teen challenge ranch
Also See: Staff List
and Background Information
HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:
teen challenge ranch
HEAL has found
multiple problems with Teen Challenge Ranch's (TC/TC's) enrollment
agreement including apparent unconscionable terms and/or
contradictory terms leaving us to believe that Teen Challenge
is running a money-making scam on families in need of
assistance. We will be alternating between purple
background and/or words for HEAL critiques and questions and
a light pink with red words
for the words of Teen Challenge Ranch in their
enrollment agreement (as was
downloaded from arkansasteenchallenge.org on September 26th, 2010). 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. (This review includes a
review of the
pre-entry packet, and
Application (Page 1)
non-refundable application fee must be submitted with this
application before it will be considered."
"Is your son in any
HEAL questions the
ethics of charging an application fee in addition to an
enrollment fee and other miscellaneous fees discussed through
out this review. However, $35 is the most reasonable
"application fee" HEAL has seen thus far in reviewing contracts
for behavior modification programs.
HEAL believes that
Teen Challenge Ranch wants to know the special abilities and/or
training of a prospective "student" to gauge how beneficial it
will be to Teen Challenge Ranch to enroll said "student".
Why does Teen
Challenge Ranch ask about a prospective student's IQ? And,
what is a "resource class"?
Application (Page 2)
"If your son has
ever been tested for learning disabilities or has had any
psychological testing through the school, please send that
information with this application."
Will Teen Challenge
conduct its own tests and will those tests be conducted by
people qualified and/or licensed to provide such testing in
Arkansas? Does Teen Challenge Ranch provide or are they
qualified to provide special education for those with learning
disabilities? Is Teen Challenge qualified to provide or
understand the psychological testing results provided by other
you now or have you ever known any student of Teen Challenge
Ranch of NW Arkansas?"
applicant have homosexual tendencies?"
applicant have any physical limitations that would hinder him
from participating in rigorous work or recreational activities?"
applicant currently have any of the following diseases?
"Is the applicant
"Is the applicant
currently or has the applicant ever undergone psychiatric
treatment? If yes, please list diagnosis and medications
prescribed. Please include a statement from prescribing
physician regarding diagnosis, medication, and weaning
guidelines (how and what to expect) if currently on
Why does Teen
Challenge Ranch want to know if you know anyone who ever
attended the program? What is the purpose of asking this
question? Why is this question repeated to the student on
page 12? Many programs don't allow "graduates" to interact
with others who are not following the same "path/cult" as the
"graduate". This may be an attempt by Teen Challenge Ranch
to keep tabs on "graduates" or others who have left the program.
Also, if a "student" leaves the program due to dissatisfaction,
this may be a screening tool to get rid of any potential group
action against practices in place at the program.
Challenge Ranch see homosexuality as a "sin" or a "disease"?
If so, this suggests a serious problem with the program and the
people running it. Why does Teen Challenge ask if they
child has "homosexual tendencies"? What does this mean?
Why is Teen
Challenge Ranch concerned about the STDs a child may have upon
enrollment? Do children in the program engage in sexual
activity within the program? Has any child been sexually
abused by staff or peers while in the program providing apparent
warrant to ask such a question? In attending public
school, private school, and college the HEAL coordinators have
never been required to answer such questions in order to attend
or be accepted in those schools/universities. This
question seems unnecessarily intrusive unless there is a concern
at Teen Challenge Ranch due to lack of proper oversight or
supervision in the program. And, such lack of oversight
and supervision would itself present a concern regarding the
practices at Teen Challenge Ranch.
Is Teen Challenge
Ranch qualified to monitor the withdrawal of children off of
psychiatric medications? Is there a licensed medical
professional trained to handle such situations that is on-site
daily to monitor children being "weaned off" of medications?
Teen Challenge's implies that they are not equipped or trained
by requesting specific direction from the child's physicians
outside of the program. This is a concern.
