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.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Parents ordered to collect their children from Midwest Academy in Keokuk, Iowa

A police investigation has been launced against Midwest Academy in Keokuk, Iowa.

The school was founded by Brian Vaifanua who previous ran Paradise Cove in Samoa. Today the closed Samoa camp is mostly known for having housed two children who later moved on to kill relatives as revenge due their placement at Paradise Cove or at least it was what the conclusion the courts came to.

Both Midwest Academy and Paradise Cove was a part of the nationwide WWASP organization. Schools affiliated with this organization were closed by authorities in several states and countries out of welfare concerns towards the minors forced to attend these schools by their parents.

Of the schools who used to work with WWASP there are only two left.
  • Red River Academy in Lecompte, Louisiana
  • Sunset Bay Academy in Mexico
They use a structure very similar to the one Midwest Academy used to. A new student has to work through a level program in order to speak with parents again. Only monitored and censored contact is allowed from the enrollment until requirements are met. That leaves room for abuse.

Beside the WWASP related school also a number of so-called therapeutic boarding schools and treatment centers use the same approach and parents should be aware that they leave their children in huge risk of abuse by using the facilities which use this kind of structure.

It is only a question of time before a child is exposed to abuse or a child find itself so abandoned by family and social network back home that the only option seems to be suicide. Unfortunately a number of suicide attempts have been succeessfully. In a place like Diamond Ranch Academy in Utah a boy was able to hang himself and at the now-closed Spring Creek Lodge in Montana a girl committed suicide.

Should residential treatment be the last option as parent see to that you can visit as often you like and if possible from the very first day.

Of course you cannot expect your child to be happy about the placement but you can show your support for your own decision to show up and to a certain degree support the treatment approach you are paying for. Otherwise the treatment will have no effect. Children will return to their old ways. You would have lost a lot of money for nothing. Maybe you even will see that your child will need additional treatment as result of posttraumatic stress caused by the placement.

Now the parents have to collect their children from Midwest Academy. Some might consider to send their children to other places so they can find time for holidays or whatever activity they paid to get time for by paying for having their child placed at Midwest Academy. Maybe, just maybe they should second-guess their priorities in life.

Being a parent is the most important job in life.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dangerous wilderness programs used in custody cases

A custody case attracted national and international attention when Judge Gorcyca threw 3 children in juvenile detention because they didn't want to be with their father who they claim where abusive.

Now the story get even more bizarre. One of the children were sent to a wilderness program and the father hasn't been fully committed in working with the therapists the court appointed.

Wilderness programs are often private-run programs who you can hire to conduct so-called therapy based on what you are willing to pay for. It might not be in the best interest of the child because there are very little oversight into what kind of operation these wilderness programs run.

Secondly it is among the most deadly types of therapy you can expose minors to. Opposite adults the minors cannot leave the program and too often they cause the death of minors in them.

Just last year late 2014 a teenager froze to death in North Carolina.

Lately a girl had a close call when she became separated from her group in Tennessee. She was unable to walk out of the woods and ended up in hospital.

It is asking for a tragedy to happen accepting that this child to leave the home state in order to attend a wilderness program. How far will the justice system go putting these children at risk? It is not a question of judging whether the father or the mother is the best parent. It is a question whether the court orders the parents to use neutral therapist hired and paid by the court to work the case where the kids started to live instead of splitting them up and putting them at risk.

Divorce can be a testing period for everyone especially the children but the court should not make it more difficult by putting the children in jail or allowing them to be exposed to untested and dangerous therapy methods they will be emotional damaged by the rest of their lives.

Tsimhoni custody case deteriorates (Communities Digital News LLC)
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