A testimony from a Cascade and Heritage Survivor

Cascade School closed many years ago. It used the methods invented by CEDU based on learning from the Synanon Cult. Heritage School still exist. Sources:
60. Cascade School (1000 places You don’t want to be as a teenager)

Ellen at Solstice Residential Treatment Center

This testimony was found on Google. All rights goes to the original author Ellen

Throughout my time at Solstice, I had Jeff as a therapist. He insisted that I did not have an eating disorder despite my existing diagnosis and my intrusive thoughts pertaining to my body weight/shape/size, exercise, and food intake. Prior to admitting to Solstice I did not have compulsive exercise tendencies because I was too depressed and simply used restriction as my disordered behavior. By the end of my time at Solstice, exercising no matter my mood felt necessary and easy to do. Once I left, I was consumed by my eating disorder worse than ever before, including both my old new behaviors. In the last months of the program I had begun to lose some of the weight that I would then lose before getting back into treatment (this time for eating disorders). I had only stopped engaging in most of my behaviors while I was there because I was desperate to leave the program and return home. This of course eased up as I reached the highest levels of the program, and the behaviors started returning. I would throw away food on Fridays, not eat dinner after horsemanship, sneakily count calories, push myself harder in my workouts, and more. It was second nature for me, and I had gotten back to it with no one noticing. I wouldn’t stop unless someone stopped me. With these behaviors came suicidal thoughts, so I decided to confess to Jeff. He had me continue with applying for my final level because he felt I should leave anyway. For what reason, I am unsure. I had been there for over a year and didn’t have anything left to gain, so I didn’t fight it. I went up in front of the treatment team, and when Jamie asked me if I was engaging in behaviors, I said yes. Jeff said to me in response, “Well weekly weights were done yesterday, and if you’re trying to lose weight you’re not doing a very good job.” When I went home shortly after, my mother and the scale confirmed that that had been wrong. I don’t know his motivation for saying that, but it was mortifying to hear in front of the whole room of people and especially because my eating disorder was louder than it had been for a while. Since leaving Solstice over three years ago, I have been in and out of eating disorder treatment at Monte Nido, only spending at most 3 months in a row in outpatient treatment. It has been nearly impossible, and I have lost significant amounts of weight over that time. None of the tens of therapists who I have had since Jeff have even doubted for a second that Anorexia Nervosa is my main diagnosis.

  • – The length of stay for a residential program should NEVER be so set in stone and should be flexible for each individual.
  • – The message given to parents to ignore their children, regardless of diagnosis, upon request to be pulled or sent home.
  • – The disregard for requests in switching therapists, ~50% of the success in therapy is found to be a result of a good match with patient and clinician.
  • – The harsh consequence based organization of the program, including children deciding the consequences and levels of other children (safety council), being forcefully silenced and punished if not done correctly (com-block), and so much more.
  • – The requirement (for most) to engage in exercise in a rigid manner despite clinical diagnosis that should suggest otherwise.

There are more things that I believe were wrong with the way that things were run, however I believe that those are more opinion based as opposed to based in true clinical negligence. I do understand that for some people, especially those with defiance disorders or tendencies, Solstice could be productive. The strict policies and follow-through with consequences can teach a different set of behaviors leaning towards respecting authority. However, for many, including myself, it should be indicated to prospective parents that this treatment is not for everyone. The parents should be informed of all treatment approaches used, and about the logic for length of stay for their individual child.

Early 2021 two teenage girls ran from the facility. They were not dressed for the winter. We pray that they can be brought back to California where they came from.