In addition, by
requesting detailed treatment history at other programs and
mental health service providers, Teen Challenge Ranch implies
that they will understand the information provided and are
qualified to provide similar treatment. However, this does
not appear to be the case when the
reputation of Teen Challenge programs are considered.
Teen Challenge is not licensed to provide alcohol/drug abuse
treatment in Arkansas. According to Teen Challenge Ranch,
Challenge Ranch of NW Arkansas is dedicated to helping troubled
boys get a new start in life. Boys ages 14-17 come to Teen
Challenge from across the United States. They are young men in
need of help and assistance. They often struggle with issues
such as: drug & alcohol abuse, anger & depression, legal
problems, and behavioral problems."
(arksansasteenchallenge.org, September 26th, 2010). Since
Teen Challenge is not licensed to treat drug and alcohol abuse,
this is a serious concern. When a program is not licensed
to provide the services they claim, it is one of the
of an abusive and/or fraudulent program. Teen Challenge is
not licensed as a mental health services or
rehabilitation services provider in Arkansas. These
are serious concerns as Teen Challenge claims to "help" children
with problems they are not licensed to "treat".
Application (Page 9)
"Who is the person
or agency requesting placement?"
nature of the problem with your child. If your son uses
illegal drugs please list all the ones you are aware of."
"Comment on any
factors that may have influenced these problems with your child.
Please be specific and frank."
question above suggests that Teen Challenge may take foster
children or adjudicated youth. This is a concern and
should raise concerns for parents who may be dealing with normal
teenage angst and over-reacting by considering a lock-down
placement or controlled environment in which their child may be
introduced to a more "criminal" element and adversely influenced
by being placed among children/youth with more "extreme" issues.
This is a serious concern.
Again, the second
question implies that Teen Challenge Ranch is qualified to
provide drug treatment. Teen Challenge Ranch is neither
licensed nor qualified to provide drug treatment.
Parents who are
having difficulty relating to their child may not be the best
parties to ask in regards to what they think the cause of the
child's problems might be. It is highly likely that a
primary cause of problems with any child is that they have been
neglected and/or emotionally or physically abandoned by their
family during critical developmental stages and moments in their
lives. These problems require full participation and
mutual respect to be developed between the parents and the child
and vice versa. Respect is a "two-way street", and
parents/authority figures/adults are in the best position
experientially to lead by example. The best way to earn
respect is to show respect and that is always a reciprocal deal.
Children who do not show respect have likely not been treated
with respect and therefore have no value to associate with it in
regards to themselves or others. Respect your children and
their feelings and ideas and they will learn to respect yours by
following your example.
goals do you have pertaining to your child's stay at Teen
"What are your
plans for your child if he is dismissed or leaves Teen
Challenge? (Will you seek another facility, will he go to jail,
will he be allowed to return home, etc.?)"
"Please list the
names and addresses of any friends, relatives, etc. from who you
do not wish your child to receive mail, phone calls, or visits."
The first question
is typically asked by behavior modification programs to
determine the best way to solicit and pacify the parent's
concerns by focusing on the parent's desires.
If a child has
not been adjudicated, placing them in a lock-down environment
may be a violation of his due process rights/civil rights.
www.heal-online.org/teenrights.htm for more information.
HEAL finds it of
interest that the language of the third segment above calls for
a "no contact" list as opposed to an "approved" contact list.
Are there any restrictions on mail, phone calls, and visits?
Is there a "blackout period" that marks a timeframe or "level"
during which a child may not have contact with parents and/or
vice versa? If so, this is a serious concern and would
indicate an abusive environment. See
www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for more information.
"How do you think
other people view you?"
are you having (Why are you coming to Teen Challenge?)"
"What have you
done about the problems?"
occurred in your life to cause you to come here?"
"Do you now or
have you ever known any student of Teen Challenge Ranch of NW
"Do you now or
have you ever used alcohol or other habit forming substances
The above is a
questionnaire requested of incoming "students" to the Teen
Challenge Ranch program. It is a concern that a focus
would be placed on how others view the child as those views are
typically highly subjective and a child is not in a position to
adequately provide information regarding the perceptions of
others. HEAL finds this a concern because programs like
Teen Challenge are reported to use "Positive
Peer Culture/Pressure" and/or "Therapeutic "Cult" Community"
methods shown to be ineffective and harmful to participants.
