This is a  staff list for Anasazi Foundation in Mesa, AZ

(We are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years.)


We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at Anasazi Foundation.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Anasazi Foundation, you have the right to take action. 


If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Anasazi Foundation, please contact if you remember the long-term employees and from which years.  This will help!   Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults. 


Please don’t place your loved one in Anasazi Foundation and rescue them if they are there now.




Additional Information
Larry D. Olsen Founder (retired) One of the founders of so-called "outdoor therapy".  Larry Dean Olsen, a long-time associate of Steve Cartisano, is likely abusive.  Please read:  (On any page, you can click on "edit", "find (on this page)", and enter in a word such as "Anasazi" to find it on the page.)  Olsen is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Ezekiel C. Sanchez Founder BYU graduate.  Sanchez is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Michael J. Merchant President/CEO Mike also serves as chairman of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research.  He has been with Anasazi since 1990. He currently runs and is the founder of The Arbinger Institute and formerly worked for National Payments Network.  His BYU degree is in Business Management and Finance.  Merchant is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Virginia Robinson Admissions Director Virginia is the parent of two "graduates/staff" at the Anasazi program.  She has been with the program since 1988. 
Name: Virginia Robinson

1408 N. Central Ave. Apt # 69
Avondale   AZ  85323
Phone: (623) 932-0581
License(s): License Type License No Status Issued Expires
Certified Professional Counselor CC-10379 Closed - Expired 2/1/2002 1/31/2004

Source:   Robinson is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.

Jared M. Dinehart Clinical Director BYU graduate.  Dinehart joined Anasazi in 2008.  Dinehart is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:  Dinehart reportedly now works for Ironwood Counseling and Psychological Services PLLC in AZ.
(Dr.) David J. Jecmen Psychologist Specializes in "sexual addiction".  He has a partnership practice, Sanctuary: A Healing Place.  Jecmen is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Daniel Parke Therapist/Shadow Formerly worked at youth correction facilities.  (unnamed)  Parke is a licensed clinical social worker and has been since 2006 in Arizona.  Source:
Sandra Priedeman Director of Operations She was formerly a "TrailWalker" before becoming a counselor in 2001.*
Name: Sandra Priedeman
Anasazi Foundation
1424 S. Stapley Dr.
Mesa  AZ  85204
Phone: (480) 892-7403
License(s): License Type License No Status Issued Expires
Licensed Clinical Social Worker LCSW-11675 Closed - Expired 1/1/2005 12/31/2010

Source:   Priedeman is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.

Andrew Belcher Field Director Former "TrailWalker" with the program before becoming a "RidgeWalker".  Belcher is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Nathan Godfrey Logistics Director Also worked at "unnamed" residential treatment center.  Godfrey is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
OTHER Board of Directors Board of Directors:
Lester W.B. Moore, Chairman
Executive Vice President, Bain Capital  (Bain Capital Owns CRC Health (aka Aspen Education GroupMoore is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
D. Paul Smith, Secretary
Chief Financial Officer, Arbinger Institute (Arbinger Institute was founded by CEO of Anasazi, Michael Merchant.)  Smith is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Michael J. Merchant
President/CEO, ANASAZI Foundation  Merchant is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Ezekiel Sanchez
Founder, ANASAZI Foundation Sanchez is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Sterling Tanner
President, Forever Young Foundation Tanner is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:

Advisory Board
Dr. Ina Bendis, M.D. Bendis is not a licensed medical doctor in AZ.  Source:
W. McComb Dunwoody
President, The Inverness Group also Director, Triangle Capital Corporation in Raleigh, NC
Ralph Earle
Founder, Psychological Counseling Services (Specializes in "sexual therapy")  Earle is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in AZ and has been since 1990.  Source:
Gordon Gartner
Chief of Police (Retired), Payson, AZ 
Robert C. Gay
Managing Director, Hunstman Gay Global Capital (Sponsor of Forever Young Foundation founded by Sterling Tanner, also on Anasazi's board of directors)
Wayne Greene
President, Valley Interiors
Bob & Diana Hunt
Hunt Construction Group
Tom Lewis
T.W. Lewis Company
Larry Olsen
Founder (Retired), ANASAZI Foundation Olsen is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Pauline M. Sanchez
Former Director, ANASAZI Foundation Sanchez is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Marc Tahiliani
President/Founder/CEO, Awareness Corporation (An apparent pyramid scheme to sell herbal supplements.)  Tahiliani is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Terry Warner, Ph.D.
Professor, Brigham Young University Founder, Arbinger Institute Warner is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Nathan Olsen
President/CEO, BestNotes Olsen is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Richard & Claudia Hutchings are not licensed mental health professionals in AZ.  Source:
Rich & Krista Haws are not licensed mental health professionals in AZ.  Source:
Dinah Lundell

Random Drifter, Inc.

