Boot Camp Problems Aired at Hearing

Oct 10, 2007 5:22pm

Residential programs for troubled teens are loosely regulated and plagued by untrained staff and reckless or negligent operating practices, a government investigator told Congress today. "In some cases, the [camp's] medical officer was also running the kitchen, and when you looked behind the medical officer, they had no medical training, they weren’t a licensed anything," Government Accountability Office investigator Greg Kutz told a House panel chaired by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. In testimony, GAO investigators say they found case after case of abuse and death. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Blotter Tough Love Teen Camps: Lots of Tough, Little Love Photos Inside Tough Love Teen Camps Good Morning America Video Boot Camp: Tough Love or Abuse? Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. One teen was left to die in the road by counselors who thought he was faking his symptoms. Another teen, 16-year-old Aaron Bacon, lost almost 30 pounds in 20 days before he died at a camp in Utah of an undiagnosed perforated ulcer. His father, Bob, was also a witness at today’s hearing, along with two other parents who lost their children in the programs. The families’ stories were profiled earlier on ABC News. An industry spokesperson who also testified said that parents need to have the option of residential programs for troubled teens, but that the industry welcomes regulations.
"We have made mistakes in the past; we recognize that," said Jan Moss, president of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP). Rep. Miller, who requested the GAO study, took Moss to task. "There is some duty of care here," he said, noting that abuse and negligence that had gone on at teen residential programs for years. "I think that you are missing that." This post has been updated. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus