This is a  staff list for Catherine Freer Wilderness Program in Albany, OR

(aka Santiam Crossing School, Oregon Transition Homes)

(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 Catherine Freer Wilderness Program.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm.If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Catherine Freer Wilderness Program, you have the right to take action.

 

If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Catherine Freer Wilderness Program, please contact info@heal-online.org 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 donít place your loved one in Catherine Freer Wilderness Program and rescue them if they are there now.

 

Name

Unit/Position

Additional Information
Amy Cirincione Clinical Director Cirincione no longer appears to work for this program.  Amy Cirincione is not a licensed professional counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Adam Goddard Coordinating Therapist Adam Goddard has also worked for Pinnacle Point Hospital and Capstone Treatment Center.  Capstone is under investigation by HEAL.  Goddard is a licensed professional counselor and intern only.  He has been licensed in Oregon since September 28th, 2010 and his license expires (unless renewed) February 29th, 2012.
Jeff Peyton Coordinating Therapist Peyton is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Chris Rahm Coordinating Therapist The Catherine Freer staff list states he worked at another residential treatment program, but does not specify which one.  Rahm is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Kevin Riley Coordinating Therapist Riley no longer appears to work for this program.  Riley is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Michelle Bachand Wilderness Therapist Bachand no longer appears to work for this program.  Bachand is a licensed professional counselor in Oregon and has been since June 9th, 2009.  Her current license expires in May, 2012.
Maria Deshazer Wilderness Therapist Deshazer is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Todd Embree Wilderness Therapist Embree no longer appears to work for this program.  Todd Embree is a licensed professional counselor in Oregon and has been since June 25th, 2007.  His current license expires August 31st, 2012.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Averyl Growden Wilderness Therapist Growden is a registered intern only and has no license to act as a professional counselor or therapist at this time.  Growden is a Professional Counselor Registered Intern and has been since October 24th, 2008.  The current registration expires in October, 2012.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Sabrina Hadeed Wilderness Therapist Hadeed no longer appears to work for this program.  Hadeed is a licensed professional counselor in Oregon and has been only since December 19th, 2011.  This means she was working as a therapist at Catherine Freer without being licensed/qualified at time of employment at this program.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Kraig Mead Wilderness Therapist Mead is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
David Neiss Wilderness Therapist Neiss no longer appears to work for this program.  Neiss is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Adrienne Tauses Wilderness Therapist Tauses also worked for the P.A.C.E. center for girls.  PACE is under investigation by HEAL.  Tauses is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Mark Allee Wilderness Guide Allee no longer appears to work for this program.  Allee is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Mark Andrews Wilderness Guide Andrews is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Jeff Brand Wilderness Guide Also worked for the Outpost Program.  We were unable to locate the "Outpost Program".  Brand no longer appears to work for this program.  Brand is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Molly DePasqual Wilderness Guide The Catherine Freer staff list states she worked at another residential treatment program, but does not specify which one.  DePasqual is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Josh Garner Wilderness Guide Garner no longer appears to work for this program.  Garner is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Brook Jackson Wilderness Guide Jackson is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Marlies Luepges Wilderness Guide Luepges no longer appears to work for this program.  Luepges is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Jon O'Connor Adventure Activities Trainer O'Connor is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Rachelle Perez Wilderness Guide Perez no longer appears to work for this program.  Perez is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Ben Poynter Wilderness Guide Poynter is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Brian Reardon Wilderness Guide Reardon no longer appears to work for this program.  Reardon is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Robert Cooley Founder Cooley is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Paul Smith Program Director Paul Smith is the former President of NATSAP.  NATSAP is a trade organization that presents itself as an accreditation agency.  When asked about its accrediting standards, NATSAP regularly admits that they do not have the training or expertise to evaluate the conditions or methods at programs they "accredit".  NATSAP is a fraudulent organization that aids in the scamming of American families by programs in this industry.  The strong association between Freer and NATSAP more than suggests a corrupt facility.  And that, coupled with the fact that there have been multiple reports of abuse and reports of death at Freer, evidences that this is obviously not a trustworthy program.  Smith no longer appears to work for this program.   Smith is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Kirk Shimeall Wilderness Director Shimeall no longer appears to work for this program.  Shimeall is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Rob Koning Executive Director Koning is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Tanya Sue Kramer Program Manager Kramer no longer appears to work for this program.  Kramer is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Liz Feldman Asst. Wilderness Manager Feldman no longer appears to work for this program.  Feldman is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Natala Larson Admissions Director Larson is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Sarah Mack Marketing Director Sarah Mack is a meeting organizer for NATSAP.  NATSAP is a trade organization that presents itself as an accreditation agency.  When asked about its accrediting standards, NATSAP regularly admits that they do not have the training or expertise to evaluate the conditions or methods at programs they "accredit".  NATSAP is a fraudulent organization that aids in the scamming of American families by programs in this industry.  The strong association between Freer and NATSAP more than suggests a corrupt facility.  And that, coupled with the fact that there have been multiple reports of abuse and reports of death at Freer, evidences that this is obviously not a trustworthy program.  She is also the founder of Oregon Transition HomesSarah Mack is not a licensed professional counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Lonnie Drouhard HR Director Drouhard no longer appears to work for this program.  Drouhard is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Katherine Eastlake Clinical Director Eastlake is only a licensed professional counselor.  She has only been licensed since June, 2010.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)  To become a licensed professional counselor in Oregon, one need only intern for a few hours and no actual degree in psychology or proper therapeutic training is required.  It raises serious concerns that someone with such minimal skills would be placed in the Clinical Director position.
Wren Anderson Wilderness Therapist Anderson is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Sonja Micocci Wilderness Therapist Micocci is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Melissa Proctor Wilderness Therapist Proctor is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Allison Sullivan Wilderness Therapist Sullivan is registered as a professional counselor registered intern and is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  She has been a registered intern since May 7th, 2009.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Sebastiaan Zuidweg Wilderness Therapist Zuidweg is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Allan Capp Field Guide Capp is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Ryan Demarest Field Guide Demarest is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Adam Drummer Field Guide Drummer is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Quinn Hoffman Field Guide Hoffman is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Chris Hoskins Field Guide Hoskins is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Travis Moles Field Guide Moles is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Mike Ervin Referral Agent Ervin is not a licensed counselor nor therapist in Oregon.  (Source: https://hrlb.boards.state.or.us/OBLPCT/LicenseeLookup/index.asp)
Death-- Erica Harvey (May 27th, 2002)
Death-- Corey Baines (March 26th, 2003)
Catherine Freer Wilderness uses the same Positive Control Systems' methods as Eagle Ranch Academy and WWASPS.

HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:

CATHERINE FREER'S ENROLLMENT PACKET REVIEW

HEAL has found reasons for concern with Catherine Freer's (Freer/Freer's) enrollment packet including apparent unnecessary risks and civil rights violations.  We will be alternating between "quoted text" from pages of Freer's enrollment packet (as was downloaded from cfreer.com on October 7th, 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 2)

"...ages 13 to 18 (14 to 18 in winter months), who are challenged with one or more of the following:"

"Beyond parental control"

"Experiencing low self-esteem"

"Recovering from sexual abuse"

"...some kinds of problems are inappropriate for the expeditions.  These include:"

"Such severe addictions that medically supervised detoxification is required"

"Physical conditions or diseases limiting a child's ability to safely hike up to 12 miles a day over rough terrain, carry a 45 to 50 pound backpack, or to endure extended outdoor living in cold, wet, or hot weather"

"a three-week period of intense exercise and exposure to natural weather conditions"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL has included the age-ranges to depict the minority and/or required rights of minors of the ages covered by the program. 

HEAL is concerned that a fairly long-term in a wilderness setting followed by referrals to even longer term residential treatment may imply that this is a marketing gimmick for the longer term programs.  How often does Catherine Freer keep children in their programs?  What is the average length of stay for a child in the Catherine Freer family of programs once enrolled?  Does Catherine Freer refer to unrelated programs (i.e. Aspen Education Group)?  Does Catherine Freer receive any compensation for these referrals?  All of these pose serious concerns for the ethics of the program and the marketing strategy for maximizing profits at the expense of struggling families. 