Jerry Coleman
Managing Director and General Counsel, Alliance Investment Group
Sean Rourke VP Marketing Rourke is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Quynn Taylor Parent Relations Director Formerly worked with The Hyde School in Maine.  Taylor is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Alfred C. Dodini Therapist Dodini has been with program since 2003.  Dodini had his license revoked in 2011 as a result of disciplinary action against him based on a complaint from a family who had enrolled their son at Anasazi.  Click here to read the revocation and complaint information.
Sulay Tuvar Therapist Tuvar is not a licensed mental health professional in Arizona.  Source:
Aimee Thorpe-Rangel Therapist Thorpe-Rangel is a licensed clinical social worker and has been since 2004.  Source:
Nathan Mitchell Therapist He previously worked as a professional film actor.  He also reportedly worked for an unnamed residential program in Utah.  We believe based on our findings that it was likely Discovery Academy, founded by Eugene Thorne (formerly with Provo Canyon School), at which Mitchell worked.  Mitchell is only licensed as an Associate Counselor (not therapist) in AZ and has only held the license since September, 2011.  Source:
Elizabeth Mares Nurse Mares is a licensed registered nurse in AZ and has been since 1986.  Source:
Theresa Mooney Nurse Mooney is not a licensed nurse in AZ.  Source:
David Holladay Education Director Formerly worked for Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS).  Holladay is NOT a licensed educator in Arizona.  Source: e-mail from Arizona Department of Education, Teacher Certification Division.

All segregated congregate care providers, including those on our watch-list, are welcome to contact us to correct any information or provide additional data that may assist with delivering the whole truth to the public.  We've found in many cases where this offer has been abused or resulted in revealing additional basis for our concerns. For some examples see: and  Now, we are willing to look at the facts and may have questions or require documentation backing up any claims.  We do verify licensing, academic backgrounds, and other qualifications when investigating and researching programs on our watch-list to assist consumers seeking additional information on such programs or victims requiring assistance with getting corroborating evidence of their claims.  We do that in order to make sure the information we provide is accurate and verified and cite our sources.  In the event any information we've posted is in error, we're happy to make a correction.  And, for information on how such requests are handled and have been resolved historically, see:

HEAL does not support segregated congregate care for many reasons which include that many such facilities are abusive, exploitative, fraudulent, and lack effective oversight often as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation coupled with the ignorance of those seeking to enroll loved ones in such facilities, programs, schools, or centers without a valid court order and involuntarily.  In the United States such involuntary placements done without a court order are apparently illegal as they either violate the Americans with Disabilities Act community integration requirement or due process rights of those involuntarily placed.  Now, in regards to parents, in the United States parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children.  See for more information.  Now, most facilities on our watch list include waivers, indemnity clauses, and sworn statements parents must sign assuring the program that the parents have the right to make the placement involuntarily and without due process in a segregated congregate care environment, however, California and federal prosecutors as well as settled law appears to suggest that is not the case.  In fact, in the David Taylor case found at, Taylor sued Provo Canyon School and his mother as co-defendants.  His mother was found liable for 75% of the damages awarded to Taylor as a result of multiple complaints including false imprisonment, while the program was found only 25% liable because the mother owed a duty of due diligence to investigate anyone to which she would entrust care of her child and she failed to do so. 

Now, HEAL opposes segregated congregate care and we find most placements are happening illegally in the USA which if the youth understood their rights would result in unfortunate outcomes for the parents, particularly when they don't exercise good judgment and support the fraud and abuse rather than their own children when they need remedy and justice.  And, HEAL supports all victims of fraud and abuse in seeking remedies at law for any crimes or torts committed against them.  And, that's true whether or not the program or victims are in the USA. 

