Showing posts from 2013

Diamond Ranch Academy Residential Treatment Center

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 -- I have heard it is reopened as Seneca Ranch. WWASPS (Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools) is the umbrella  organization that runs these programs.They also have others in the United States - at last glance there was Red River Academy, LA, Cross Creek, UT, River View, UT, Midwest Academy, IA, and you never know when more will pop-up in different names.

Diamond Ranch Academy, sadly, though I don't have first hand experiences, I am receiving more negative feedback about them.  I wrote about them in June 2012 - and since then it is not getting much better.

After speaking with several parents, that are looking for placement for their struggling teenagers, they encountered the website of Diamond Ranch Academy and were quickly …

Holiday Blues and Teenagers: Risks of Teen Suicide

Holiday blues isn't only about adults, teens can struggling with depression too.

Teen suicide is a very real concern.

Sometimes parents will believe that their behavior is typical teen "stuff", but in reality it their child is deeply hurting.

I fully understand that many parents hesitate wanting to consider residential therapy over the holidays, however you have to think about your child's future.  Once Christmas, one New Year's Eve, one  Easter compared to the rest of their life is worth getting your teen's emotional health back.

Some warning signs:
Withdrawn, secretiveChange of appetitieChange of friends, or no friends SadnessPoor performance in school: grades are droppingRage, defiance, disrespectfulnessFrequent headaches, stomach achesCheck their arms, legs, stomach for scarring (cutting)Check their social media sites for writing about death and other dark comments Learn more from

If you are considering a residen…

Teens and Internet Predators

Would you know if your teen or child was being groomed by an online predator?

Did you know:
More than 500,000 predators are online everydayKids 12 to 15 are susceptible to being groomed and manipulated by offenders onlineFBI stats show that more than 50% of victims of online sexual exploitation are 12-15 years old89 % of all sexual advances towards our children take place in internet chat rooms and through instant messagingIn (27%) of exploitation incidents, predators asked kids for sexual photographs of themselves.4% of kids get “aggressive” sexual solicitations that included attempts to contact the kids offlineHow can you help protect your kids from online threats?
 Communication is key.  Talk to your kids about sexual predators and potential online dangers.Use family safety settings that are built into Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.Follow age limits on social networking websites. Most social networking sites require that users be age 13 and over. If your children are unde…

Seneca Ranch Second Chance Youth Ranch

I was made aware that the program that used to be Carolina Springs Academy, where my daughter was harmed, was just re-opened as Seneca Ranch in Due West, SC.

As a parent advocate, I encourage parents to do their due diligence when researching programs for their teenager. The Internet is full of wonderful websites and toll-free numbers that will sell you many things.

When it comes to your child, learn to separate the Internet fact from the Internet fiction.  There will always be those forums of slander - former institutionalized kids that believed they were wronged by the system - and many still don't have relationships with their family.

Though I feel for them, I also understand that there are many good programs in our country - as well as a handful of not so good ones.  You will never please everyone, however when you have the same repetitive stories over and over - from different kids at different times from different parts of the country, you seem to start believing something …

Teens, Drugs and Online Pharmacies


Teen Drug Abuse: Out of Reach, Medicine Abuse Through the Eyes of a Teen

"Out of Reach" is a special documentary created by a teen filmmaker who captures the issue of teen prescription drug abuse as it exists in his world. The issues contained in the film are a reflection of this issue across the country. It was created in collaboration with director Tucker Capps (of A&E's "Intervention") and The Partnership at's Medicine Abuse Project.

With the holiday's around the corner, it is imperative that parents not only know what is in their medicine cabinets, but also be aware of what their parents (grandparents) have in their homes.  As you visit relatives and friends this holiday season, it can also be an opportunity for your teen/tween to scout out a variety of bathrooms and medicine cabinets.

Be an educated parent - you will have safer and healthier kids.

Learn more from The Medicine Abuse Project.

Teen Help: Age of Consent ~ Can Your Teen Sign Themselves Out of Residential Treatment Programs?

No matter what time of the year it is, dealing with a teenager that is pushing the limits and creating friction in your home can be a stressful time.

Compound that with the holidays approaching and knowing there will be time off from school, can be a bit overwhelming.  Will they get into more trouble or will they be busy with constructive projects?  Maybe get a part-time job?

In most cases, my colleague and I hear from parents that are at their wit's end and realize that if they don't intervene the consequences could be serious.