And, a clear focus on the "value" others place on the child
suggests an oppressive environment and disrespect for the child.
regarding why the child has problems and the placing of
responsibility of the problems solely on the child by way of the
questions and the tone of those questions, suggests an overly
oppressive and "blaming" environment. A human being
responds to and interacts with his/her environment in a way that
is supported by that environment. The home environment
needs improvement and/or the community of the child needs
improvement of lasting healing is to occur. The best
things families can do is keep their families together and work
together to solve family problems. This contrasts the "scapegoating"
approach of programs like Teen Challenge that typically pacify
parents while enslaving their children.
Challenge implies that they are equipped to treat children who
have alcohol/drug abuse issues. Teen Challenge Ranch is
not licensed to provide alcohol/drug abuse treatment in
"Student Questions" [cont.]
"Do you believe
that God exists?"
"What do you
believe about God?"
"Do you believe
Jesus Christ is the Son of God?"
"What is the
purpose of prayer?"
"Do you pray?
If so how often?"
"What is the
purpose of the Bible?"
"What do you
believe about life after death?"
"What do you
believe about the devil?"
"What is sin?"
HEAL finds these
questions to be a concern as they are intrusive into the private
spiritual life of a child that is likely being involuntarily
placed in the program. Why does Teen Challenge ask these
questions? Do they believe the questions will be answered
honestly? Do they provide answers regarding how Teen
Challenge Ranch would answer the same questions? Does Teen
Challenge believe in the devil? Does Teen Challenge
believe in sin? Does Teen Challenge believe other faiths
(including Judaism, Catholicism, etc.) are "satanic" or "cults"?
What values will Teen Challenge be teaching children? Do
these values embody hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and/or other
- $35...This fee is non-refundable."
"Entrance Fee -
$500...This fee...is nonrefundable."
"Tuition - $1850
per month. This fee includes, room, board, and regular
curriculum expenses associated with the academic and
discipleship programs...A full month's tuition is due prior to a
student's entrance into the program...Except in certain
situations wherein tuition has been pre-paid more than one month
in advance, all tuition payments shall be considered
requires that parent(s)/guardian(s) notify Teen Challenge of
their intent to withdraw their child from the program at least
15 days prior to the first of the month in order to avoid being
charged for the next month's tuition. Parents/guardians
who pull their child from the program without sufficient notice
shall be required to pay the next month's tuition."
Weekend - $150. Teen Challenge offers family "Reconnect
Weekends" three times per year. It is required that
parent(s)/guardian(s) attend these weekends. Parent(s)/guardian(s)
will be billed for the reconnect weekends even if they do not
Charges - 50 cents per mile ($20 minimum) to and from Teen
Challenge for all transportation of students which is not
directly related to normal program activities. Examples
are trips wherein a fee will be charged include: doctor visits,
dentist appointments, transportation to airports or bus
"Activity/Spending Account - Parents/Guardians will be expected
to fund a student's personal activity/spending account. It
is recommended that the funding of this account not exceed $100
per month unless there is a special activity or event (i.e.
missions trip)...We will also allow the student to use part of
these funds to purchase soda and snacks; however, we will be
placing limits on what the students can spend in this area.
When funding this account, checks should be made out to Teen
Challenge. Assuming all tuition has been paid, we will
then place the funds in his activity/spending account."
"In the event
that a student loses or destroys a text or workbook, or is found
cheating in a workbook, or fails a section of his coursework and
must be reissued a workbook, that student will be charged for
the cost of the text or $4 for the workbook. The student
himself is normally held responsible for this fee. It is
usually debited from his personal allowance and/or personal
funds and not charged to the parent/guardian."