The program appears to be closer to 7-8 weeks in average length (see page 3) as opposed to the three week period referred to above.  This suggests some trickery in the marketing of the program and what to expect. 

Later on in the review we will reveal behavior modification language and focus and behavior modification is not appropriate for people with low self-esteem or whom are recovering from sexual abuse.  These methods can often create feelings of inferiority as opposed to self-confidence and it is a serious concern for both children with self-esteem issues and/or whom have been victims of abuse.  If a child is "beyond parental control", then the parent needs help likely more than the child.  Scapegoating a child by putting him/her in a program is not acceptable and parents really should consider their responsibility in being parents as opposed to paying someone to discipline their children into blind obedience.  This is a serious concern.

Freer is licensed primarily as a drug and alcohol abuse treatment program.  It is a concern that they are not qualified to provide actual addiction treatment.  This suggests that they may use fear-tactics to convince parents that children who are experimenting or maybe have tried something once or twice are addicts or prone to addiction.  This is fear-mongering and labeling a child as an addict can scar him/her for life, especially when there is no addiction.

It is a serious concern that children will be hiking up to 12 miles a day carrying 45-50 pounds on the journey.   Teenagers are still growing and such a burden and yet developing bodies can cause permanent damage.  Parents should seriously consider the long-term adverse health-effects of placing this much physical strain on their growing children.

Again, it may be more than three weeks.  According to the next page, the average length of stay is 51 days or approximately 7 and a half weeks.

Enrollment Packet (Page 3)

"$485/day plus a mandatory equipment fee of $1000.  Average length of stay is 51 days."

"There is a $150 fee for processing an application...the fee will be applied towards the tuition fee."

"A non-refundable deposit of $2,500..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL includes the above information for a few purposes.  It is clear that the 3-week stay mentioned on page two is not accurate in regards to the likely length your child will be in the program.  3-weeks is likely a minimum.  However, without the complete enrollment contract, waivers, and forms, we cannot provide further analysis. 

We include the financial information as it includes a $1000 fee for equipment.  Later in this review, we see that any equipment damaged by accident or with intent will be charged to the family.  Does this equipment fee cover normal wear and tear?  Does the $1000 equipment fee cover any amount needed in the event the "borrowed" equipment is damaged?  If not, why is there an additional equipment fee?   

Enrollment Packet (Page 4)

"We may request additional laboratory testing...if your child has:...Been sexually active and may be pregnant"

"At the end of each expedition, staff will return all medications to the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the participant, unless they are continuing in our other programs."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL finds it a concern that they do lab tests if your child has been sexually active.  In later pages, the program claims it will release these test results if they show a communicable disease such as an STD.  This is a concern and seems a bit invasive and inappropriate for a short-term program.  Why is there a concern about STDs?  Are participants likely or have participants ever had sexual relationships while in the program?  If so, with whom?  Other participants?  Why is this information necessary?

We include the second segment above to show the likelihood that Freer will refer to one of their more "long-term" programs.  This seems inappropriate and suggests that the program uses the wilderness program as a starting point for long-term quasi-illegal "incarceration" of your child.  This is a serious concern.

Enrollment Packet (Page 5)

"Assessment results provide an objective indicator of a client's capabilities and help determine a young person's best fit with schools and residential programs."

"If the first representative you speak with denies you coverage, do not give up.  Ask to speak to a supervisor.  Customer representatives rarely have the power to grant exceptions to a standard policy, which tends to include anything unusual."

"Your child will eventually get stronger as they continue to hide daily and eat a healthy diet that consists of whole grains, legumes, salami, cheese, vegetables, and fruit."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

In the first segment, it appears Freer is using the wilderness expedition as a jumping off point for long-term placement.  This is a serious concern.  Is the program supposed to help families?  Or, is it simply a marketing scheme to draw families into long-term separation and/or debt?  These are serious concerns.