HEAL has a 5 point argument against segregated congregate care we'd like you to consider:

a.  Segregated care is unconstitutional and a civil rights violation.  It is only permissible if a person is unable to survive independent of an institutional environment.  For more on this, watch the HEAL Report at  Or, see:  which includes in part:    "United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.) – On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.  In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent."

b.  Institutionalization is always dehumanizing and coercive.  Institutionalization always harms the institutionalized and deprives them of protected civil rights.  Dr. David Straker, Psychiatry Professor at Columbia University's School of Medicine (Ivy League) explains this in detail at  "Many institutions, from prisons to monasteries to asylums, deliberately want to control and manage their inmates such that they conform and do not cause problems. Even in less harsh environments, many of the institutionalization methods may be found, albeit in more moderated form (although the psychological effect can be equally devastating)."  (See website linked in this paragraph for more info.)

c.  Institutionalization is not in the best interest of children.  Institutions are not ever better for a child than living with a loving family.  Source:       

d.  Reform schools, residential treatment programs, and other segregated congregate care settings have been shown to be ineffective and harmful.  Best source on this currently is:

e. Boarding Schools, even the "good ones", result in a form of social death, isolation, and cause both anxiety and depression.  Therefore, it is clearly not in the best interest of the youth subjected to those environments.  Sources: and

Beyond the above arguments against segregated congregate care, we have reports from the NIH, Surgeon General, Yale University Studies, and much more showing the methodologies of behavior modification are damaging, harmful, and ineffective.  You can request these documents via e-mail.  In addition, for such programs offering academic services or claiming to offer diplomas, certifications, or the like, it is important to check to see if it is a diploma mill with no accredited academic services.  Please see article: "Avoiding Scams: What You Need To Know"  for important information on how to avoid education/training scams.

If you'd like to see what HEAL suggests rather than segregated congregate care (i.e. committing a crime or tort against your child if done against their will without a court order), please see articles: "Fix Your Family, Help Your Teen" and "How Would You Handle My Out of Control Teen?".

If you have a complaint against any facility, please file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency or your home state's attorney general.  For reporting resources see:  (Reporting guide is for USA only at this time.)


anasazi foundation enrollment packet REVIEW

HEAL has some concerns regarding the Anasazi Foundation's (Anasazi) enrollment agreement including apparent unethical and/or contradictory terms.  We will be alternating between "quoted text" from pages of the Anasazi enrollment agreement (as was downloaded from on September 18th, 2010) and HEAL's questions/concerns.  HEAL will not repeatedly link to the enrollment agreement in full throughout this review, and, we advise readers to scroll back and/or open the enrollment agreement in a new window while reviewing our work for accuracy or if additional contextualization is preferred.  This is an independent review and if you are in need of legal assistance or advice, please consult with an attorney

Enrollment Packet (Page 1)

"ANASAZI Foundation's inpatient treatment program"

"ANASAZI is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Behavioral Health and the Department of Economic Security, Administration for Children Youth and Families. ANASAZI is accredited nationally by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (Joint Commission) and the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children (COA)." [This portion was taken from on September 18th, 2010.]

"Social History" [The social history forms will not be linked to throughout this review.  You many wish to open the forms in a new window now if you prefer additional contextualization during this review.]

"Inform and prepare your child to enter the ANASAZI program."

"Your child may obtain up to three high-school credits for his/her participation in ANASAZI's 42-day program...Please contact Blueprint Education direction directly (   ) to enroll your child."

"Accompany your child on Admissions day (Friday) to complete paperwork, attend the Program Overview orientation, and meet your child's therapist.  Be prepared to participate in the 10-hour parent seminar."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Anasazi uses the language of a mental health care provider by stating it is an "inpatient treatment program".  However, it is not licensed as a mental health nor medical care provider nor does it appear to be regulated by HIPAA.  In researching Anasazi, HEAL initially found it was licensed solely as a juvenile group home in the state of Arizona.  In 2015, we checked their licensing again and now they are licensed as a behavioral health facility in Arizona.  According to Arizona law: ""Group home" means a residential setting for not more than six persons with developmental disabilities that is operated by a service provider under contract with the division and that provides, in a shared living environment, room and board and daily habilitation. Group home does not include an adult developmental home, a child developmental foster home, a secure setting or an intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded."  A "residential setting" appears to require an in-home setting with the necessary amenities.  There appears to be no system of regulation for wilderness programs in Arizona.  Anasazi's license number is: BH-1130 and you can file complaints against them here:

In addition, Arizona law proscribes: "R9-33-102. Requirement for Licensure An applicant shall obtain a license to operate a group home from the Department before providing supervision or habilitation to an individual with a developmental disability in a group home. A license to operate a group home is valid for the: 1. Address indicated on the license, 2. Name of the licensee indicated on the license, and 3. Period of time indicated on the license."

