A stay at New Leaf Academy in Oregon


I wanted to share my experience at NLA since it was a bit different than what I am seeing and I was more recently at New Leaf Academy Oregon. I was at NLA for about a year and a half. The two people who now own NLA are a very kind couple that really care about the emotional growth of the students. They no longer have the clan or stages system that was there before and now they have a system that helps each girl have their own individualized program. Girls can earn privileges depending on how well they are doing with themselves and others, rather thank how long they have been a student there. The usual consequences (LOs) last for 30 minutes. Most of the time the girls must do physical work like simple cleaning, but sometime they will have to do a written assignment. While doing LOs girls may not communicate with one another and can only ask the staff questions that have to do with the LO given to them. The girls may sing while they work, as long as it is not too loud (I found that very helpful and made the time go by much faster). I ended up having about 10 pages of LOs by the time I completed the program, each page had about 20-30 LOs on it. It was very frustrating to receive LOs at times because you could get them for very pathetic reasons like sleeping on top of your comforter, getting out of bed a minute after when we’re supposed to be up, going in your room without permission, and a very popular one was “not following the morning routine” I never did find out what that meant.

Hours of work were the same sort of think except you got them for bigger reasons like not taking out your rabbit enough times and rough housing. Where as grounding lasted for a week, maybe less, and it wasn’t that bad. All that happens while your grounded is you miss watching the TV show and have to do My Time instead, you can’t go to store or ask for privileges in treatment, and you have to do an hour and a half of physical work (i.e. Cleaning) and another half hour of written work on Saturday and another hour of physical work on Sunday while other girls are at store.

I was put on many spot restrictions which were very frustrating. While on most spot restrictions (hot tub deck, downstairs, admin, café, table, etc) I was not allowed to speak to other student. I felt isolated and very depressed. They would put you on spot restrictions for things like self harm, arguing with a staff, and procrastinating on working on assignments. I felt upset because I could hang out with my friends and I was constantly getting in trouble while I was on the table for things like being late to Last Light when I couldn’t even get up from the spot with adult permission. It was especially frustrating when I was on my café restriction because I would stand there raising my hand for about 10-20 minutes wanting to go to bed until another student would finally tell a staff member that I was trying to ask a question. I was unnoticed most of the time and other student pitied me.

Peer restrictions were also a set back. It felt like every time I got close to somebody, the staff would restrict us because they didn’t want me to have any friends. I noticed not only in my relationships, but in others as well that when good friends would get restricted they would turn on one another and star to hate each other. That made it hard because then one girl wouldn’t want to get off of restriction, while the other one would.

Although there were a lot of negatives about the school there were a lot more positives. PE was fun and it really helped student get into shape. School was taught in a simple way while most students were learning atleast one level above the grade they were actually in. The food was usually really good and we got served proper portions, and before Soccer games we got loaded on carbs. We went on many trips including going to Washington DC, visiting the Oregon Coast, quest (a seven day backpacking trip that is super fun), white water rafting, therapeutic retreat, etc. I personally had so much fun on the trips that I did go on and each time I went it was a completely different experience. Cook and Clean-Up was my personal favorite part about being a student there. Cook lasted for 30 minutes and Clean-Up usually lasted around 15-45 minutes depending on what we are and who was on Clean-Up that week. Both were very fun to do. We would sing, dance, and listen to music as well as get the occasional special treats from the cooks. It definitely didn’t feel like labor.

Each students experince is different and I happened to have one that was both good and bad. NLA is definitely not as bad as it used to be. Anyone who went to NLA NC might remember a staff member named Amber Wyatt (I don’t know if I spelled her last name correctly). She now works as the Program Director at NLA OR and she said that things are much better and completely different now. I really enjoyed my experince overall. I hope I was helpful for anyone curious about what NLA is like now.


Alexandra B. at the Timberlawn Mental Health System

A former patient – Alexandra B. – wrote about her stay at Timberlawn

WILL COME OUT WORSE THAN THEY WENT IN! Thank goodness he was only there for one day!!!