The second segment above refers to how parents should address their insurance carriers.  Why would an insurance carrier deny coverage?  How often does this happen?  What is it that makes Freer "unusual"?  Do they use legitimate therapies?  According to the review below, they use "positive peer culture" which is a euphemism for confrontational therapy.  This practice is shown to be ineffective and harmful.  This is a serious concern.

Will the child's diet consist solely of the items listed?  Can that be healthy?  How much salt is in salami?  And, is this an appropriate diet over such a long stretch when the body is being horribly taxed by strenuous activity on daily basis?  These are serious concerns.

Enrollment Agreement (Page 6)

"If any item is destroyed through a willful act or by accident, we will bill the parents at the pro-rated cost."

"If you have any doubts as to whether your child might still possess drugs or cigarettes when we meet them, please let us know."

"You will then join with the other expedition participants and their families...Please be prepared for this portion of the meeting, as it is generally very emotional.  This meeting is scheduled to last most of the day and refreshments are provided."

"Towards the end of the meeting, you will have a chance to say goodbye to your child and then they and the other participants will go downstairs where they will have their photograph taken for their file, will undergo a search to ensure they don't have any drugs or paraphernalia on their person..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL includes the first segment above to show that parents appear to be billed in addition to the $1000 equipment fee for any item destroyed by willful act or by accident.  Does the $1000 equipment fee insure families against such incidents?  Or, is that considered a separate fee?

It appears that this program requires a "strip search".  This is a concern as it has been decided by the US Supreme Court that children should not be subjected to strip searches by school/program personnel.  This is a serious concern as it implies that children who have been enrolled because of non-drug-related issues are subject to such searches and this would be a civil rights violation.

The initial family "seminar"/meeting sounds as if it may be intended to stir emotions in the families who participate.  This is a concern as many of the programs in this industry use basic behavior modification methods, even with the parents.  Much of the information on this program sounds similar to a Straight, Inc. model.  And, Straight, Inc. was confirmedly abusive.

Enrollment Packet (Page 7)

"A second family meeting takes place at the end of Phase I (day 21)."

"At this family meeting, participants openly share with their families and begin accepting their love and concern.  Participants reveal long-held secrets that are painful, shameful, or frightening to disclose with families."

"Contact with medical personnel is limited to emergency situations...This is at the discretion of qualified staff rather than participants."

"It is helpful for you and other family members to write one or more letters to your child during the expedition.  Please do not send more than two letters per family member during Phase I (first three weeks)...During Phase II of the program, participants and family members have the opportunity to write and receive letters from family on a weekly basis."

"...visits from family members are not possible.  Your assigned coordinating therapist will update you with information regarding your child's experience."

"Occasionally we see clients who are slow to progress and who do not make the most of Phase I of our expedition (first three weeks).  In these cases, we consider lengthening their stay to provide them with additional structured time and individualized treatment.  This is an opportunity to "begin again" for either two or three more weeks..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Programs in this industry often require children to fabricate and embellish their "histories" in order to aid in the marketing of the program and help in convincing parents that the decision to place the child was warranted as well as to achieve a foundation for convincing the parents that long-term placement is necessary.  This is typically a marketing ploy and very damaging to the children who are forced to make these "false confessions".  This is a serious concern.

One of our coordinators was told by the wilderness program he was in that he would not be approved to go home by the director unless he helped convince his parents to enroll one of his siblings.  This is a serious concern and shows a profit motive as opposed to a desire to help struggling families.

It is a serious concern that emergency medical care is left to the discretion of personnel.  Children in wilderness programs have reported serious injuries including frost-bite that almost resulted in loss of appendages.  This is a serious concern.  In addition, many children have died, and children have died in Freer's programs.  This is a serious concern.

It is interesting that they encourage letter writing when they don't give the letters to the children until the night before the second family meeting (discussed below).  The communications and visitation black-out is a serious concern.