By definition, Anasazi is a wilderness program that takes place on public lands and off-site of the home offices in Mesa.  Anasazi is licensed to run a group home at the location named on their license only. It does not appear to be licensed as a mental health facility or outdoor recreational program.

It also appears that the primary qualification for licensing is that the home/program be accredited by a valid accrediting agency.  The Joint Commission has been under fire by Congress for not protecting client safety rights in facilities/programs they accredit. In addition, NATSAP and the Council on Accreditation (COA) are membership organizations that do not provide proper oversight or regulation of programs they endorse/accredit/accept.

It is our concern that Anasazi and/or Arizona provide the appearance of regulation without real enforcement or oversight.  And, it appears that they will license programs outside of the perimeters of licensing guidelines.  This raises concerns both about Arizona's state policies and procedures AND Anasazi's representations of oversight where such oversight and regulation are in actuality, lacking.

We hope Anasazi requires parents to inform their child about the child's enrollment in the Anasazi program and that they enforce the requirement that parents participate in the program from the beginning.  On page 3 of the agreement, Anasazi claims such participation is required.  But, on page 26 of the agreement, it states "parents will have the opportunity to spend 3 days and 2 nights with their child in the wilderness."  This implies that the participation is optional.  This is contradicted in other portions of the contract that reiterate that at least one parent/guardian must complete the seminar(s) and accompany the child at the end of the program.

HEAL asks: Does Anasazi require that children enrolled be enrolled voluntarily? (The answer appears to be no.  There are provisions discussed below regarding a child's "runaway" or escape attempt and resulting efforts to recapture the child.  If a child is attempting to run or does run from a program, it implies that he/she is not in the program voluntarily.  This is an additional concern.)  Does Anasazi ever recommend families not inform their children of their upcoming placement in the program?  If so, does Anasazi recommend the use of "escorts" to transport a child to the program?  Affirmative responses to the last two questions would raise additional concerns as well as point to misleading and/or deceptive marketing practices.

Enrollment Packet (Page 2)

"Upon arrival, an ANASAZI TrailWalker will greet your child at the door and guide him/her through the admissions process.  This is the time to say goodbye to your child."

"Participation in this seminar is required for parents wishing to join their children for the final three days/two nights of their stay at ANASAZI."

"Suggested preparation for the Parent Seminar: Read Leadership and Self Deception and/or The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Parents should ask what their child's experience will be during the admissions process.  It appears a strip search is required. (page 16)  Strip searches are often traumatic for anyone to endure and if conducted without legitimate probable cause are considered violative of the civil rights of the searched individual.  How quickly will your child feel demoralized and/or dehumanized by the Anasazi process? 

The second segment above is a concern, because, again it sounds like parents can opt out of any participation in the program by refusing the seminars and avoiding participation in the final three days of their child's "wilderness experience".

One review of Leadership and Self Deception reads:  "The Arbinger Institute was founded by C. Terry Warner, Philosophy Professor Emeritus @ BYU. Faculty at BYU are required to maintain themselves in conduct that qualifies them for temple privileges, as well as requiring them to obtain yearly endorsements from their "ecclesiatical leaders".  Having read this book, I think it is very biased in its view of humanity, and reminded me of the "we are all sinners" view that evangelical christianity espouses. It COULD be beneficial--but it is TOO LIMITING in its simplistic formula for solutions." (Linked text appeared on the linked page on September 18th, 2010.)  This suggests a very heavy Utah-influence in Anasazi practices and procedures. 

Enrollment Packet (Page 3)

"ANASAZI accepts new clients every Friday throughout the year."

"Your child will receive and send mail each Wednesday.  Mail is restricted to family members unless you and the Shadow agree there are others who could assist in your child's progress."

"Parents are required to spend the last three days and two nights of the program with their child on the trail."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Anasazi suggests in other portions of the agreement that "emergency placements" are at times accepted at additional cost.  Such a policy appears to contradict the careful planning and appearance of legitimacy presented in Anasazi's enrollment and promotional materials. 