"Shipping Fees -
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) shall be responsible to pay a $20 handling
fee plus the actual cost for shipping on any items requiring
shipment from Teen Challenge. This fee must be paid in
advance (prior to the shipment of any items)."
incurred by Teen Challenge on behalf of the student -
Parents/guardians must pay all costs and expenses incurred by
Teen Challenge in obtaining medical, psychological, and/or
psychiatric treatment, and other care for the Minor. They
must also reimburse Teen Challenge for any and all clams,
damages, miscellaneous expenses, or transportation costs
incurred for any penalties or fees associated with the minor."
student whose tuition is not received by the 5th of each month
will be removed from the academic portion of our program until
payment is made in full or satisfactory financial arrangements
have been made with the director."
"I will be paying
for the full 14 months of tuition at one time for a 10%
HEAL has received a
number of reports indicating that Teen Challenge uses the
children in their programs to raise money for their programs and
their friends. It is a concern that families are being
charged to provide free labor and "beggars" for Teen Challenge
under the guise of discipleship or "missions" for the "church".
charges $1850 per month for what? Room, board, and the
"standard curriculum" which includes indoctrination into the
Teen Challenge cult and what, exactly, in regards to an
Challenge Ranch is not licensed as an Education Service in
Arkansas. Teen Challenge would not qualify as the
parent/legal guardian of a child, so, the homeschooling
laws governing "home schools" in Arkansas would not regulate
Teen Challenge Ranch. Teen Challenge is not a "charter
school" in the state of Arkansas. As many behavior
modification programs have been in trouble for not providing
transferable education credits and/or honored credits or
diplomas for further educational pursuits, this is a serious
concern. HEAL advises parents to demand to see the license
and accreditation for Teen Challenge Ranch and to investigate to
insure that their children are not being denied a legitimate
HEAL finds it a
concern that Teen Challenge requires a 15 day notice prior to a
removal of a child from the program. We believe this may
indicate the use of coercion or force applied to the child to
try to convince their family not to remove them even if it
contradicts former pleas or reports of abuse at the facility.
Many programs try to bribe or use force and abuse to "encourage"
children to support the program and aid in the swindling of
their parents. This is a serious concern.
transportation costs billed at a minimum per trip of $20 or $40?
Does Teen Challenge consider a trip to an off-site location
separate from the return trip to Teen Challenge Ranch? If
Teen Challenge's negligence or overt act resulting in mental or
physical harm to the child precipitates the child's need of
medical or mental health services, does Teen Challenge place
those costs on the family? According to the liability
waivers mentioned in the Pre-Entry Packet, that is exactly what
Teen Challenge does in regards to any harms that may befall a
child while in the care of Teen Challenge. This is a
concern and shows irresponsibility and an overt lack of
accountability in regards to the care of children at Teen
It is a serious
concern that monies to be used as an "allowance" for the child
are used to fund "mission trips" or fundraising outings for the
Teen Challenge program. Teen Challenge seeks to benefit
financially from the child's participation in mission trips and
charging the child's "allowance" account for such outings seems
unethical and not in line with recognizing the value of the
labor provided by the child. How often are children
allowed fun outings for recreational purposes only (i.e.
sporting events, movies, bowling, etc.)? How long,
generally, does a child have to spend in the program before they
are allowed to have any legitimate recreation or
personal/private time? In the event the child performs
labor for the program, is this labor compensated? If the
child is forced to labor for other businesses as part of the
program, does the child receive all monies earned from those
efforts? If not, why? And, what does such a practice
imply in regards to the ethical standards of Teen Challenge
How often are
children accused of or charged with the loss/destruction/etc. of
texts or workbooks? How much is charged to their personal
accounts for replacement of such texts? The replacement
cost for workbooks is claimed to be $4, but, the program does
not mention the fees relating to replacement of texts.
