Monday, November 30, 2015

Riot at Copper Hills Youth Center

The journalist Lyn Duff battled during her teenage years to be allowed to live the life she wanted. Her choice of partner didn't suit her mother and she was sent to a treatment center in Utah where she was forced to smell ammonia to learn her the right choice of a partner. She escaped and with legal help she got the life she wanted.

Years later the residential treatment center now operating under a different name is the in news again. A riot is the reason.

Comments show a understaffed facility with toxic mix of youth.

Fact is that no treatment center in the world can fix every issue. A treatment center needs to focus. It needs to specialize. It is costly but if corners are cut a dangerous mix of minors can be put together and either employees or the children will be hurt.

Of course there are also some who never should be put in treatment programs. Children with addiction should never be put in treatment programs involuntary unless the entire family is sent there for a short stay so they can prepare their roles as addicts and relatives to addicts. People cannot fix issues they don't acknowledge. It also goes for children. If addicts are sent to place involuntary it becomes a holding place and the minute the addict is released to the society the risk of relapse is high.

If you check out deaths involving addicts they often happen shortly after leaving the treatment center.

The treatment center claiming to have the higest rate of successes either keep the addicts in semi-confinement or sober living communities where they cannot afford to leave from creating a kind of cult environment.

Copper Hills Youth Center is a "we take them all" treatment center. It has a history of incidents where employees and children were hurt. It should have been shut down years ago for the sake of both employees and children.

It had another name while Lyn Duff was confined in it but the mismanagement seems to have continued.

Hopefully the riot will force the authorities to close it down.

10 teens arrested in riot at youth treatment center (Desert News)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

When will the next death happen

The blog "Today a child died" already have more than 100 entries. An entry covers the tragedy of an individual child sent to a residential treatment program.

It can be a wilderness program. It can be a boarding school. It can be a residential treatment center or a juvenile detention center.

In each case the child didn't make it out.

Most deaths were caused by restraints. A number of employees jumps the child officially to stop the child from hurting another child or the child itself. The child is crushed to death slowly. Sometimes it takes more than 15 minutes to die. What goes through the mind of the child while every breath means one more step towards death is not to explain.

Other deaths are caused by heath, malnutrition, cold and infections. It is often something which occur in wilderness programs. Reality television shows like Brat Camp made this kind of therapy look safe. It is far from the case. Even trained wilderness people lose their lives from time to time. The nature can be non-forgiving. A small mistake can mean the difference between life and death.

Then there are children who dies from illnesses which could have been treated easily in hospitals. The problem is that the employees believe that the child tries to manipulate them. Often there also is a cost issue because many programs exist to make profit so they hire employees who even didn't graduate high school. They may hire nurses and doctors to drop by. But how should it be possible for poorly educated employees and hired medical staff to evaluate children regarding illness without the resources of a hospital.

Last but not least there are cases where the children should have been on suicide watch and they were left on their own.

Facilities like Liahona Academy in Virgin, Utah, Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane, Utah are among those who have lost children in their care. They continue to operate like nothing happened.

That is why it is important for both parents but also the extended family to research the treatment options considered. Educational consultants, local sheriff departments, local departments of social services often looks more at referreal fees and local jobs than security of the children in treatment.

The advocates of a child cannot be economically dependent of the facilities and programs. There is a need for federal oversight and federal rules. A number of states have forbidden a number of treatment programs but we are still waiting for federal rules.

"Today a child died" is sadly only one out of several blogs covering this area. More and more countries join the sad statitics having a need for such a blog. You can find links for a number of countries on the blog.

Today a child died
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