The Silver Lining in the Bad Economy!

In Institutional Child Abuse on March 6, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Darrington Academy is the latest one (“troubled teen” program) to bite the proverbial dust!!!

Story from the News Observer

Darrington closes doors

Monday, March 2, 2009 4:01 PM CST
Darrington Academy, a private school for troubled teens in Blue Ridge, closed its doors Friday, a move that owner and headmaster Richard Darrington says is due to the current state of the economy.

Darrington said the income from the number of parents who could pay the school’s tuition no longer covered the school’s fixed costs. He said enrollment at the school had declined from 180 students two years ago to fewer than 90 now, and “at that point it became no longer possible to keep the doors open and the kids safe.”

The closing comes as a joint investigation of certain activities at the school is under way by the Fannin County Department of Family and Children Services, the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department and state regulatory officials.

Sheriff’s Department Investigator Diane Davis said the investigation has been under way for approximately three weeks, and was launched when she was contacted by DFCS officials in reference to reports they had received.

As part of that investigation, a search warrant was served on the school Feb. 13 where video surveillance cameras, computers and numerous files were confiscated.

Davis also said that as part of the investigation approximately 120 interviews were conducted of students and school staff with the assistance of DFCS investigators from surrounding counties.

Davis declined to release any particulars of the investigation as it is still in progress.

Although Darrington said the school’s closure was unrelated to the investigation, he said that the school had stopped accepting new enrollments after the investigation was launched, “exacerbating an already existing financial situation.

“We’re cooperating fully,” Darrington said of the investigation.

“I just want to see it resolved as soon as possible,” Darrington said.


Four Escape From The Judge Rotenberg Center

In Institutional Child Abuse, Judge Rotenberg, programs on February 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm



  SATURDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2009 Last modified: Saturday, February 21, 2009 2:03 AM EST 

Four escape from Rotenberg Center


REHOBOTH – Four residents of a Judge Rotenberg Educational Center facility escaped Thursday night and stole a car, before being apprehended a short time later in Raynham.

The Rotenberg Center is a special needs school based in Canton.

A staff member from the Rotenberg residence at 225 County St. alerted police about 9:30 p.m. that the young men, ranging in age from 18 to 20, were missing and requested assistance, Police Chief Stephen Enos reported.

Rehoboth police conducted a search of the area for an hour with the assistance of Dighton police and a Massachusetts State Police K-9 unit.

Police then received a 911 call about four young men seen on New Street, but the individuals left the area in a white van before police officers arrived.

Dighton, Taunton and Raynham police were notified, and within minutes Taunton police located the van, chased it into Raynham, where the van was stopped, and apprehended the men.

House Education Committee Approves Legislation to Stop Child Abuse in Teen Residential Programs

In Institutional Child Abuse on February 21, 2009 at 4:43 am

House Education Committee Approves Legislation to Stop Child Abuse in Teen Residential Programs

Bill Would Help Ensure Parents Have Information They Need to Keep their Children Safe

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House Education and Labor Committee approved legislation to protect teenagers attending residential treatment programs, including therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps, wilderness programs and behavior modification facilities, from physical, mental, and sexual abuse and increase transparency to help parents make safe choices for their children.
Investigations conducted by the Government Accountability Office during the 110th Congress uncovered thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990’s at teen residential programs. Currently, these programs are governed only by a weak patchwork of state and federal standards. A separate GAO report, also conducted last year at the committee’s request, found major gaps in the licensing and oversight of residential programs – some of which are not covered by any state licensing standards at all.

GAO concluded that without adequate oversight “the well-being and civil rights of youth in some facilities will remain at risk.”

State reported data to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2005 found that 34 states reported 1503 incidents of youth maltreatment by residential facility staff.  Of the states surveyed by GAO, 28 reported at least one youth fatality in a residential facility in 2006. GAO concluded both of these statistics understate the incidents of maltreatment and death.

The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009 (H.R. 911) would establish minimum standards for preventing child abuse and neglect at teen residential programs. It would require states to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of reports of abuse and neglect at covered programs, require investigations of such programs and require the HHS to issue civil penalties against programs that violate the new standards. The bill also calls for states, within three years, to take on the role of setting and enforcing standards for both private and public youth residential programs.  

“Today, we are taking an important, common-sense step toward finally ending this culture of abuse and neglect that has put thousands of teens in jeopardy,” said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the Committee, and one of the bill’s authors. “Parents deserve every assurance that their child will be safe when attending a residential program intended to help them build a better life.”

“I am pleased to see that we are moving one step closer to making residential treatment facilities safer and better regulated,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), the chairwoman of the Healthy Families and Communities subcommittee.  “Hopefully, as a result of the Committee’s actions today, we will be able to move forward with the necessary reforms to end the deceptive marketing practices and patterns of abuse that have already impacted so many families and make residential treatment facilities safer places for children to get the help they need.”

In addition, the legislation would also ensure that parents have the information needed to make safe choices for their children about teen residential programs.

Among other things, H.R. 911 would create a toll-free national hotline for individuals to report cases of abuse and a website with information about substantiated cases of abuse at residential programs. The bill would require programs to provide children with adequate food, water, medical care, and rest. And to prevent deceptive marketing practices and create transparency to help parents make safe choices for their children, it would require, among other things, that programs inform parents of their staff members’ qualifications, roles, and responsibilities.

The House passed similar legislation last June by a bipartisan vote of 318 to 103, with the support of the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, American Bar Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, Easter Seals, Mental Health America, the National Child Abuse Coalition and many other organizations.

For more information on this legislation, click here.

For more information on the committee’s past hearings on these abuses, at which GAO released its reports, click here.

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