This is a concern. Since there is no oversight, the
program could easily siphon funds from the child's allowance to
cover other needs of the program and the program can cover up
this "theft" by claiming the funds were taken for text or
$20 seems like a
steep handling fee when the other costs associated with the
actual shipping are already being applied. Other programs
charge a $2 handling fee in such events, and, this seems more
likely meant "claims" not "clams" in the "Expenses incurred"
segment above. HEAL provided our concerns regarding the
charging or implicating of charges to parents by the program
when the program and/or its methods may be the direct cause of
the harm in need of additional/outside care.
Challenge Ranch is not an accredited school or licensed school
in Arkansas, what "academic" services do they legitimately
provide to families?
It appears that
the length of the program is 14-months. This is a serious
concern as it is unhealthy to keep a child in an
institutionalized setting for such a long period. And,
since Teen Challenge Ranch is not licensed to provide
residential treatment or academic services, there is no
oversight to insure they are compliant with education and/or
health/safety laws. This is a serious concern.
Pre-Entry Packet (Page
"Pre-Entry Check List"
Instructions - These instructions need to state (a) what
medications the child is on, (b) the prescribed dosage and
schedule, and (c) the purpose of the medication. If a
child is to be weaned off of medication while at Teen Challenge,
the physician should provide written instructions as to the
process and schedule."
Challenge implies that they are qualified to review counselor or
psychiatric reports. This is a serious concern as Teen
Challenge is not licensed to provide therapeutic services in
Arkansas. This is further established by the medication
instruction requirements. Whom at Teen Challenge Ranch is
qualified to monitor and administer to children withdrawing from
drugs, either prescribed or illicit?
Pre-Entry Packet (Page
examined the above named patient and certify that he is
physically able to participate in rigorous exercise, work, and
recreational activities. In my opinion, he is stable
enough physically, mentally, and emotionally to participate in a
program involving schooling, sports, daily chores, and strict
What does Teen
Challenge mean by "rigorous exercise" and "work"? Is
physical exhaustion a large part of the initial phase(s) of the
program? If so, this is likely an abusive
modification program using methods likened to
brainwashing/coercive thought reform. What does Teen
Challenge mean by "strict discipline"? As the physical
exam is assumed to be provided by a general practitioner, how
would they be qualified to determine of the child is emotionally
or mentally able to participate? Also, since the actual
program details are omitted, this "pre-approval" by physician
appears to be more of a way to limit Teen Challenge's liability
by showing that a physician "approved" the child's enrollment at
Teen Challenge, moving the liability from Teen Challenge to the
physician in the event the "approval" proves inaccurate in
regards to the ability of the child to handle the conditions
imposed at Teen Challenge Ranch.
Pre-Entry Packet (Pages
3 & 4)
"Also, please include any health records, psychological testing,
special education testing, disciplinary reports, and test scores
regulations of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (as
amended on June 17, 1976) allow Education institutions to
transfer records without written consent - to another school
system in which the student intends to enroll."
"I (we) hereby
authorize Teen Challenge Ranch of NW Arkansas, hereinafter
called COMPANY, to initiate credit/debit entries to my (our)
account indicated below and the financial institution named
below, hereinafter called FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, to credit/debit
the same to such account. I (we) acknowledge that the
origination of ACH transactions to my (our) account must comply
with the provisions of U.S. law."
is to remain in full force and effect until COMPANY has received
written notification from me (or either of us) of its
termination in such time and manner as to afford COMPANY and
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION a reasonable opportunity to act on it."
Here again, Teen
Challenge Ranch implies that they provide counseling services
and educational services. Teen Challenge Ranch is not
licensed to provide these services in Arkansas. It is
imperative that parents understand the implications of a program
that is operating
without a license.
HEAL would not trust
Teen Challenge Ranch with personal credit/debit card information
or authorization to be used at the discretion of Teen Challenge
to cover tuition and/or other supposed "costs" associated with
the program. There are no promises to keep financial or
personal information confidential. In fact, Teen Challenge
requires families agree to being made public advertisers for the
program prior to knowing whether or not Teen Challenge is
helpful or effective. This is a serious concern and
considering the age of participants, an ethical and legal
concern as well.