Programs typically use "starting over" as a punishment for children in the program.  Often, this is a ploy used to keep the children in the program longer in order to keep raking in the money.  These are serious concerns.

Enrollment Packet (Page 8)

"At our outdoor therapeutic school, your child can resume academic study and continue their therapeutic growth in a positive peer culture consisting of students who have shared similar experiences, knowledge, and insight..."

"This program is ideal for adolescents who do not require the intensity of a residential treatment program, but, who would not likely make appropriate behavior changes if they returned home."

"Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

The first segment above refers to the Santiam Crossing School, a Freer program.  HEAL has included this segment to point out that this program uses the "positive peer culture" model which is also known as "confrontational therapy" and has been found to be ineffective and harmful to participants.  This is a serious concern.

The second segment above refers to the Oregon Transition Homes and sounds like "foster families" for your child.  Your child belongs with his/her family.  And, these extended programs tend to only benefit the bottom-lines of the programs, not the families who pay them.

The Joint Commission has been under fire by Congress for failing to enforce patient safety standards.

Enrollment Packet (Page 9)

"...certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC)"

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

The State of Oregon does not require CADC counselors to have even an associate's degree.  This is a serious concern.  Washington used to require counselors of this type to take a 4-hour HIV/AIDS sensitivity class in order to be certified.  The certification standards of Oregon are more extensive as they include 1,000 hours of supervised counseling (acting as an intern under the supervision of someone who is certified).  However, it is a sketchy issue and is not persuasive as to the skill level or expertise of counselors in the Freer programs.  This is a concern.

Enrollment Packet (Page 10)

"It is the responsibility of the therapist or his/her designee to ensure that each resident has received, as soon as feasible during the expedition, and understands these rights; and to document in the progress notes that this has taken place by placement of signed copies of the rights in the resident's chart.  Copies of the resident rights, rules of the program, and responsibilities of the residents are carried by staff and are available to residents at their request."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL's concern is that a copy of the rights isn't given and entrusted to individual residents along with the program's rules.  Depending on the atmosphere, a child may not feel comfortable or may fear punishment if seeking to review the rights, rules, and grievance procedures.  This is a serious concern given the length of time the child will be cut-off from communication with the outside world.  Also, under what circumstances do children sign copies of their rights?  Are they given a fair opportunity to review and understand the rights?  And, as will be discussed later, the program can be involuntary.  And, this implies certain rights are being violated by the very nature of the program.  These are serious concerns.

Enrollment Packet (Page 11)

"Information about communicable diseases that have significant public health implications, including HIV/AIDS, is reported to Linn County, Oregon."

"One of the goals of the program is to rebuild trust in families by removing the barriers created by lies and secrets."

"A reasonable attempt will be made to obtain informed consent from residents at the earliest opportunity following admission."

"Risks that may be involved in the training or treatment"

"It is important you understand that there are risks, and that some risks simply cannot be eliminated.  Some adventure programs say that they can guarantee your safety.  Catherine Freer Programs do not.  The risk of injury, even serious injury or death, is unavoidable in the outdoor environment in which we operate."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

HEAL includes the first segment to show that they are testing for STDs, not just pregnancy as the initial pages imply.  It suggests the earlier mention of lab tests is not inclusive of or explicative of the intent of these tests.  That is why we asked the questions we did in previous segments.

"It is a concern that the program implies that there have been secrets and lies.  Low self-esteem and being a victim of abuse do not normally imply dishonesty nor secrecy.  If the children in the program are all assumed to be liars, which is often the case in behavior modification programs, it is a serious concern and suggests the child's words will not be treated with the respect and dignity the program claims to espouse.

Children have died in Freer programs.  This is a serious and real risk.  Parents should really consider this before subjecting their child to an environment where there is no escape and a real risk of serious injury or death.

Enrollment Agreement (Page 12)

"Some residents enter treatment willingly and others are brought to treatment against their will...Those who indicate a desire to leave the program will not be given the opportunity."

"Searches are conducted for the purpose of providing a drug free environment."

