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903. New Alternatives Home

New Alternatives Home was 2 group homes located in California. One was located on Victoria Place in Costa Mesa and another in Orange. At the Costa Mesa place a psychiatrist named Burnell Gordon Forgey had been hired to work with a boy. Little known to the public he had opened his home for James Lee Crummel who later ended up on the death row before he committed suicide. Forgey had also worked for the CEDU chain of boarding schools where researchers now link the disappearance of several boys to this couple having access to the campuses.

In relationship with New Alternatives Home the authorities charged Forgey for having lured a 16 year old boy, he worked with to the home and drugged the boy. Taking advantage of the boys helpless state, they performed various sexual acts with their victim. Both were arrested and charged with various crimes.

The full extend of the pairs crimes were never fully exposed due to the advanced age of Forqey and the suicide of Crummel but being the victims of such crimes cannot be fun as a teenager.

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902. Asheville Academy for Girls

Asheville Academy for Girls is located on 126 Camp Elliot Rd, Black Mountain, North Carolina. This address used to house Stone Mountain School run back then by Aspen Education Group. The campus was shared with Solstice East.

The target group is younger teenager girls aged below 15 at enrollment.

Some testimonies on Google state what kind of environment the girls are placed in:

If you are reading this, and you are having trouble with your daughter, I just want to let you know that, what your daughter is going through is not forever and while it may be difficult and you are unsure what to do as a parent, the best thing you truly can do is be there for your kid and not expect some program to try and fix your child’s problems. As a young adult woman now.. the problems I faced as a 12-13 year old girl surpassed as I got older and I got through the cruel phases of puberty that all women go through in their lives.

It’s been roughly 5 years since I attended this therapeutic school program. I was sent here in continuation from another treatment center as a way to slowly integrate into a normal school system. This school is set in a beautiful environment, the house where Solstice and AAG was in was very nice and whilst being there, it was going under remodeling so I can only imagine what it is like now.

The biggest problem with this program I can share is, the lack of understanding between the staff and the students. The program was set in a level system where you can earn privileges as you increased in rank. You proceed in your rank by taking accountability, showing respect, leadership, progressing in therapy, and doing assignments, etc. I got to the 3rd highest rank within the program. In this program I felt trapped and I felt very lost. Music was and is my life but for the majority of my time there, my music listening was restricted to 30 minutes per weekend. Staff also put restrictions as to what the students can and cant listen to or read so being my 13 year old self, this only caused me to rebel and look for ways to sneak in my books, and my cds. Music regardless of genre and style or content, is extremely helpful in therapy and I was quite baffled as to how that was considered a privilege? It was the hardest thing about attending AAG. AAG put a new wave of defiance in me with all of the restrictions they put upon the students. No student is one and the same, what one girl may find helpful, maybe different for another. Therapy is personal.

The actual therapy wasn’t very good, I couldn’t relate with my therapist at all and I found that my therapist often rarely worked with me. I would have to send requests but even then, she wouldn’t acknowledge them sometimes. I did Ptsd based therapy but I wasn’t even sure that was the problem, the main problem was that I had no liberty and the only way I could escape or free myself from this institution was look to books and religion. I’d also work with a doctor who would prescribe me medication without my fathers discretion. I can’t even remember all the different kinds of pills they put me on, now today my digestion is messed up from it all, young girls from the ages of 10-14 shouldn’t be taking 60 mgs of prozac or prescribed 20mg of ritalin. Its terrible for their health and any reasonable adult should know that this stuff is not good for developing bodies. I had no say, it was a “doctor knows best” deal, and most typically doctor dont always know best.

I found myself more depressed in AAG than I was before in my everyday life . I was suicidal, I missed my father, and more importantly I felt so disassociated with reality, reality isn’t accountability groups and “I feel statements”, reality is knowing your situation, and learning to make a mistake and take that mistake and learn from it. This school should’ve preached love instead of making these poor girls feel bad about themselves in front of their parents. What those girls wanted was someone to understand them through this confusing and difficult time, and all we truly had was each other. Sisterhood is very real in this place, I am still friends with the girls I met 6 years ago at AAG. They have all grown to be great strong young women.

This isn’t trying to hurt the school, this is just some of the things I experienced while I was here. For some it might be a good fit, but for me, it really was a nightmare.