Turn-about Ranch testimony

I was 16 when I was sent to Turn About Ranch. Everything Danielle said is true. (Please prepare for trigger post) Different students obviously experienced different things. But here is a quick breakdown, of what I and other students experienced. (Many other experiences are not listed due to lack of space, and fear of triggering)

  1. A student was locked in a portable bathroom (port-a-potty) for HOURS because he tried to escape 2-3 times. He also fought a staff member for a knife but then took off. They didn’t chase him. You can’t escape, so when he came back, they kept him locked up, in the hot Utah desert heat, while he screamed for his life. A big truck came and picked him up and we never saw him again. He had used up all his “chances” I guess, and they told us he would be sent to a different program.
  2. You couldn’t say the word “like” As dumb as that sounds, imagine HOW MANY TIMES a day, you use this word. Imagine being punished for it even if you used it correctly. I get they wanted teens to stop saying it so much, but they went too far.
  3. They forced a girl to eat meat. She was raised vegan, and chose to be vegan; her whole family was vegan. Basically they let her starve until she ate it, which then she threw up everywhere. She was forced to eat meat the rest of the program, to which she suffered symptoms.
  4. A kid got kicked in the face (in the eye) by a calf and it got infected because they refused proper medical care.
  5. I fell 20 ft off a hay truck because the staff member at the time not only let us stack the bales too high, but let us ride on top of the stack. So when the truck took off and it toppled over, all of us fell, and I landed on my head. I got up, puked.The girls around me told me it was a concussion. When we arrived back at the barn I was dizzy. The staff told me to lay down. Sleep even. They really didn’t care. It was the girls in the program with me that stayed by my side (going against the rules) and making sure I was alright.
  6. My therapist constantly talked about inappropriate things with me. Wanting to know very uncomfortable subjects and information about me. He forced me to tell my father I was bi, and I was not prepared to tell him, if tell him at all. Needless to say it didn’t go well, and I was punished for the encounter with my dad.
  7. Staff members have harassed me and my TAR friends on social media after we already left the program.

There’s so much more I want to say. I feel compelled to speak out. I don’t want sympathy. I want to share my experiences to shed more light on this. And watching Dr. Phil deny his involvement with TAR is beyond aggravating. I know 3 girls he sent to Turn About. I remember their stories as well.

The testimony above was found on Reddit. Here is a link (Source)

My time in Muncie Reception & Diagnostic Center

This testimony was located on Reddit (link)

A friend of mine showed me this sub recently and since I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened to me in 2000. I wanted to share my story.

I was 16 and my best friend and I attended a birthday party where the cops showed up and we were arrested for underage drinking. We were sent home with our parents (no actual jail time) and given court dates. My court date was first and I was put on parental supervision house arrest (no ankle bracelet) I was allowed only to attend school and do my community service hours, and I was put on probation for 6 months. A term of the probation was that I was not allowed to speak to or associate with anyone else who was on probation. When my friend had her court date they asked if she knew what my punishment was. She said yes and they asked how she knew and she said because I had told her.

That evening my mother received a phone call from my probation officer saying that I needed to return to court the next day as I was in violation of probation for communicating with my friend. Technically this could not have been a violation as my friend wasn’t on probation when I spoke to her, only I was. Her probation didn’t actually start until her court date. But this did not matter to the judge.

When we showed up to the courthouse I had no idea I wouldn’t be going back home that day. I was told that I was going to be sent to a juvenile facility for at least 28 days, that there would be a hearing then to decide if I could be released back to my mother or if they would extend my stay in the facility.

I was sent to MRDC (Muncie Reception and Diagnostic Center) in Muncie, Indiana. It was a privately run, “hands on”, bootcamp style kiddie jail that has since been permanently closed. It was a nightmare. I have never experienced such a cruel and petty group of adults in my life as the staff of this place. From the moment I was brought in I was humiliated, lied about and abused.

I was 16 and a troubled kid, I guess. I had issues with depression and self harm. At the time I had blue and green dyed hair, facial piercings and several self inflicted cuts on my chest. During the intake process I was stripped naked and made to cover myself in a gallon jug of Lysol. The woman guard directing this activity approached me with a gloved hand and forcefully rubbed the chemicals into my wounds on my chest to “make sure they were clean”. She then told the other guards that the cuts on my body were part of a gang initiation, that I was a gang member and that my boyfriend was a drug dealer and that I had been arrested for being involved in gang related drug trade. None of this was true. I didn’t know anyone who was associated with gang activity and dont think I even had a boyfriend. I’m unclear to this day why she felt the need to spread these lies about me to her fellow staff members but I spent my time there being referred to as “drug dealer”, “blood”, “crip”, etc. I was ridiculed and made fun of constantly and was not ever allowed to respond or correct them.

