Help save the children from abusive homes and schooling, bring the people who control this before the courts to face the punishment they so much deserve.


Radio show exposing the horrors of the ‘troubled teen’ industry, Thurs 12/29, 7 -10pm ET

Mark Levine of Inside Scoop is hosting another coast-to-coast radio show to give survivors of abusive teen residential facilities the opportunity to speak out! You can listen live on, and it will be permanently housed here:, and it will be permanently housed here:

Call in #’s:
888-488-MARK (6275)
888-6LESLIE (653-7543)
They will also be posted on his website at the time of the show.

Please spread the word!

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Teen Boot Camp Survival Story & Reality Check

I Survived Being Sent, and Then Running Away. Many Have Not

It was just after turning 14, over 15 years ago, when I was awoken early one morning by my mother, soon to see a man standing in the doorway to my bedroom. Living with my single mom and sister this was a very unusual thing to see.

What came next was I was told it was time to go, and I saw my mother had packed a backpack already. I went willingly not having any idea what was to come, or knowing that I would never again see this apartment I called ‘home’.

He brought me to the airport, and we flew to Las Vegas where I was handed off to another man who brought me to a car that had a boy my age in handcuffs in the backseat. He apparently had tried to run away, though clearly they had caught him.

We were brought to a little trailer that appeared to be in the middle of the desert in a town called “St. George”. Once arriving there we were handed hours worth of tests to take that included an IQ test as well as what I believe was a psychiatric evaluation.

Soon after we were blindfolded and driven way out into the desert to join a small group consisting of other, very dirty, kids. It was 54 days later when I eventually graduated and was handed over to my family. During those 54 days I lived on oats, rice, lentils, powdered milk, raisins, sunflower seeds and salty soup cubes. I saw a girl collapse from heat exhaustion. I got to know what it was like to have a period without any sort of pad/tampon or even clean underwear to change into, while being the only female, camper or counselor around. I experienced my contacts with no solution but keeping them instead in my dirty water bottle each night. I experienced a lot more than this, but the important thing is that I survived, and I’m alive today to tell you about it. My experience took place in 1995.

2000 in Bend, OR a boy died while being restrained.

2003 in Utah a boy died of hypothermia, the fifth youth to die in a Utah wilderness therapy program, staff thought he was ‘faking it’.

2005 in Cleveland, GA a boy died after being denied his inhaler because counselors (since fired) didn’t see the need.

2006 in Tallahasse, FL a boy died after being beaten less than two days into his stay at a boot camp.

2006 in Texas a boy died, the fifth since 1988 being restrained in this program which at the time included 19 facilities in 8 states.

2007 in Chad, TN a boy dies from strangulation in a facility that was one of 110 facilities owned by the same company. He was placed in the facility by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.

2009 in Ohio a girl dies during restraint by choking on her own vomit in a Catholic Charities run facility.

If you follow any of those links you will see there are many many more stories like this and I have only selected a few of them here.

After graduating from the boot camp I went to, I was sent to a residential treatment center in Bend, OR that I was told would be me home for a month as a transition to ‘normal’ life. A month went by and I was told it would be 2.5 years. During my month there I saw that it was a scary place to be, that the kids there were brainwashed and taught to behave in a very strange and cult like way. I made the decision to and successfully did run away two months after arriving. I then spent time on the streets, did more drugs than I ever had beforehand, and straightened up before becoming an adult and graduated from a top design university.

It turned out that my instincts about this not being a good place to be were true, when I saw an article that the school was closed after investigations of child abuse, and that a child had, just three years after I left, died (it was ruled a suicide) outside of the facility.

Please don’t send your kids away, find resources closer to home and work with them to resolve whatever is going on. Wraparound programs are evidence based and have a much higher success rate for example. Maia Szalavitz has written an amazing expose about how the industry is tearing apart families and abusing children called “Help at Any Cost" which I also recommend to any parent even considering this as a last resort option.

Cafety -
Wikipedia -
Psychiatric News -


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