Madeline McKenzie

*to clarify, this is about my experience with AAG, not solstice* My own PTSD regarding my traumatizing experience at this school years ago, has kept me from doing anything as simple as writing this review, in terms of speaking out. Somehow years later, I’m still so fearful of this place that I am afraid to speak out against it, and tell my story. But they don’t have any control over me anymore, they cannot punish me for writing an honest review.

In my and many other’s opinion, this school manipulates parents. Both in getting them to send their kids here, and getting them to stay. If you say anything negative about the school to your parents, they tell them that you are not “accepting” of the fact that you are here, and they make you stay longer. In the years following my stay here, my parents have recognized the many manipulation tactics they used, and have apologized to me for falling for them. Even if you have toured the school, and have had students tell you they are fine and dandy….. trust me. I was one of the students they paraded around during tours. I felt trapped into assuring parents that this school was safe, and was helping me. I feel guilty about that to this day, but I was emotionally trapped and had no choice (at 14 years old).

I witnessed a number of restraints that didn’t need to happen, people being taken to “the basement” for hours or even DAYS, with nothing to do except sit and get even more upset, as punishment. I witnessed a certain therapist scream at a student who was suffering, and the same therapist made fun of me while I was disassociating.

And while we are talking about staff, there were at least two staff members who worked at the school when i went there who, now that I am older, i believe may have been acting inappropriately towards students. in what exact capacity I’m not sure, but personally I know of one former staff member who would tell me and other students about her sex life in order to get us to do our chores, etc.

We were also forced to read “impact letters” from our parents, which stated explicitly why we were sent there, to a large group of other preteens. We could not skip words, and often had peers reading over your shoulder to make sure you weren’t leaving anything out. What purpose it served to be forced to read your parents words in front of the other girls, aside from shame and humiliation, I have no clue. Aside from my own impact letter, it was so uncomfortable for me to have to listen to other girls’ reading theirs, knowing how traumatizing it was. It was also just terribly awkward.

I have many other stories to tell, and I will one day. If anyone in charge this school is reading this, just know that I understand that some of you are well meaning. i get that. But in my opinion, at least a couple of years ago, you are/were not doing it right. This is not the nurturing environment you advertise it to be.

To use the words you so loved to throw in my face when I was there… me choosing to write this review, and in the future, tell my story, is my version of “advocation” and “authenticity”. I WILL advocate for the bettering of institutions like yours, as well as for the people who have been hurt by them. And I WILL be authentic, and eventually, unafraid, in honestly talking about my time here, in hopes to raise awareness and to help myself heal.

anonymous reviewer

It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.


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895. Riverside Academy

Riverside Academy in Wichita, Kansas is now closed. People who passed the building like in the 2010’s could read graffiti with the wording:

  • “Burn this place.”
  • “Youth were abused here … systematically.”
  • “This is a bad place.”

Taking into account that the facility was run by Sequel Youth & Family Services which is a for-profit company which have been the center of a attention by authorities in several states, the statements could very well be true. We can see reports of children running away from the facility before it closed.

It could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.

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894. Presbyterian Children’s Village

Now called “TheVillage” so it does not pop up on Search engines when people look for awful incidents in the past, the facility was involved in placing a child in an abusive foster home, had to fire a teacher for sleeping with one of the children and had to involve the police when a fight took place on campus.

It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager. In fact one of the person who were placed there as a child wrote on Reddit.

Hi. I just found this subreddit. As a teenager, I spent a year a Presbyterian Children’s Village (PCV) because I was a sad kid in an abusive home with no where else to go. I have a lot of mixed feelings about my experience there. It has created some trauma of its own that I’ve found hard to process. Here are my experiences.

Sometimes I feel like I’m being petty because my experiences aren’t as bad as they could have been. I had a lot of trauma going into PCV, but I was always treated as if I was crazy and my trauma was not real. This really messed me up. I got singled out a lot in groups by the house Staff as having a good home life, despite the fact that I was there because my parents couldn’t care for me. None of my personal information was ever private. The house staff would share everything with the other kids in the house. Having no privacy had a big impact, because kids will use that against you. I think the house staff knew that too. Theft was also a big issue. And it wasn’t just the other kids. The staff would often steal from me. Everything I owned got stolen at some point. I also had a really hard time at night time. Kids would jump you in the middle of the night and the staff didn’t really care. It’s taken me a long time to process this experience. It was supposed to be therapeutic, but at the end it created more issues for me. It was an environment where nobody believed me and where I was always a liar. I was always presumed to be bad and if something happened, it didn’t matter because I was a throwaway kid.We were all treated as throwaways. I felt like the general feeling was that we weren’t going to be anything. It was like they were preparing us to be criminals and nothing more. That’s always stuck with me and caused me a lot of pain.