I am a fifteen year old girl who was admitted there at eleven, and ended up being taken out by my parents nearly four days out. Now, yes I am a kid, I was young when I was admitted, but I was also very observant in the ways they “Helped” us children. They did such a good job in fact, I still have nightmares about the amazing service and therapy.

On my first night I was in the waiting area for over six hours after being told that I had to be admitted by my PHP psychiatrist after having psychosis telling me to commit suicide, so not only being scared to death I had to sit inside a very scary waiting room that resembles a haunted house you see in horror movies, I was evaluated and admitted at about nine in the evening. I was not fed even after not eating dinner and immediately sent to a bed with only a thin scratchy blanket and a pillow that may or may not have felt like it was stuffed with balled up newspaper. I was woken up at three am to be asked about how I was feeling.

The next morning I was woken by a scary male nurse and told that I had to strip and be check for bruises by said MALE nurse. And after being humiliated and given some used sweats too big for me because my jeans had metal on them (A zipper and metal button) I was led to a small eating table and given old hash browns and cold bacon-shaped strips of food. I had therapy with some other lovely children, one young man who proceeded to tell everyone how he lit an annoying neighbors dog on fire because it was barking at him and one girl who was told Juvie or this a few other children too, so after a day of lousy therapy games and coloring I got meds and went to sleep only to be woken up and loaded onto a bus to the teenage boys and girls unit (Not separated) Be wise there wasn’t enough children to keep it open.

Next morning, were allowed to go outside, sort of, and I see a boy punch another boy four times right in front of the nurses before being pulled off when another kid notices. Hours later we’re coloring and a kid starts yelling at one kid for stealing his crayon and breaking it in two. The yelling child is pushed onto the floor and pinned down as a female nurse injects him with a strange unknown medication. This is getting too long… So a few hours and one chair throwing incident later, the kid who was injected with the stuff was sitting and a few female nurses tell him to come over to him, only to watch him stumble and trip a few times while laughing at him, they tell him they didn’t need him and to hi sit down again. A few more freak outs, a kid throwing a chair at me for trying to help him pick up colored pencils, nurses making fun of my ratted hair, and a Popsicle later, I was ushered to bed and continuously frightened as the teenagers poke their heads into my room, laugh and walk off over and over again I was traumatized. A few more days pass and I’ve been scratched by one kid, yelled at by a nurse for crying after one kid being ushere doff to the quiet room for having a violent outburst, made fun of by more nurses, and given instructions on how to break into a car before I am checked out of the hospital by my parents after telling them everything during visiting hour.


The original testimony

Feedback related to Eagle Ranch Academy in Utah

This feedback was found on the website Merchant circle.

I could only go as far down as 1 star. Review system won’t let me go any lower.

This facility’s “educational consultant” told a parent she would look into OTHER places, NOT just ERA. Lied. Never did. Deceived parent into signing rights away. So that ERA alone, in its sole discretion, can say who the child will return to once they are done brainwashing.

Even if David and Paul come form a good family doing good things, they are NOT professionally trained to handle psychologically challenged kids.

Staff says they do NOT take psych cases-another lie- only behavioral issues. They LIE, LIE, LIE, LIE and sell a bill of goods!


A mothers review of Timberlawn Mental Health System

A mother going by the name Missy P. write about her daughters stay at the facility

First off, my 14 year old daughter is an amazing kid! She is very smart, responsible, mature and dependable. No behavioral problems at all, but she has always suffered and struggled with bad anxiety and daily panic attacks. I have had her in therapy for years now, but her condition hasn’t improved. I began looking for some more intensive care for her and thought an inpatient program, where the doctors could witness her panic attacks for themselves, might be a good fit. She and I were then sent Timberlawn by Children’s Hospital.

