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ERIC Number: ED498641
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct-10
Pages: 38
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Residential Treatment Programs: Concerns Regarding Abuse and Death in Certain Programs for Troubled Youth. Testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives. GAO-08-146T
Kutz, Gregory D.; O'Connell, Andy
Government Accountability Office
Residential treatment programs provide a range of services, including drug and alcohol treatment, confidence building, military-style discipline, and psychological counseling for troubled boys and girls with a variety of addiction, behavioral, and emotional problems. This testimony concerns programs across the country referring to themselves as wilderness therapy programs, boot camps, and academies, among other names. Many cite positive outcomes associated with specific types of residential treatment. There are also allegations regarding the abuse and death of youth enrolled in residential treatment programs. Given concerns about these allegations, particularly in reference to private programs, the Committee asked the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to: (1) verify whether allegations of abuse and death at residential treatment programs are widespread; and (2) examine the facts and circumstances surrounding selected closed cases where a teenager died while enrolled in a private program.To achieve these objectives, GAO conducted numerous interviews and examined documents from closed cases dating as far back as 1990, including police reports, autopsy reports, and state agency oversight reviews and investigations. GAO did not attempt to evaluate the benefits of residential treatment programs or verify the facts regarding the thousands of allegations it reviewed. Ten closed cases from private programs were selected to examine in greater detail. Specifically, these cases were focused on the death of a teenager in a private residential treatment program that occurred between 1990 and 2004. GAO found significant evidence of ineffective management in most of these ten cases, with many examples of how program leaders neglected the needs of program participants and staff. Three factors played a significant role in most of the deaths examined: untrained staff, inadequate nourishment, and reckless or negligent operating practices. (Contains 4 figures, 1 table, and 8 footnotes.) [This report was produced by the United States Government Accountability Office, formerly known as the General Accounting Office.]
US Government Accountability Office. 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; Web site: http://www.gao/gov
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.