It is a concern that the child's contact with the outside world is being strictly limited and that those limits are determined with approval/denial authority granted to program staff.  Such limitations may violate the civil rights of the child. 

Again, it is clearly stated above that parents are required to spend the last three days with their child, but, as stated above, this appears to be optional in other areas of the contract.  This is a concern as the terms presented may not represent the full terms or other arrangements available and/or required by the program.

Enrollment Packet (Page 4)

"Ideally, all caregivers will be involved in all aspects of the YoungWalker's experience; in all cases, at least one person is required."

"If you elect to have the exam completed on the day of admission, there will be an additional charge of $170 for boys and $200 for girls.  Our staff will transport your child to the office of Deseret Family Medicine for the exam."

"Due to the nature of our programs, scratches, cuts, and abrasions are commonplace."

"The program fee is $395 per day.  A nonrefundable admissions/outfitting fee of $750 is also required.  All financial arrangements are based on a 42-day stay and must be made prior to admission...If your child's stay is extended beyond 42 days, the program fee is $365 per additional day."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Is the child included in the population from which the "at lease one person" requirement is required?  If so, this would mean that the requirements of parental participation are for public relations purposes only and are not indicative of the true requirements or practices of the program.

What is the "nature" of Anasazi programs?  Why are scratches, cuts, and abrasions (bruises) commonplace?  Many HEAL coordinators adventure outdoors regularly and these camping and hiking trips do not regularly result in bodily harm or injury.  Why are these injuries common under the supervision of Anasazi staff?

That makes the minimum fee for the entire 42-day program, $17,340.  For a non-profit, this seems like a pretty steep charge.  It is more than the minimum fee at some for-profit wilderness programs.  And, HEAL is concerned that the $750 "outfitting" fee may be paid to board-member, Dinah Lundell in her clothing business "Random Drifter, Inc."  If so, this suggests a possible conflict of interest.  Some HEAL folks are working on starting a 501(c)3 non-profit and personal benefit of board-members through monies obtained through the non-profit is illegal/not allowed to our understanding.  So, this may suggest something that authorities may wish to investigate.

Enrollment Agreement (Page 6)

"Court ordered?"

"Arriving from Home, Foster Care, Detention, Treatment Facility, Other?"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

The above questions of the enrollment form cause concern.  They imply that Anasazi accepts adjudicated youth and children from foster care and detention centers.  They also imply that a child is not always informed of their placement in Anasazi ahead of time.  And, they imply that family participation is not required given that a child can be placed in the program without parental consent or authorization through the judicial or foster care system.  So, all of these implications suggest that Anasazi is trying to appear family-oriented, while operating in an arguably non-inclusive manner.  It further shows that the program is not voluntary for at least some of the individuals in the program.  And, this is a concern as corruption in the judicial system has shown problems with placements in private programs that deny children access to the outside world as opposed to placement in publicly run programs that at least require some oversight.

Enrollment Agreement (Pages 7 & 9)

"I/we hereby release ANASAZI from all liability that may arise from the release of the information requested to the below identified person(s), professionals, institutions, or agencies."

"I recognize that there is a significant element of risk in any adventure, sport, or activity associated with the outdoors...I assume full responsibility for my family and myself, including any minor children, for bodily injury, death, loss of personal property and expenses thereof, as a result of my negligence or my family's negligence."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Neither of the above passages are unreasonable.  However, additional liability waivers are required by other terms included on page 16 of the agreement.  Does Anasazi believe it is negligent of families to enroll in or participate in their program?  Would a court of law?  These are questions to consider in regards to this program.

Enrollment Packet (Pages 10)


"I hereby give permission to ANASAZI Foundation to video record, photograph, and/or audio record me and my comments in a taped presentation to be recorded and shown for educational, marketing, and/or public relations purposes including, but not limited to, public display on the ANASAZI Internet website(s)."

"The Client and/or family has the right to rescind consent for use up until a reasonable time established by ANASAZI before the recording or film is used."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL finds it inappropriate for programs like ANASAZI to request and/or require the use of a child's name and/or likeness for marketing of the program.  The reasons are multifold and include the fact that the child is likely being coerced or forced to agree to this while under the complete control of the program. 

Also, it seems that they will not remove a former client's photo/video/likeness if it has already been put to use in their promotional materials.  This is an additional concern as many survivors of programs have reported that their photos are being used without their consent to promote programs they felt were abusive.  We also find the general practice of requiring promotional/marketing assistance from clients, prior to their experiencing the program and judging if it would merit such participatory assistance (especially without compensation) in the marketing of the program, to be unethical.

