Sex Abuse in Rehab? How Predators Can Take Advantage of Addicts Seeking Help
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4. Be aware that any program that cuts your child off from you and the outside world, that sees its charges as liars and manipulators and that believes “toughness” is essential is basically a case of abuse waiting to happen. Establishing boundaries and clear rules without dehumanizing or humiliating people is possible. But doing so requires professionalism, critical thinking, oversight, checks and balances—none of which the con artists who run “tough love” programs have in stock when parents come running. This fact sheet from the Federal Trade Commission specifically for parents of troubled teens gives very helpful background information on the licensing, accreditation and other regulatory requirements that separate legit youth rehabs from the other kind.
Maia Szalavitz is a columnist at The Fix. She is also a health reporter at Time magazine online, and co-author, with Bruce Perry, of Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential—and Endangered (Morrow, 2010), and author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead, 2006).