Upon arrival, the front office in the white house was very scary. I had concerns, but was assured by the receptionist that the adolescent facility was nothing like the front office. We waited for nine and a half hours for my daughter be admitted. Once admitted, I was happy to see that the adolescent unit was in a different building. I got her signed in and settled. The following day, I went for visitation and had a traumatizing experience. The others girls (patients) were running around screaming, banging on walls, fighting, cops were there, there were run aways, and a couple of girls were shouting death threats to my daughter and another girl there. I pulled my daughter aside to speak with her privately. She told me how poorly she was being treated by the staff and some of the others patients. She had to ask repeatedly for her medications and was experiencing withdrawal symptoms before she finally received them. Another girl had slipped her a note telling how she was going to sneak into her room that night and kill her. There were pentegrams drawn on her bedroom walls and bed. There was a lesbian making sexual comments to her about what she wanted to do to her. She told me the staff turned on rap music that wasn’t even edited and was singing along to it with some of the patients. She said there were two group sessions that day, but that nothing was accomplished, due to fights and outburst from the other patients. During the day, they all sat in the main room and watched tv. My daughter said the girls all watched the show “Criminal Minds” nonstop! Wow just can’t imagine that being a healthy show for this group of girls. There was not constant supervision like I had been promised. My daughter had three trips to the cafeteria while she was there. She said each time, the boys beat on the windows and walls and yelled at them the whole time they ate. The place was miserably cold, and they are all given only one thin blanket. My daughter was woken up repeated throughout the night with an LED flashlight being shined in her face, even though she has reported sleeping difficulties. The staff was terribly disorganized and they were not the caring influence I thought I was signing my child up for. This place was a nightmare. I wanted a calm, peaceful, healthy environment for my anxiety ridden daughter to receive the treatment she needed. Instead, I am afraid my daughter is going to having lasting trauma from this experience. Timberlawn is NOT the place for kids who genuinely need help with mental issues. The only people I witnesses there were criminals and girls with severe behavoral issues. If you have a child who is a bully and you are trying to teach them a lesson, or if you have a child you are trying to scare straight and don’t mind them possibly being abused or attacked, then this place might work for your family. If your child truly needs some help with mental or emotional struggles, STAY AWAY!!!!!

I signed my daughter out after that first night! Of course they threatened the 24 hour hold on her and refused to let me take her home. I was forced to wait hours until the doctor agreed to release her. Please beware of this place. I will never be the same after this experience of fearing for my child’s safety and being forced to leave her there, knowing she could be attacked and was not being cared for.

The original testimony on citysearch.com

Testimony about Eagle Ranch Academy

A former resident going under the name Truth483685726587 provided this testimony about a stay at Eagle Ranch Academy:

This place works by breaking your child down until he/she literally believes they are NOTHING. once they are so traumatized and stripped of any feelings of self worth, ERA build them back up again and molds them however they want to.

For some.. the outcome is probably better than the alternative but the tactics and way in which they do it is WRONG. there are better option and safer ways. NO child should be denied phonically to their parents. Jails don’t even do that! no child should be forced to carry around backpacks full of sand for weeks at a time. NO child should be denied the right to use the bathroom. This place is a mess and the techniques they use are dangerous. I’m happy it worked for some but parents PLEASE seek alternative options before sending your kids here. PLEASE.. IT was the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I’ve had major set backs because of it. T

hey accept everyone so if your kid is just smoking pot or getting in trouble at school he could be bunking up with a gang member or meth addict. Its all about the money with these people. IF you have it, they’ll take it and make sure you keep your kid there to get “help”.


Wilderness program escape – a question of life and death

We have seen at two different cases where teenagers ran from their wilderness program. It happens more than the newspaper coverage let it seem like.

Parents need to take into consideration that the banishment to the wilderness programs often is involuntary. That means that there is a huge risk of escape. Parents next need to understand that teenagers don’t plan as adults. They have no knowledge of how even the slightest injury can lead to death.

In 1999 a girl escaped the Redcliff Ascent wilderness program.


Jude’s testimony about Eagle Ranch Acdemy

A former student named Jude provided this testimony about Eagle Ranch Academy

I was forced into ERA 3 years ago and it still effects me to this day. I honestly don’t know how this place hasn’t been shut down yet. I thought for sure someone would of spoken up by now. I will never forget some of the traumatic events that occured while i was at ERA and it is safe to say the program DOES NOT work. Parents–please don’t waist you’re money. These people are psychos, they took from me 8 months of my life i can never take back…

I would not wish this place on my worst enemies, never mind my own children. Please, if you are a parent thinking on sending your child here, I have a first hand perspective.. it doesn’t work. save your money.