Enrollment Packet (Pages 11-13)

"All clients have the following rights:"

"If enrolled by the Department or a regional behavioral health authority as an individual who is seriously mentally ill..."

"To receive a referral to another agency if ANASAZI Foundation is unable to provide a behavioral health service that the client requests or that is indicated in the client's treatment plan..."

"To associate with individuals of the client's choice, receive visitors, and make telephone calls during the hours established by the licensee and conspicuously posted in the facility, unless:

              i. The medical director or clinical director determines and documents a specific treatment       

                 purpose that justifies restricting this right;

             ii. The client is informed of the reason why this right is being restricted; and

            iii. The client is informed of the client's right to file a grievance and the procedure for filing a


"To privacy in correspondence marked confidential, communication, visitation, financial affairs, and personal hygiene, unless:

              i.  The medical director or clinical director determines and documents a specific treatment

                  purpose that justifies waiving this right..."

"To send and receive uncensored and unopened mail, unless restricted by court order or unless:

              i.  The medical director or clinical director determines and documents a specific treatment

                  purpose that justifies restricting this right..."

"To have opportunities for social contact and daily social, recreations, or rehabilitative activities; (Will have no access to telephones, recording, CD players)..."

"To be informed of the requirements necessary for the Client's discharge or transfer to a less restrictive physical environment."

"To receive, at the time of discharge or transfer, recommendations for any treatment needed when the Client is discharged."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

It is a serious concern that Anasazi suggests it accepts children that are severely mentally ill.  It does not appear that they are licensed or equipped to manage children with serious mental illness.  And, taking children with such diverse issues, including: substance abuse, criminal activity, and severe mental illness, seems to create an environment of severe risk of adverse influences and/or harm and trauma for children with more moderate issues.

The listing of "rights" on these pages appear to be driven by requirements on Juvenile Group Homes by the State of Arizona.  The concern here is that children are to be given reasonable access to a telephone and that such access and the requirement of such access is to be communicated by conspicuously posting that requirement in the facility.  Since Anasazi is a wilderness program, posting it at the home office for the sake of the licensing agents to review and check-off may meet a technical requirement of the law, but, does not go to the purpose and intent of the law.  Further in the same list Anasazi admits that no child in the program will be given access to a telephone.  This certainly doesn't suggest that children are individually and specifically told why each individual child in each particular circumstance is denied access to a telephone.  This is a serious concern and shows at least some suggested violations of the laws, regulating juvenile group homes, are occurring.

How often does Anasazi refer to long-term residential treatment programs for children as an after-care plan?  What facilities does Anasazi refer to and are they known to be abusive and/or fraudulent?

On page 13, Anasazi suggests questions about treatment policies be directed to the Joint Commission, the Office of Behavioral Health, and Child Protective Services.  In contacting the Joint Commission regarding concerns, you would likely be redirected to the licensing department (Office of Behavioral Health) and Child Protective Services.  The licensing department will likely suggest you contact the Joint Commission and/or Child Protective Services.  And, Child Protective Services will likely suggest you contact the licensing department and/or law enforcement.  Law enforcement will generally not investigate claims about abuse that occurred more than 48-hours prior to the time of the report.  So, if your child gets a letter out reporting abuse, the time for reporting to law enforcement will have passed and everyone else will likely give you the run-around.  At least, that has been the experience of many dealing with serious concerns about child welfare responding to reports of abuse at wilderness and residential programs in the industry.

Enrollment Packet (Page 14)

"This policy is to provide Clients and/or families with a means to grieve alleged violations through a four-step grievance procedure..."

"PROCEDURE: At any step in this procedure, the Client may request the assistance in presenting the problem.

Step I: When a problem arises, the Client is encouraged to address/resolve that difference with the Therapist/Shadow.  In the event the problem is with the Therapist/Shadow and cannot be resolved; the Clinical Director should be notified.  If the Client does not receive a prompt answer or is not satisfied with the answer, Step II may be initiated.

Step II: To initiation this part of the procedure, the Client should contact the Clinical Director.  The Clinical Director will respond to the grievance in writing within seven working days from the receipt of the grievance.  If the Client is not satisfied with the response, Step III may be initiated.