Pre-Entry Packet (Page
undersigned parties enter into this Agreement as an essential
condition of participation in the Teen Challenge program."
parties accept the Bible as the inspired word of God. They
believe that God desires that they resolved their dispute with
one another within the Church and that they be reconciled in
their relationships in accordance with the principles stated in
1 Corinthians 6:1-8..."
undersigned parties hereby agree that, if any dispute or
controversy that arises out of or is related to this agreement
is not resolved in private meetings between the parties pursuant
to Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:15, then the dispute or controversy
will be settled by biblically based mediation and, if necessary,
legally binding arbitration, in accordance wit the Rules of
Procedure for Christian Conciliation (Rules) of the Association
of Christian Conciliation Services (current Rules attached and
incorporated by this reference). The undersigned parties
agree that these methods shall be the sole remedy for any
dispute or controversy between them and, to the full extent
permitted by applicable law, expressly waive their right to file
a lawsuit in any civil court against one another for such
It is a concern that
Teen Challenge Ranch requires families to waive their rights to
sue and to agree to be bound by a decision by the church, with
whom Teen Challenge is affiliated. It seems a sure basis
for guaranteeing an inequitable finding in regards to any
disputes. Also, at least one family has reported to HEAL
that their child committed suicide after being denied the
"privilege" of calling his mother for support and encouragement
at a Teen Challenge program in Florida. Teen Challenge's
program seems to be more concerned with protecting its financial
interests than with helping families in need.
The Association of
Christian Conciliation Services, Inc. is based out of Billings,
Montana. It is also known as Peacemaker Ministries.
Bubna is associated with Teen Challenge and
House. Hephzibah House is confirmedly abusive and
survivors include attorneys and law enforcement officers who are
taking a stand against the abuse. Don Bubna is also on the
Board of Directors of Peacemaker Ministries. It is a
serious concern that such an involved and supportive party would
be in a position and in the sole position to decide disputes
between injured families and Teen Challenge Ranch. It
would appear to give Teen Challenge Ranch an unfair advantage in
deciding the outcome of disputes.
Pre-Entry Packet (Page
being the parent(s), guardian(s) or conservator(s) of the Minor,
hereby agree(s) that Teen Challenge Ranch of Northwest Arkansas
(hereinafter called "the Ranch") may assume physical custody and
control of the Minor. The Ranch shall have and is hereby
granted full power and authorization to house, educate, obtain
medical, psychological and/or psychiatric treatment, and other
care for the Minor for and during the time the Minor is in the
custody and control of the Ranch."
assume and agree to pay all costs and expenses incurred by the
Ranch in obtaining medical, psychological, and/or psychiatric
treatment, and other care for the Minor...I/We also agree to
reimburse the Ranch for any and all claims, damages,
miscellaneous expenses, or transportation costs incurred and for
any penalties or fees associated with the minor. I/We
agree to pay such costs, expenses, tuition, and fees promptly
upon being billed therefor by the Ranch. I/We authorize
the Ranch to obtain payment for the above costs, expenses,
tuition, and fees from my/our credit card, or from my/our bank
account via automatic draft or electronic funds transfer."
release and forever discharge, and I/We agree to hold, save and
indemnify, the Ranch, its directors, officers, agents and
employees of, from and against any and all liability of whatever
kind, character and nature that may arise out of, relate to, or
result from the Ranch's custody and care of the Minor."
"I/We agree to
remove the Minor from the Ranch immediately upon the Ranch's
request to do so. I/We also authorize the Ranch to place
the minor on a bus or other transportation, and to send him
home. I/We also relieve the Ranch of all responsibility
for his safe arrival, and understand that I/we will be
responsible for meeting him at his destination."
"I/We release and
discharge the Ranch from any responsibility for the Minor's
personal belongings that are damaged, lost, stolen, while the
Minor is at the Ranch, and/or left behind after the Minor leaves
the Ranch. I/We further understand that any items left
behind by the minor after he is discharged or withdraws from the
Ranch maybe immediately sold, discarded, given away, or donated
to charity and will not be stored for the minor or forwarded
(shipped) to any address."
and agree that numerous trips may be made from time to time to
churches, museums, recreational and other areas selected as
suitable for the Minor in the sole discretion of the Ranch.
