Friday, February 8, 2013

What's Missing? Common Sense...

by Angela Smith, HEAL HQ

If a friend or family member approached you looking for a babysitter or childcare service and you provided information showing multiple allegations of abuse, sexual abuse, deprivation, and other serious violations of public trust in the form of public records including police reports and lawsuits, you would likely expect your friend or family member to choose a different service provider. 

But, what do you do when your friend or family member makes excuses for the history of allegations and abuse?  Excuses may include supporting the claims of individuals who engage in deceptive marketing practices and have a history of fraud and dishonesty.  For example, they may claim that the abuses are a thing of the past and that they believe the provider when the provider claims to have made changes without requiring any evidence of said changes.

Additional excuses rest more on the desire of the friend or family member to abandon their adult/parental responsibilities and leave the job to strangers who promise that no contact will be made between parent and child until the parent and child are both ready.  And, readiness is determined by submission to a gulag environment.

Thousands of families in the United States choose abusive and fraudulent service providers for their children every year.  Many of them know of the questionable history of these facilities and due to their own delusions and desires choose to ignore serious warning signs for the sake of their own convenience.

It is difficult to imagine a parent subjecting their child to a service provider with a serious history of negligence, fraud, and/or abuse.  But, it happens all too often because people believe the hype on daytime talk shows that receive benefits from these frauds to promote their fraudulent and abusive facilities.  Parents find pop culture recommendations more influential than the truth because it supports their desire for convenience.

Children with behavioral issues are typically the result of poor parenting.  Parents can choose to accept their own responsibility and work with their children and their community to achieve a satisfying home environment.  But, that often sounds like too much work and it is much easier to scapegoat a child (or multiple children in some cases) then to face reality and take responsibility for the situation at hand.

If a friend or family member approaches you with the stupid idea of sending their child away to such a program, what do you do? 

First, try to make them see reason by educating them on the facts.  This may include sharing with them the 2007 and 2008 Congressional Hearings (see or (includes snippets from the hearings as embedded youtube videos)), news articles, lawsuits, police reports, and/or websites run by victims of these programs. 

If that doesn't work, offer to take the child in temporarily and see if you can help resolve the family issues.  If you are unable to do this, find a friend or family member who is willing and ask the parents involved if they would consider such an option.  It is far less damaging to the child and to the family to keep them in their communities with people who know and care about them.

If they won't consider this as an option and the subject youth is qualified by age or situation for emancipation, discuss this as an option.  If the difficulty is that a young adult is trying to grow up to fast at 16 or 17, maybe let them.  Be a support, but, if they really believe they are ready for adulthood, give it to them.  This doesn't mean to abandon them.  It means to give them the trust they seek by allowing them the responsibilities and rights of an emancipated minor.  If the youth is not ready for this when this option becomes available, then present him/her with the family's expectations/rules and let them know the options are to respect and adhere to the rules/expectations or face emancipation or institutionalization.  Let them know that the choices are their own and that it is up to the young adult what happens next. 

Sending a child out of State to what may or may not be a cult compound masquerading as a treatment center is not an acceptable solution to any family's problem.  And, it all too often has tragic results.

Please feel free to contact HEAL at if you need any assistance.