The first night there is a bit of a blur. I was given a uniform and a handbook of the rules. I was told never to speak unless spoken to, never to look anyone in the eyes, never to speak to or look at the other inmates in my dorm and to do what I was told at all times. The days consisted of shower time, breakfast, physical exercise, school time, lunch, school time, physical exercise, dinner and bed. Any time in between you were only allowed to read your rule book or stare directly forward without meeting anyone’s eyeline.

The first incident of me getting in trouble was in the school room. They were doing a math lesson of some sort, worksheets I think. My pencil tip broke and I raised my hand to ask if I could sharpen it. Without thinking I raised the hand that had the pencil in it and before I could speak a guard charged my desk and slammed my face into it. She said I had tried to stab her and that I’d be going to isolation.

My first time in isolation lasted a few hours and they didn’t take my clothes. It was cold but not unbearably so. I was just put in a small cement cell with a toilet and a security camera. I was given a piece of bread with peanut butter on it at some point and then they sent me back to the dorm room to read the rules and go to bed.

The next day came the second incident. During the physical training exercises I was placed in the front of the dorm, I couldn’t see the other girls behind me. The woman in charge told us to do “monkey humpers”. I had never heard of this exercise and I couldn’t see anyone else to copy their movements, so with great anxiety I raised my hand to ask what I was supposed to do. After a little verbal abuse and humiliation, she asked one of the other inmate girls to demonstrate the exercise for me once. She did and then the woman guard had everyone watch as I attempted it. I tried three times and kept falling over. I got stressed out and started to cry the third time. The woman got down in my face and screamed something like, “I don’t want to hear your fucking sob stories, drug dealer!” I broke down a screamed back “I never told you any sob stories, maam!” And that was it. I was dragged into the hallway by my hair and slammed against the wall. I was cuffed and brought back to isolation.

This time I was stripped naked and this time the heat in the isolation wing was either broken or purposefully turned off, I’m not sure. It was the end of December, just before Christmas and was snowing outside when I’d arrived. I asked the guards if I could keep my underwear and pad because I was on my period and was refused and told just to “sit on the toilet all night if I didn’t want to bleed on myself”. I did. I was freezing cold and mentally stretched to my limit. There were moments I felt like I was starting to mildly hallucinate, like seeing the stains on the walls and floors start to move and undulate. I wasn’t well. I faked a seizure to try to get the nursing staff to help me. The nurse who arrived laughed at me and told me not to call again unless I was dead.

All evening and night I sat naked on the toilet and cried. Every hour or so, male guards would open the eye slit on the door to check on me, usually followed by some sort of disgusting or cruel remark and laughter. I was a naked child being ogled and made fun of.

Around 5 or six that morning something good happened. A man opened the door. He was the first person to address me by name and look in my eyes. He brought me a blanket, panties and a pad. And he informed me that due to my mom and my therapist hounding the judge and probation officers, it had been decided that my new hearing would be the next day. My case would be heard but it was very possible I would be returning to the facility. He knew I hadn’t slept since I’d been sitting on the toilet for 16 hours and said I should try to curl up on the ground and sleep for a bit before they came to take me to court. I did.

A few hours later two different men came back. They had brought the clothes I had been wearing when I came in and another piece of peanut butter bread, an apple and a carton of milk. I was instructed to dress, eat and wait for them to come back. I was never allowed a shower or to brush my teeth or hair.