I/We hereby consent to the Minor taking such trips which may be
either within or outside of the State of Arkansas."
The first paragraph does not seem to be a legitimate transfer of
custody from parents to Teen Challenge Ranch. The lack of
legitimacy of this portion of the agreement raises concerns as
to the legal responsibility Teen Challenge should be accepting
as a result of the contract. We remind parents that Teen
Challenge is not licensed to provide psychiatric, psychological,
or educational services in Arkansas.
It is a concern that "miscellaneous fees" are repeated and such
fees will be automatically debited from the family's credit or
debit card accounts. This seems as if it could lead to
difficulties with the family if such charges are made without
notification or prior arrangement. This is part of why
HEAL is concerned about the credit card/ACH agreement mentioned
Again, Teen Challenge Ranch claims no liability for any harm
caused by their practices. This is a serious concern that
they want families to indemnify them against their own
wrongdoing. This does not seem in line with Christian
values of personal responsibility. HEAL believes Teen
Challenge Ranch knows its services are prone to cause harm and
that these liability waivers point to knowingly providing faulty
It seems horribly irresponsible that Teen Challenge Ranch would
place an alleged "troubled" child on public transportation
without supervision and take no responsibility for the
abandonment of a minor to such travel conditions and the risks
they impose (i.e. kidnapping, etc.).
Teen Challenge Ranch runs a second-hand store called the Vintage
Mall. It is no surprise that they might "lift" items from
children in the program to make more money. And, in this
agreement, they can do just that with impunity. This is a
It is also a concern that Teen Challenge Ranch intends to take
children outside of the state for any purpose and wants a
general "permission" from parents to take children wherever the
program deems appropriate. Please see our free
information on what some of these "out of state" or other
"trips" entail for children in programs like Teen Challenge.
Pre-Entry Packet (Page
authorize the Ranch to use the Minor's testimony/life story for
promotional purposes and without any liability to the Minor or
me/us. This may involve, but is not limited to, media
presentations, public speaking and testimonies, articles, and
appeal letters. I/We also understand that photographs of
the Minor may be used for promotional purposes and may be
published in various forms of literature and media pertaining to
the Ranch's operations."
"Pursuant to this
Authorization and Release, the Ranch, its agents and employees
shall have authority to make decision for the healthcare and
welfare of the Minor that I/We could make for the Minor,
provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall relieve
or release, or be deemed to release, me/us (or either of us)
from any of my/our duties and responsibility to or for the
It is highly
unethical that the Ranch would exploit children in its program
for promotional or material gain. This also appears to be
an open violation of the privacy rights of the child.
Parents have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the
rights of their minor children. This is a serious concern.
For additional information, see
It is a concern that
the Ranch seems to place the responsibility for the child's
well-being on the parents, even while the child is under the
care/control of the program. It seems to be another
liability waiver and raises serious concerns about why so many
waivers of responsibility on the part of the Ranch are included
in the contract.
Pre-Entry Packet (Pages
Challenge does not allow students to wear clothing that is baggy
understand that the focus of the Reconnect Weekend is on the
parent/child bond and therefore only parents/guardians may
attend the Reconnect Weekend."
"What You Should
"Only the clothes
that the student is wearing...Christian t-shirt or polo
shirt...Pants that fit and do not have holes or stains."
Children should be
allowed their constitutional rights of self expression.
Reasonable dress codes are acceptable. But, given the
follow-up rule of "Christian t-shirt", it seems a bit
In regards to the
"Reconnect Weekend", this is one of very few opportunities
afforded by the program for the child to visit with his family.
It seems it would be more appropriate to allow for siblings
and/or grandparents to attend if they are available. This
level of control suggests a cult-like program and HEAL would
recommend against placing any child in Teen Challenge Ranch.
Also See: Staff List
and Background Information