Step III: At this level the Clinical Director will arrange a meeting between the Administrator, the complainant, and anyone who may have been involved.  The Administrator will respond in writing within seven working days from the first meeting.

Step IV: Grievances unable to be resolved by the Administrator may be submitted to one or all of the following:

The Joint Commission"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL is deeply concerned about this "grievance procedure".  It appears it may take over two weeks before outside authorities are even made aware of any violations, if such step is ever taken.  And, if the incident involved abuse or criminal acts against the client, it may prevent the ability of proper authorities to effectively investigate and prosecute.  This is a serious concern.  Also, it seems if a child were being abused, that they would be left to the decisions of those who have a vested interest in protecting the abuser (if staff or other program client) at the expense of the victim.  This appears to be a procedure that protects Anasazi's interests and not the interests of children and families enrolled in the program.  Since the grievance procedure requirement of the State of Arizona is likely intended to protect the interests of children and families enrolled in programs they license, it suggests that this procedure may also be a violation.  The minimum stay requirement is 42-days.  And, that is 6 weeks.  If you give a two-week or more timeframe and during that time keep the child in the company of the person(s) alleged to have abused the child, how much opportunity does that give the alleged abusers to bully the child into silence or create symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome that make the child dependent on his/her abusers and therefore seemingly willing to explain away or forgive abuses?  It is not a good or effective policy for protecting the interests of children made vulnerable by the "nature" of the program. 

Enrollment Packet (Page 15-17)

"The sponsor represents and warrants that the the legal custodian of the Client with the right and authority to admit the Client into the ANASAZI program."

"ANASAZI agrees to provide the Client with a wilderness experience consistent with the ANASAZI program in which the Client is enrolled."

"...sponsor agrees to support the Client's activities in the ANASAZI program...and to cooperate with the ANASAZI personnel in working towards a successful completion of the program by the Client."

"All Clients accepted for the enrollment are accepted on the condition that they will complete the entire program.  The sponsor agrees that the Client shall continue in the program chosen until the completion of the program by the Client, as determined in the judgment of the ANASAZI program director, unless either party terminates this agreement by giving written notice to the other party."

"The sponsor hereby releases ANASAZI from any liability for any injury, illness, loss, cost, expense or other damages to the Client resulting from the involvement of the Client in the ANASAZI program."

"The sponsor agrees to pay and to indemnify and hold ANASAZI harmless from all costs and expenses incurred in connection with such medical or hospital care."

"Sponsor hereby consents to and authorizes ANASAZI to search the personal effects and person of the Client, and to confiscate any and all items not on the approved equipment list."

"All fees are considered to be earned upon admission."

"When there is any deviation to the program structure i.e. emergency admissions, additional trips to and from the trail at the sponsors request, etc an additional fee of $500 is required per event."

"ANASAZI is not responsible for the loss, damage, or destruction of the Client's personal property."

"The sponsor will be responsible for one-half (1/2) of all expenses incurred where the Client runs away during the program."

"In the event the Client's stay extends beyond 42 days, sponsor agrees to pay a reduced program fee of $365 per day ($2,555 per week) for the remainder of the stay.  Sponsor also agrees to pay for all additional expenses related to the extension."

"The sponsor has the right to withdraw the Client from the program at any time."

"In the event of a termination prior to completion by either ANASAZI or the sponsor, the parties agree that the sponsor shall not be entitled to a refund of any amounts paid, nor shall there be a reduction in the obligation for basic charges or other expenses due from the sponsor."

"Moreover, the parties agree that the Arizona law shall govern this agreement."

"Disclaimer: sponsor acknowledges and understands that ANASAZI has made no representations or warranties with respect to the results which may be achieved from the Client's admission to the ANASAZI program."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Parents may not have the authority to place their child in Anasazi's program and may wish to review the teen right's page for additional information to insure they are not violating the law by placing their child in the program.

What is the Anasazi "wilderness experience"?  This is a question that should be answered quite explicitly by Anasazi regarding their methods and practices.  The second quote above is too vague and suggests an intent to conceal the conditions of this program.

It is a concern that Anasazi requires complete support and cooperation from parents.  These terms resemble terms in similar contracts for other programs that require families obey the program and avoid questioning methods that they feel may be ineffective or harmful to their child.  This is a concern and coupled with the grievance procedures reviewed above; a very serious concern.