When they returned they brought my winter coat and told me to put it on. They then cuffed me and zipped the coat all the way up over my chin and nose. I was put in a transport van for the two hour ride back to my hometown. The smell started to hit. I couldn’t understand what I was smelling, I just knew it was bad and it was inescapable. The jacket didn’t feel wet as I can remember, but I noticed the seams in the puffy quilting looked dirty like something was crusted on them. It took me a while to process it. Someone must have urinated on my coat around the time I was initially stripped in intake, then let it dry while my clothes were in storage there.

I went to the hearing knowing it was possible I’d be sent back but luckily I wasn’t. The Hendricks county courthouse has several stories, each level with a round center balcony looking down into a courtyard. I had figured if they tried to send me back I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I would just jump over and hope to get hurt enough to end up in a hospital instead. (I heard a few years back that a kid did end up doing just that and died).

It took a few weeks before I was normal. I still said ma’am and sir and couldn’t look at anyone in the eyes for a while. Spoke very seldom. I felt like a robot zombie. Once my mom got the whole story out of me she was furious and decided to sue MRDC. My lawyer was able to obtain all the security footage from the isolation cell and I still have them in a drawer somewhere. I’ve never watched them. We settled out of court for a certain dollar amount (that was the one stipulation we agreed to, that I was never allowed to publicly disclose the exact figure, but I can say that after the lawyer took half, it wasn’t very much money).

My mom wanted to go to Dateline or 20/20 with the story but I didn’t really want to. I just wanted to move on. The good thing is that the amount that was paid came out of MRDC’s pocket, if I remember correctly, there was some sort of lapse in their insurance and they had to pay me out-of -pocket. That was something at least. The place stayed open for years beyond my stay there and Judge Bowles continued sending kid after underserving kid there. After seeing the documentary CASH FOR KIDS, it occurred to me that that was probably the kind of scam he had going. Not sure when it happened, but I looked up MRDC this week and it says it’s been permanently closed.

If anyone reading made it this far, thanks for your time. I’m sure tons of people in this group have had more heinous experiences. But this one was enough for me. Scared me straight, I suppose, but didn’t do any favors for my mental health.

Jada L at Village Behavioral Health Treatment Center

I arrived at The Village 7/30/20 and was pulled 8/25/20 (Yesterday).

This place is TERRIBLE. There is no form of punishment. There is a HUGE smoking problem within the cabins, I complained about it every chance that I got so now the staff smoke pits are supposedly getting removed. My favorite staff quit within a month of working there. The breaking point for her was seeing a very inappropriate restraint on a child.

A car was stolen from staff by 3 thirteen year old girls and crashed 20 minutes away into the fence of a Waffle House in an apparent escape attempt. Maybe four days after that, another staffs car window was broken with a rock for a pack of cigarettes. There’s fighting between patients constantly. I also had a problem with my therapist using very manipulative techniques to gain information she would have already obtained if she didn’t use her phone to answer messages during sessions.

I am a high school graduate and was given a class by my teacher who said I needed to do the work. She claimed she was in touch with my probation officer who would punish me if I didn’t complete work that didn’t count as a grade for anything outside of there.

I was a very active and verbal communicator. I worked to get things changed in order for future patients to feel safe and mentally healthy in the environment. There were a few incidents with sexual activity between the male and female patients. These are major concerns I feel need to be addressed. There was something happening everyday. Windows were kicked out of cabins, the school, and even busted out of campus vehicles. I’ve asked staff if they would send their child there, every one of them said “No” without hesitation. This place is severely corrupt.

I was told by a Blount County police officer that they have been called out to The Village too many times in the past TEN YEARS! Please do not send a child in need of healing and growth here. Some of my clothes were stolen and when I discharged, staff had other PEERS pack my items for me. I refuse to be in contact with any of the other patients there, despite the fact that they left their information in my bag while packing it. Self harm was also a huge issue. Not a day went by that I was there that I didn’t see some one cut themselves. This set my mindset back, now I am working on what I need with my support group, aka, my family. Explore other options if you can before resorting to The Village.

The original text was found on Google Maps here (link)