Troubled Teen Industry

How We Can End the Cycle of Neglect and Abuse

Rebellious teenagers are not uncommon. However, when their behavior reaches a certain level, parents look for solutions. This has led to a billion-dollar business called the troubled teen industry.

Every year, millions of parents, guardians and even state agencies entrust teens to behavioral modification facilities. These institutions make claims that they can help improve your teen’s behavior. This is not always the case. Parents often do not realize they may be sending their child into months or even years of abuse. Some state agencies may not take the time to fully vet these facilities, putting a further burden on parents and guardians. When this happens, you will need an experienced institutional abuse attorney to help set things right.

At Tommy James Law, our attorney strives to help families caught in the web of these institutions. We understand how these facilities take advantage of your need for help.

What Is the Troubled Teen Industry?

A teenager may be considered “troubled” due to exhibiting disobedience, risky behavior, or even drug and alcohol use. Special facilities across the country offer programs in order to reform this misbehavior. This network of for-profit institutions has earned the title of “Troubled Teen Industry.”

Troubled teen industry facilities often include, but are not limited to:

  • Residential treatment centers
  • Therapeutic boarding schools
  • Emotional growth boarding schools
  • Residential therapy schools
  • Teenage behavior modification programs
  • Teen wilderness programs
  • Juvenile boot camp
  • Behavioral modification programs

Unfortunately, these facilities often do not help the individuals released to their care.

The institutions of this industry have a long history of abuse, both physical and sexual. Teens in their care are often neglected, subjected to inhumane conditions, and forced to submit to abusive caretakers.

What Are the Signs of Institutional Child Abuse?

Parents who have enrolled their child in a residential treatment facility must remain vigilant for signs of abuse. The following indicators could reveal that a staff member or fellow resident is abusing your child.

  • Changes in Behavior – If your child is acting more aggressive, afraid, angry or hyper, he or she may be reaching out for help.
  • Unexplained Injuries – If your child has cuts, bruises or fractures that the facility cannot properly explain, abuse may be a factor.
  • Academic Performance – A drop in grades can also indicate neglect or abuse.
  • Weight Loss – A dramatic change in weight may indicate neglect or the denial of food as behavior modification.
  • Disease – Some forms of abuse can lead to your child contracting illnesses or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Threats of Suicide – This often happens when a child feels there is no way to escape abuse without harming themselves. Take threats of self-harm and suicide very seriously.

If you notice any of these warning signs, approach the management at the facility. They should perform a complete and thorough investigation. If management makes excuses or does not provide you with satisfactory answers, contact an institutional abuse attorney right away. These facilities often have plentiful legal resources and will vigorously fight any accusation of abuse.

How the Troubled Teen Industry Denies Neglect and Abuse

When it comes to abuse and neglect, residential treatment facilities would rather avoid such accusations. They may make policies that can make it difficult for parents and guardians to identify abuse. These policies may include:

  • Limited or no visitation of a child in the program
  • Staff must monitor all visits between you and your child
  • Facility monitors phone calls, emails or other communications between parents/guardians and their child
  • No opportunities for private discussions with your child
  • The facility may warn parents that teens may claim abuse in order to manipulate them
  • No one at the facility calls you if your child suffers an injury, illness or must get medical treatment

Policies such as the ones listed often mask when facility staffers abuse their power. Parents who have children in institutions that have policies such as these should be suspicious.

How Can Our Institutional Abuse Attorney Help Fight the Troubled Teen Industry?

Large companies, hedge funds and other financial institutions have invested interest in residential treatment facilities. These groups want to avoid negative press at all costs. That means you will face an aggressive legal fight when dealing with these facilities.

However, facing these facilities in court sheds a light on the problems in this industry. Better regulation, proper compensation and helping the teens hurt by these facilities is what matters. Together, with an experienced attorney, we can help change the troubled teen industry and help kids all over Alabama and the country.

Do not face these for-profit residential treatment facilities alone. Tommy James Law has experience facing companies in the troubled teen industry. Our current lawsuit against Sequel Youth and Family Services proves how much we all need to stand together. Our firm helps abused teens and their families get the compensation that they deserve. Call (205) 259-7850 to schedule a free consultation today.

How Can You Help Fix the Troubled Teen Industry?

This abusive system often shames teens into silence. These teens may believe that they somehow deserve the negligence and abuse inflicted upon them. However, no teen should have to face the psychological trauma brought on by corporate greed. Breaking Code Silence is an organization fighting to give these abused teens a voice. Paris Hilton began helping the organization after surviving an abusive care center herself. If you want to help fight the Troubled Teen Industry, or if you have a story that needs to get out there, please visit

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