Neville1989

Let us hope that they clear their act up.

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892. Fulton

Fulton is a three-masted schooner built in 1914 and also the name of a behavior modification program established in 1970 by Mogens Frohn Nielsen. The purpose was to change the behavior of at-risk teenage boys by letting them work at sea.

Unfortunately corporal punishment was used and this had been outlawed some years before leading the the firing of Nielsen in 1987. The program was slightly changed and continued under new management until it went bankrupted in 2013. Today the ship is still sailing run by another foundation.

It could not have been fun to be there as a teenager exposed to beatings and other forms of corporal punishment.

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891. Ocean Life

In 2008 newspapers in both Spain and Denmark reported about an arrest of a Danish captain who commandeered a ship with troubled youth. The reason of the arrest was abandoning a teenager on the island of Islote de Lobos. Marooning is an ancient form of punishment which had not been used in recent decades. The Island while not having any permanent inhabitants were guarded by some officials and by pure luck the boy was picked out. He was not dressed to a life on his own.

The Spanish authorities were shocked by the discovery and arrested the Dane responsible for the act.

In Denmark an inquest was conducted by protected by the social services who had referred the boys to the program but nothing happened as it properly would have embarrassed the case workers who referred the children to the program for not investigating properly what the public funds was use for.

It could not have been fun to be there when they use punishments like this.

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888. Ridge View Youth Services center

Ridge View Youth Services Center was under contract with the Colorado Department of Human Services to take in minors who were coming from more restricted facilities. Investigation and supervision over some years showed that the facility was not run in a perfect way.

Reports showed multiple reports of abuse and neglect, including marijuana smuggled into the center and an inappropriate relationship between a teenage boy and a female staff member.

It the authorities decided to close the facility down which sounded like a good idea. But the way they conducted the shutdown resulted in chaos and 4 minors escaped the facility and made the choice of a life on the streets.

It was not a fun place to be as a teenager when it was open and the shutdown became no walk in the park either.

Sources:

Colorado hires private investigators to find teens who went missing when the state abruptly closed a youth center (The Colorado Sun)

Ridge View Youth Services Center Closes After Concerns Over ‘Repeated Licensing Violations’ (CBS 4 Denver)

Colorado shuts down youth center in Watkins after allegations of drugs, fights and improper restraints of kids (The Colorado Sun)

881. Meadowlark Academy (II)

This facility is located near Cheyenne in Wyoming. It is not to be confused with the academy of same name in Kansas. It is owned by an organization named “Rite of Passage”.

The structure of this program is not known. It seems that it very much functions as a group home instead of a full-blown behavior modification program with levels and isolation.

In 2021 there was a high profiled escape attempt. An employee was also arrested on charges of felony Child Abuse. It cannot be a fun place to be as a teenager.

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875. Expanding Horizons Family Services Inc.

Expanding Horizons Family Services Inc. ran the group home where the 15-year-old David Roman was stabbed to death by a 14-year-old boy. Such tragedies make it seem like money were saved which should have been used on supervision of the children at the group home.

There were just too few employees around the boys and the profit gained by running the facility with fewer employees can hardly be justified when the price is the death of a boy.

It cannot be fun to be at this group home as a teenager.

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874. Xyolhemeylh aka Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society

Xyolhemeylh aka Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society was only provide a mother her sons clothes and few personal properties when she came to the group home where he was placed. The reason for that was that her son had died. The authorities were quick to have him cremated so an autopsy was not possible.

Later journalists after som investigation were able to connect other deaths with this firm who cashes in from the tax-payers money.

However, all the money and research did not help 17-year-old Traevon Chalifoux-Desjarlais. He remains dead and his relatives must live with the grief for the rest of their lives.

When nothing seems to be investigated properly when a child dies, it is safe to say that it cannot be fun to be there as a teenager.

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