Monday, December 30, 2013

Diamond Ranch Academy Residential Treatment Center

The stress parenting combined with Internet confusion.
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 advised their teens were accepted into DRA.

Knowing a bit about these teens, they are all very different, some I would say okay - good fit from the description of the program - others I would definitely question the admissions (not that I am a professional - but I have been working in this industry for over a decade and I do know what I am talking about by now).

I asked one parent who her "sales person" was - and was SHOCKED to find out it was a person that actually used to sell WWASPS programs!  I don't want to use identifying names here - but trust me - I know WWASPS sales people very well - I had a jury trial in Utah and defeated them.

Now I am extremely concerned for any parents considering DRA.  Years earlier they were always considered reputable - why they have stooped to a level of this is beyond me.  I also had a parent share with me there was a second death in September of 2013 that has been kept silent.  I don't know about - but if you are considering this program - you may want to ask and find out about it.


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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

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, secretive
  • Change of appetitie
  • Change of friends, or no friends 
  • Sadness
  • Poor performance in school: grades are dropping
  • Rage, defiance, disrespectfulness
  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches
  • Check their arms, legs, stomach for scarring (cutting)
  • Check their social media sites for writing about death and other dark comments
Learn more from http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

If you are considering a residential treatment center, please contact Parents Universal Resource Experts.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teens and Internet Predators

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

Did you know:
How 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 under the recommended age for these sites, do not let them use them.
  • Young children should not use chat rooms—the dangers are too great. As children get older, direct them towards well-monitored kids' chat rooms. Encourage even your teens to use monitored chat rooms.
  • If your children take part in chat rooms, make sure you know which ones they visit and with whom they talk. Monitor the chat areas yourself to see what kind of conversations take place.
  • Instruct your children to never leave the chat room's public area. Many chat rooms offer private areas where users can have one-on-one chats with other users-chat monitors can't read these conversations. These are often referred to as "whisper" areas.
  • Keep the Internet-connected computer in a common area of the house, never in a child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a predator to establish a relationship with your child if the computer screen is easily visible. Even when the computer is in a public area of your home, sit with your child when they are online.
  • When your children are young, they should share the family email address rather than have their own email accounts. As they get older, you can ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set up a separate email address, but your children's mail can still reside in your account.
  • Tell your children to never respond to instant messaging or emails from strangers. If your children use computers in places outside your supervision-public library, school, or friends' homes-find out what computer safeguards are used.
  • If all precautions fail and your kids do meet an online predator, don't blame them. The offender always bears full responsibility. Take decisive action to stop your child from any further contact with this person.

How can your kids reduce the risk of being victimized?

There are a number of precautions that kids can take, including:
  • Never downloading images from an unknown source-they could be sexually explicit.
  • Using email filters.
  • Telling an adult immediately if anything that happens online makes them feel uncomfortable or frightened.
  • Choosing a gender-neutral screen name that doesn't contain sexually suggestive words or reveal personal information.
  • Never revealing personal information about themselves (including age and gender) or information about their family to anyone online and not filling out online personal profiles. For more specific rules, see How to help your kids use social websites more safely.
  • Stopping any email communication, instant messaging conversations, or chats if anyone starts to ask questions that are too personal or sexually suggestive.
  • Posting the family online agreement near the computer to remind them to protect their privacy on the Internet.

    Source:  Microsoft