Friday, June 1, 2012

Diamond Ranch Academy - Teen Help Programs

Stressed out about your at-risk teen?
As a parent advocate I am always receiving emails and phone calls on a variety of schools and programs from parents and students that have first hand experiences.

My personal experiences are with Carolina Springs Academy that is now closed, however was under the WWASPS umbrella that still has programs operating in the United States such as Cross Creek, Red River Academy, Horizon Academy and most recently I am hearing about River View located in La Verkin, Utah.

Diamond Ranch Academy, sadly, though I don't have first hand experiences, I am receiving more negative feedback about them.

This week I receive another negative call.  Usually after 3 complaints, that run similar, I raise a red flag.  They asked me to listen to Bipolar Nation Radio. It reminds me of the days when we were fighting against WWASPS - and I can hear the frustrations and the pain in the mother and know the pain the parents are going through when you feel your hands are tied and no one understands that you are your child's advocate.

Though I am not against youth transports that are "licensed and insured" - I am against people that are labeled "kidnappers" or are simply just thugs picking up kids in an inhumane way.  As a parent that had a troubled teen, I know the feeling of being at my wit's end and unfortunately some parents will get sucked into some of this slick marketing - and I am someone that says - stop, listen to your gut - and do your homework!  Learn from my mistakes - gain from my knowledge.

I am also not against quality residential therapy - programs that instill positive and nurturing environments to help build a teen back up to make better decisions.   I am against punitive and primitive programs as well as Wilderness programs that are simply band-aids that will fall off and cost parents a small fortune.

This radio show starts out like a legal dispute about custody battle - but continues more into the teen help industry.  It is very much like what I went through years ago when we went up against the industry giant (at the time) WWASPS.

I wish they had more people on the show that gave firsthand experiences of Diamond Ranch Academy.  The one disturbing discussion was the death of a boy at Diamond Ranch Academy that a parent believes was due to negligence. The discussion is more detailed on the radio show on March 18, 2012.

Fortunately - I have personally spoken with a parent that had a daughter there for 6 month and told me of her horrible experiences.  I won't speak for a third party - but I feel that with story and others that I have heard within the past year - it gives me reservations about this particular program.

Another red flag that was for me in this radio show was when the parent stated it was 10 weeks before they could speak with their child?  I believe that it is too long.  Of course that is my opinion.  I usually tell parents 21-30 days is the normal cooling off period.  Again, I will share, I don't have first hand experiences with Diamond Ranch Academy.

For me, I know there are many excellent programs in our country.  I am not of the mindset that all programs are bad.  This type of information only solidifies that parents need to take their time and do their due diligence before selecting a program.

This is one of the reasons I created Parents Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) - with helpful hints to guide parents through the big business of teen help.

I don't own, operate or manage any schools or programs - I help educate parents on researching schools and programs.  I also have no connection with Diamond Ranch Academy - - however it seems they are marketing very similar to WWASPS - and that alone scares me.  However that is only my opinion.

I just caution all parents to do your homework - take your time - this is a major financial and emotional decision.  I firmly believe you can't ignore getting your teen help, but take trust your gut.

The moral of this Blog is - if you are considering Diamond Ranch Academy or any program - just be sure you are doing your homework.  Don't ignore getting your teen the help they need, just be sure you are getting them safe and quality help.