The Warning Signs
If you are considering as facility, have concerns about your child who is in a facility, or would like to explore other options, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The facility is not licensed.
- Verbal and/or written communication between the child and his parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. is
prohibited, restricted, or monitored on any level.
- The facility requires that the parents and/or child sign a form releasing the program of liability in the
event of injury to the child.
- The program requests/demands/recommends that they have legal custody of children.
- The program requires that children live in foster or "host" homes instead of allowing them to reside with
- The child and parent are forbidden from discussing the daily happenings at the facility. Often this policy is
- The child is denied access to a telephone.
- Phone calls between children and parents are monitored.
- The program uses confrontational therapy.
- Parents must fulfill requirements of the facility before being permitted to visit their own children.
- The facility is located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
- Children are restrained or otherwise physically prevented from leaving the facility.
- The staff includes former students/clients of the facility.
- Staff members claim that self-injury or cutting/carving on ones body is normal behavior for a child in
- Parents are not allowed to remain with their child during the entire intake/entry process.
- The program inflicts physical punishments on children such as exercising for extended periods of time,
bizarre cleaning rituals (ie scrubbing floors with a toothbrush) or food restrictions.
- The program uses humiliation to "break them down."
- The program forces children to remain in solitary confinement/isolation/time-out for an unspecified amount
- The facility considers homosexuality to be a behavioral problem.
- The facility claims to be able to "treat" homosexuality.
- Reading materials are prohibited or severely limited.
- The facility does not have a clearly visible sign outside the building or descriptions of their location are
- The facility claims to modify behavior, yet has no licensed therapists on staff.
- A licensed doctor or registered nurse is not present at any time during normal operating hours.
- Current clients/students participate in the intake/entry process.
- Staff members offer to help parents obtain a court order forcing the child into, or keeping the child in, the
- Children are observed while bathing, dressing, or using the toilet on any level of the program.
- The facility claims to treat drug abuse, but does not conduct a drug screen prior to entry.
- The facility does not allow children to follow their religion of choice.
- Staff members must "approve" family members, siblings, friends, or employment.
- Children are not afforded an education in accordance with state requirements.
- Medication is recommended, prescribed, approved, or dispensed by anyone other than a medical doctor.
- Children are denied medications that have been prescribed by an MD.
- Staff members, admissions personnel, referrers, etc. make statements indicating that "your child will die
without" the program.
- Children escort/supervise other children.
- Children have to "earn" the "right" to speak during group/therapy sessions.
- Children are denied outside activities on any level/phase.
- Staff members must approve the withdrawal of children from the facility.
- The facility expects total and unquestioned support of parents.
- Children on any level/phase are forbidden to speak to other children in the facility.