Resources to help families in this critical time
(SOUTH FLORIDA)—In 2000, a teenager at a residential treatment center was locked-up in an isolation box for 17 hours with no windows, heat or air conditioning because she had tried to help a girl who was having a seizure. Later, that same teenager got food poisoning and was rushed to the ER (unbeknownst to her mother) because sewage had contaminated the food she was eating and sunk into the carpet of the living areas.
These are just some of the experiences that Sue Scheff’s daughter, Ashlyn, experienced while enrolled in a residential treatment program, supposed to be helping her cope with emotional and behavioral problems while building up her self-esteem. Furious about how Ashlyn had been treated, Scheff posted her experiences online about the program and was promptly sued for libel. Scheff won by a long shot.
Now parents can read Scheff’s story and learn from her mistakes in Wit’s End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your OUT-OF-CONTROL TEEN (HCI Books, July 2008). The book is the result of her years of effort to educate parents and provide them with the proper resources to care for their own difficult teen.
“I was desperate to find good help for my daughter, but this program ended up making things worse,” says Scheff. “My book provides positive, prescriptive help for families who want to put their children on the road to a safe, healthy adulthood. It is imperative parents do their homework and Wit’s End can offer a convenient outline to get them started.”
Parents doing their homework becomes even more important in light of a 2007 study released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office which uncovered thousands of allegations of abuse, some of which involved death, at residential treatment programs across the country and in American-owned and American-operated facilities abroad between the years 1990 and 2007.
For parents who need one-on-one guidance, Scheff founded Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.), an advocacy group that not only researches residential treatment centers and other teen help programs around the world, but helps educate parents to choose which facilities are best suited to match their child’s needs.
Sue Scheff is a parent advocate and the founder of Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc. She has been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts, including: 20/20, The Rachel Ray Show, ABC News, CBC News: Sunday Morning, CNN Headline News, Fox News, BBC Talk Radio, National Public Radio and The New York Times.