How to Find Help In the Troubled Teen Industry?

If you watched the Netflix docuseries, “The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping,” it can be chilling and disturbing to believe that this type of harm, torture and abuse of kids could happen in the United States — however sadly it did.

The founder of P.U.R.E.™, Sue Scheff, was a major factor in the closure of these horrific programs by taking them to trial in 2004 and exposing their neglect and abuse to children, as well as fraud and deceit to the parents. She was the first one to bring this giant corporation to a jury trial and WIN.

Fortunately for parents today, we have learned so much since the closure of the WWASP (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs) which the Academy of Ivy Ridge was affiliated with. Ivy Ridge was one of nearly 22 programs that WWASP ran that not only enticed (conned) parents with their slick marketing and sales people, they also ran outrageous cult-like seminars that were designed to keep parents busy while “the program” was destroying their child emotionally — and possibly physically. The constant mantra was “trust the program.”

These programs were shut down or closed between 2000-2010, which is over two decades ago for some of them.

Teenage Mental Health


Over half of adolescents today struggle with mental health concerns — the rate of teenage depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide ideation is soaring, with many experts pointing to social media and technology addiction as part of the cause.

It is now a different world from when two decades ago, in 2009-2010 social media began taking off for young people and no one knew the ramifications it would have on their emotional lives.

The teenage mental health crisis is real and parents are at their wit’s end searching for help for their child that has become out-of-control or possibly isolated to their bedroom. Some have stopped going to schoolsmart – but now failing academically, glued to their screens, have zero social skills, the level of defiance is beyond typical teen behavior — as well as the rate of entitlement and lack of respect for authority.

Like it was 20 years ago, there is not a parent out there that wants to send a child to a therapeutic boarding school, however when you have exhausted all your local resources and your teen is spiraling into a very dark place, as a responsible parent — it’s time to search for help.

Qualified Therapeutic Boarding Schools

The troubled teen industry is a big business, no one will argue that. This is why parents need to be educated in teen help terminology. An online search for therapeutic boarding schools yields nearly 5 million results! A quick online search for schools for troubled teens and it’s well over 14 million choices!

There will always be bad apples in every industry, but when searching for a qualified therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center for your troubled teen, it must be done carefully and cautiously.

Do your due diligence and homework, researchingstaying clear of these slick marketing arms, fancy websites and sales people (placement specialists) that tell you everything you want to hear, yet not what your child really needs — is crucial. This is a major emotional and financial decision for the entire family, you must take your time to learn more about it — choosing the right therapeutic setting can help get your teenager on the right path back to a healthy and happy life.

Teen Transport

Hearing about young people being kidnapped is downright scary — especially in a world of human trafficking. Thankfully assisted teen admissions (transport) have professionals that safely and compassionately help parents take one of the first difficult steps into their teen’s recovery.

It’s imperative to hire a licensed and insured professional to transport your teen from your home to their therapeutic boarding school — a team that has excellent references, and will stay in touch with you from start to finish.

Again, this is not an easy decision and (like two decades ago) there is not a parent today that would imagine doing this, however as you start your research you will find there are qualified professionals today — that not only have excellent references, but are still friendly with the teens they transported. YES – they are still in communication with the families and the teenagers. They form a bond with their clients — this is not kidnapping.

The Program

The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping told the story that is all too similar to the founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.™) — and is the reason why this website was created, to help educate parents to find safe and qualified resources for their good teens making bad choices — and not to fall prey to these vultures. As a matter of fact, in episode 3 of this docuseries on Netflix, they used video depostion snippets of the founder (Robert Lichfield) and director (Ken Kay) that were obtained from the litigation between WWASP and P.U.R.E.™/Sue Scheff — which P.U.R.E.™/Scheff won.

Sue Scheff’s (founder of P.U.R.E.™) daughter was at Carolina Springs Academy, which was a sister program to Ivy Ridge — “the program” featured in the docuseries. Scheff is too familiar with the abuse, neglect and harm that her daughter endured — as well as the insane cult-like seminars she had attended. Thankfully it’s decades ago and the fact that this website has helped thousands of families find safe alternatives (including her own family) makes the horrific journey worth it.

It was her lawsuit in 2004-2006 that was the slow demise of the WWASP corporation.

If you are considering therapeutic boarding school for your teenager, there are safe options in this country, don’t allow fearmongering from 10-20 years ago prevent you from getting your family help. Do your homework — you are your child’s advocate.

Also read:

How to Analzye Bad Press for Teen Help Programs

Why Therapeutic Boarding Schools Work When Therapy Fails

What is the Success Rate of Therapeutic Schools?

Help Your Teens With

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Many parents are at their wit’s end with the challenges of raising teenagers. If you are considering residential therapy, contact us for a free consultation.

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