danes who do not drink and at the same time is not radicalized as much Danish teenager risk during these hard years where we have opened our vulnerable small culture to many outsiders.

I believe in setting standard. I do not drink very much and I am never drunk in front of my children. I wear a bike helmet. Instead of telling them how to behave, I show them how to behave. I show them how to work hard only days after a van crushed my bike with me on it. Broken limbs – no problem. You work! I do not tell my kids. I dragged myself out of my bed to the computer so I could serve my workplace who had granted me a position to serve at.

Showing instead of telling. That is the right way.

Nevertheless, even I have to learn about how group homes and residential programs work when your child needs treatment. My children live away from home. Their need for special treatment cannot be met where I live. It is painful for a parent. However, the difference between Turn-about Ranch and the place my children live is that my children was involved in the enrollment process.

No, it was not funny for them. It was not funny for me. From day one based on my experience with the industry I demanded unlimited visitation rights and that I only have to give the employees minutes of warning before I arrive. My wishes have been complied.

Both my children are intelligent people. They know that the rules at the group home are not the same as home. Because with special need special rules also have to be made. That is why violations have been minimal. Escape attempts have not been met with violence but with information so I could track the individual using the GPS on the smartphone. Yes. My children have smartphones while they are in the residential program. They have the right to communicate with friends and extended family at home.

The oldest even have the right to buy alcohol under the safe limit of 16.5 but have not exercised the right. Properly because they both have observed me.

Unlike the treatment facility my children live at, Turn-about ranch does not believe in communicating with children before they enter the program. When they enter the program, they are met with a unified approach. Any treatment reports made before entering the program are not taken into consideration so an individual treatment plan can be made.

It was a recipe for disaster and it became a disaster when employee was killed. A boy now enter the prison system instead of just being an underachiever. The family of the employee suffered a huge loss. The surviving employee might never come back due to the emotional damages caused by the fight.

There are no winners of this story. Only a huge amount of sorrow and loss.

Turn-about is an outdated form of treatment program. It should have closed years ago. Sadly, it did not.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Investigation into death at Elan School in Maine

Everybody who has followed the trial against Michael Skakel knows that the now-closed Elan School in Poland, Maine had it secrets.

People who investigate the business like our organization also knew in advance that a death which occurred around 1982 properly was the result of violence inflicted in the so-called therapeutic boxing ring.

But the problem has been that the authorities never wanted to release any records, they never really wanted to conduct a throughout investigation. Elan School was a convenient dumping place for troubled youth. It was a place where the authorities sent unwanted children to and where they could be kept quiet until they became broken adults who would end their lives prematurely as too many of the former students have done. The suicide rate among former students are alarming high.

It seems that every country needs such a dumping place. In Denmark it was called Solhaven and it was only because some brave police officers finally ignored the cries for local labor and the business caused by housing a larger company in a remote neighborhood where every job-position is welcome, that Solhaven was stopped. The juridical system is complex so no conviction came out of it but the business was shut down and while they might want to reopen they will never grow to the size before the closure.

Poland in Maine also needed the jobs and when Joseph Ricci created the school, eyes were closed. They continued to be close for almost the entire time Elan School was open. Joseph Ricci who came with no education into taking care of teenagers with often complex disorders took care of a problem for the state and for that they shielded him from proper investigation into what went on at this business.

Maybe the investigation into the 1982 death of Philip Williams Jr. might provide the public a clearer picture of what when down at Elan School? It is properly too late to bring any of the former employees and management to justice. As we learned in Denmark the court system can be complex and a huge lawsuit against the people behind the infamous WWASP organization in the United States which got schools closed down in several states and countries came to nothing. But it really doesn't matter. It is about learning from the past. The troubled teen industry which boomed as result of the 3-strike laws introduced in the 1990's which scared many parents to seek residential treatment for even minor things like alcohol consumption or poor grades left many teenagers with emotional scars which might never heal.

The future must learn the damage Elan School and similar places caused in order to prevent new places from opening if the society ever might focus on over-controlling the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood again.

We urge the authorities to open their records so the truth of the past can be learned.


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