Anasazi follows up by refusing to take any responsibility for any harm to the child caused by the program.  Again, this shows a program that is concerned about their own interests as opposed to the interests of families they claim to serve.  These exculpatory clauses appear to be unethical and/or unconscionable. 

Parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not those of their minor children.  This likely includes the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  And, the Supreme Court recently ruled that schools cannot search students without probable cause and doing so violates the rights of the student.  Including the right to search the body of a child in seclusion without access to a telephone or outside help in the event of an abusive or violative search is a serious concern.  Since Anasazi infers that they accept adjudicated youth and youth from foster care, then they likely receive federal and state funds for doing so.  This suggests that they are not in a position to violate the rights of children in their program in this manner.  And, is another point of serious concern.

Anasazi requires you equip your child for the wilderness and denies any and all liability regarding any loss, destruction, or damage to the equipment they require you to provide.  It is a concern as these types of clauses leave the situation open to theft and loss of your personal property without any accountability to those in the best position to insure it is protected.

The additional costs associated with the program are included to show that they likely do accept new inductees on days other than Friday if you pay an extra $500. 

What is the average length of stay in Anasazi?  Do children often stay for longer than 6 weeks?  If so, how long?  If Anasazi is a non-profit and a family is dissatisfied, why do they believe it is fair to keep all monies you have already paid and demand payment of any additional fees for the minimum of the stay?

What are the typical results of the Anasazi program and how are these results and/or success rates determined?  What are families getting for their $17,000+?  Are they getting an expensive introduction to the teen program industry?  And, does Anasazi act as a short-term holding program until a long-term program is chosen and/or referred to by Anasazi?  Does Anasazi receive a pecuniary benefit from the outside programs to which they refer? 

Enrollment Agreement (Page 19)

"The physical exam must be performed by a licensed primary care practitioner who is informed as to the physical demands of participating in ANASAZI (i.e. backpacking and hiking from 5-20 miles per week, while carrying a 30-40# pack, in various wilderness terrains, in a variety of elevations and temperatures with sun exposure, primitive living conditions, etc.)"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Placing a child in a program where they may be forced to carry an extra forty-pounds up 20 miles per week in the wilderness seems very punitive and not therapeutic at all.  Carrying such extra weight while doing strenuous exercise for long-periods can cause permanent physical harm to growing bodies.  Parents should choose against Anasazi if they wish their children to grow up healthy and strong.  This is HEAL's opinion and we recommend against Anasazi.

"Social History" (Pages 3 & 4)

"Does the family participate in religious activities?"

"Does your child participate?"

"Please describe your child's participation in: Church/Temple/Synagogue attendance, Prayer, Reading (scripture. religious materials), Compliance with religious behaviors and values [and] Attitude towards religious leaders/clergy..."

"Does the child express enjoyment/satisfaction through participation?"

"Does your child believe in God?"

"To the best of your knowledge, is your child sexually active?"

"Is this a concern for you?"

"With one or multiple partners?"

"To the best of your knowledge, how involved is your child with pornography?"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

The above questions would likely not be effectively answered by a parent and are very personal in nature.  Discussing these issues without the participation of the child is inappropriate.  Is Anasazi involved in pornography?  Do they believe in God?  Are they sexually active?  Have they revealed this to you or your child?  Is that appropriate?  In earlier documents, Anasazi suggests that they are not faith-based and/or that they welcome children from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.  Why do they need to know so much about your religious practices and how will this information be used by the program? 


"When did you first notice that your child's behavior was changing?"

"What do you estimate has been the total cost of mental health/behavioral health treatment for your child prior to but NOT including ANASAZI?"

"After Care Treatment Plan

Check all that apply:

Boarding School         Therapeutic Boarding School           Residential Treatment Center"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Human beings, including children, change their behavior all the time.  Typing is different from talking and walking a different behavior than sitting.  This is too vague a question and really warrants qualification to be effective.

Why does ANASAZI need to know how much you spend on treatment?  Are they trying to gauge how much more you may be willing or able to spend?  Does this help them determine what program to refer to for their "after care" recommendations?  What programs does ANASAZI refer to and do they receive any incentives for placing children in those programs?

At this point, HEAL believes it would be best for families to avoid ANASAZI.  For parenting suggestions and alternative resources, please visit

 *(Anasazi Foundation, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)

 Last Updated: July 26th, 2019

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