Holiday time is not always the most opportune time of year, however troubled teenagers don't know when to take vacations.

When parents call us for help in searching for residential therapy, many want to try to keep them as close to home as possible.

There are some concerns we express when we speak with the parent about selecting a program as it pertains to the location:
Convenience is nice, however the priority is what is best for your child's n…

Teen Help During the Holidays: Residential Treatment Centers

A question my colleague and I are frequently asked during this time of the year is, "The holidays are here, should we send our teen into a residential program now or wait until after the holidays are over?"

Parents' Universal Resources Experts has been helping families for over a decade, actually over 12 years now, and the answer hasn't changed.

If you wait for the holidays to be over, you may be risking your teen getting  into further trouble as well as causing more stress and friction during your family holiday season.

As school is out teenagers, if they don't have constructive plans, will sometimes get involved with hanging out in places they shouldn't be with people they shouldn't be with.  Today we are facing a time when many parents are working full-time and it is difficult to monitor our kids 24/7 and nearly impossible to tell them who to pick as their peer group.

We explain to parents, as difficult as it will be missing your child at the holidays,…

Teen Runaway: What Parents Need to Know


Transporting Your Teen to a Therapeutic Boarding School

It is a common question, "how will I get my teen to the program, he is refusing to do anything?"

We help parents with struggling teens that are looking to give them a second opportunity at a bright future -- many times this includes a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school.

Rarely does their teen want to attend these programs.  By the time the parent calls us, their teenager is usually at the point of defiance, maybe experimenting with drugs, alcohol, sneaking out, failing in school, and possibly worse.

Getting help in not in the teenager's immediate plan - they would prefer to "hang" with their new less than desirable peer group.

With this many parents have had to hire transport services.

Don't panic, like with everything on the Internet - you can find the good and the bad online.

I encourage parents to do their due diligence when it comes to selecting your transport just as you did when you selected your program.

How do you know if th…

Residential Therapy: My teen has been in therapy, why is residential therapy different?

Many parents call us all the time with two scenarios.

1)  My teen refuses to go to a therapist or counselor


2)  My teen has been in therapy for years and it hasn't made a difference.  Even has changed therapist several times and nothing changes.

So why will residential treatment make a difference?

Fact is, we don't have a crystal ball but there is definitely a difference.  The one-on-one therapy once a week at home (in a doctor's office) is completely different than being in a therapeutic setting where all your child's activity is geared towards building him up to make better choices and also helping him to reflect on why he was making the negative ones that brought him to where he is now.

Removing your teen from their comfort zone of home and mostly of their peer group can substantially change the way they think and react to situations.  You can finally peel back the layer they have to protect their egos (attitudes) and determine where all this negative behavior w…

Parenting Teenagers: Ways to Avoid Agruing with Your Teen

Parenting teenager's is not easy.

When you’re raising a teenager, your house can feel like a war-zone that’s scattered with potential land mines masquerading as casual questions. Every interaction can feel like it has the potential to blow up in your respective faces, leaving parents wondering what the safest course of action is in terms of avoiding an argument. During the tumultuous teenage years, these are 10 of the most reliable ways to avoid fighting with your child.
Establish Rational Boundaries – During adolescence, your teen is revisiting the same mindset of early toddlerhood that leaves her looking for ways to test boundaries as a means of asserting her independence from you. Making sure that she knows some boundaries cannot be challenged lays a foundation for calm, rational interaction. Just be sure before you make those rules that you understand your teen’s need for a reasonable amount of independence, and avoid overly harsh authoritarian rules that leave n…

Tips to Connect With Your Teenager: Family Time

Studies have shown that teens that have families that get together for meals and other activities are less likely to be involved in risky behavior.

In a world where there never seems to be enough time to get everything done, connecting with your kids and forming real, lasting relationships with them can seem more difficult than ever. There are ways to bolster your connection to your kids and find ways of fostering strong relationships, though, even when time is at a premium. These tips can help you make the most of your relationship with your children, laying the groundwork for an environment of love, close bonds and trust.

Turn Screen Time into Family Time
Instead of retiring to separate rooms at the end of the day to zone out in front of different screens, why not take the chance to turn screen time into family time? Arrange regular family movie nights, get invested in an age-appropriate show that everyone in the family can discuss and bring family game night into the 21st…