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Any good RTCs or therapeutic schools out there?

I have seen multiple mentions of a 'good programs out there' in many threads. However, no programs mentioned. Please post any positive recommendation.
Our son currently in wilderness and can not come home. I know that for sure because we tried that a year ago and we also tried a college prep boarding school. Both backfired to the point that he had to go back to the wilderness program (his 1st experience there was extremely helpful).
Please share any knowledge about safe and positive programs you know.

Thank you,
Desparate Parent

Re: Any good RTCs or therapeutic schools out there?

Dear "Desperate Parent",

Thank you for posting to our message board.

We advise against sending children away because it is never in the best interest of the child to do so. We recommend you bring your son home immediately and not make excuses for why that is not possible.

a. Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation. It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment. For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at Or, see: which includes in part: "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."

b. Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive. Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights. Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)." (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)

c. Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children. Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family. Source:

d. Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful. Best source on this currently is:

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments. Sources: and

Please bring your son home and seek local family-centered solutions.


Angela Smith
HEAL Coordinator

Re: Any good RTCs or therapeutic schools out there?

Dear Angela,
Perhaps you did not understand my question. I was not asking for your opinion on the programs overall but wanted to get other parents recommendations for any good programs out there. Seems like the reason that there are none at this forum is because you attack anybody who disagrees with your 'party line'. Seems ironic for a freedom fighter, don't you think? Oh, well, not the first time in history... There was a country once that pronounced that their major focus is fight for freedom of its people (Soviet Union). I was misfortunate to be on of those people. We were all free to talk about anything that agreed with government policies, but if you dare disagree... Luckily even though you have the same approach as that communist government, you don't have the same power.
I have no doubt that there terrible and abusive programs out there and bringing the light to that is desperately needed and honorable thing. At the same time I am sure there are good and safe ones. I have a great experience with Elements wilderness, my son said that he was grateful to them for all they taught him in spite of a hardship of being in wilderness and following rules. I also saw my son almost die at home due to drugs he used, and I was completely powerless to protect him because of his complete disobedience.

Re: Any good RTCs or therapeutic schools out there?

Dear "Terrified Parent",

I'm sorry you felt "attacked" by a message that simply explained that institutionalizing children is illegal, unethical, and a form of abuse. That's all true and supported by the facts.

I believe you are not legitimately seeking assistance or feedback and are trying to find support for your own awful choices in regards to your family with your post.

Instead of looking at the facts and being reasonable, you react emotionally and made demands on others that owe you nothing. This is clearly an attitude that has caused problems in your family and something you should get mental help to address instead of scapegoating your son and sending him to a modern day orphan asylum.

The number of children placed in residential treatment centers (or RTCs)1 is growing exponentially.2 These modern-day orphanages now house over 50,000 children nationwide.3 Children are packed off to RTCs, often sent by officials whom they have never met and who have probably never spoken to their parents, teachers or social workers.4 Once placed, these kids may have no meaningful contact with their families or friends for up to two years.5 And, despite many
documented cases of physical and sexual abuse and neglect, monitoring is inadequate to ensure that children are safe, healthy and receiving proper services in RTCs.6 Source:

You are privately making your child an orphan by doing this. If you want to destroy your relationship with your child and end up in an abusive residential nursing home when you are elderly, by all means keep this up.

But, I think based on your response claiming sharing information and facts equate to an "attack" show that you are not a legitimate parent with a legitimate inquiry, but, a troll seeking to create drama on a forum that is run by a victim's rights organization. Go troll somewhere else.


Angela Smith
HEAL Coordinator

Re: Any good RTCs or therapeutic schools out there?

Dear Vita Droutman PhD,

Isn't it interesting that a psychologist who should be or claims to be an expert in human behavior can't even raise and love their own child at home?

Isn't it interesting that you as a shill for the troubled teen industry are posting on a victim's rights board with your attacks and nonsense while promoting the notion of a "good program" when such doesn't exist and you of all people should know how devastating institutionalization is to individuals.

Basically, you experiment on and report back your findings regarding at risk adolescents.

"Research has established that mindfulness
training improves attention and emotion
regulation. A separate line of work on risky
decision making in adolescence has identified
increased emotional reactivity as a key
cause of risk taking during this period. We
hypothesize that since mindfulness training
can decrease or help regulate emotional reactivity,
its practice may lead to reduced risk
taking by adolescents. The present study
examined the effect of short mindfulness
practice on risk taking in older adolescents."

Source: Vita Droutman, PhD

"Social Exclusion Leads to Reduced Risk Taking: by Vita Droutman This work examines the effect of social exclusion on risky decision-making and explores neural components responsible for this effect. It suggest that social exclusion leads to less risk taking and that activation of the insular cortex may mediate between social deprivation and risk preference."


You are a behaviorist who cares more about control than human rights. You experiment on youth and support social deprivation which is psychologically harmful. Someone with your credentials and associations doesn't require any assistance from HEAL and that just proves we are right. You are a troll and not welcome to post on our forum. If you continue to do so, you do so at your own risk. This is an unmoderated forum and you may receive attention you do not like from those not as professional as myself.


Angela Smith
HEAL Coordinator