"A written, dated and signed informed consent form shall be obtained from the resident, the resident's family or the resident's legal guardian, as appropriate, for participation in any research program, for photographs which may be used in the program's brochures, or for photos or quotations which might be used for marketing the program..."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Placing children in a confined environment, an environment with no escape and with no contact with the outside world, is cruel and detrimental to the children.  It is also a violation of the child's rights of personal liberty.  In the Milonas and Rice, et al v. Provo Canyon School case, the federal court found that parents do not have the right to violate their children's due process/constitutional rights by confining them to residential programs.  This is a serious concern.

We mentioned above that strip searches are a violation of children's civil rights when done without probable cause and by unauthorized parties.  This is a serious concern.

It is also a serious concern that the program engages in experimental therapies, research, and/or uses the child's photo and statements in promotional materials for the purposes of marketing.  These all appear to be unethical in respect to the real privacy rights of the child.

Enrollment Agreement (Page 13)

"The Catherine Freer treatment philosophy includes personal solitude, and time alone is usually plentiful."

"Privacy for dressing, cleansing, elimination, and self-care is largely determined by the resident's own efforts.   Residents will be instructed how to communicate their need for privacy, and on the actions they must take to have privacy."

"When a participant engages in inappropriate behaviors, the primary goal of behavioral support is to assist the client in regaining self-control as an integrated part of the overall individualized treatment plan.  As such, pre-approved behavioral support interventions will be used to control problem behaviors.  Use of non-approved interventions will be reviewed for appropriateness and action by the Clinical Department."

"Clients will not have the opportunity to work for remuneration...Some expeditions involve contributing service work such as trail maintenance or trash cleanup."

"Catherine Freer Wilderness Therapy Programs has an established complaint procedure that is available to participants and families upon request."

HEAL's Questions/Concerns

Are children left alone in the wilderness?  Are they placed in any form of solitary confinement or isolation?  If so, for how long does this usually last?  These are serious concerns as isolation has been shown to be psychologically harmful.

In the second segment, it sounds as if children need to "earn the privilege" of bathing or going to the "bathroom" in private.  This is a serious concern as it can re-traumatize sexual abuse victims, and is inappropriate for any program claiming to treat victims of sexual abuse.

The third segment again eludes to the fact that Freer is a behavior modification program.  This is a serious concern.  Please see our e-book on behavior modification and what it actually is so you can make informed decisions for your family.  How often are "non-approved interventions" used and how often do they result in disciplinary action, if deemed inappropriate?  What are these "interventions" and how often is restraint used or the use of pressure points or other "torture" techniques imposed to enforce compliance with the program? 

Does Freer benefit financially from the services provided by participants?  Why are participants working without compensation?  What lesson is gained from this?  Children and teenagers need to be encouraged to stand up for their rights and demand fair compensation for their labor.  This is the only way to insure they won't be taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers.

What is the complaint procedure?  Is it primarily "in-house"?  And, does it require a span of time over 72-hours before it is reported to proper authorities, if necessary?  Many programs in this industry require an internal review of complaints that can take over 2 weeks.  This is a serious concern because if a child is being abused, law enforcement will not typically be notified in order to protect the program's financial interests.  This is a serious concern. 

There have been at least two deaths at Catherine Freer programs.  They are clear about this risk in the literature.  And, given the other issues raised in this review, HEAL would recommend you not place your child in the Freer programs.

Survivor E-mail:

From: [removed]
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 9:55 AM
To: heal@u.washington.edu
Subject: I want to help protect my liberty and the liberty of others.

Hey Angela...
I too am a product of a "behavior modification program" - My parents and a counselor from Catherine Freer Wilderness Program hog tied me (literally) and transported me to the middle of nowhere for 40 days when I was 15 - had my 16th birthday in the Marble Mountains of California.  The things I could tell you - and the things it has done to my psyche, even now...I want to know how I can help you.  I am 28 years old now, and still having nightmares.  The kids I went out with - all "grown up" now - have been in and out of prison, institutions...I am the luckiest one, by far. 
I am currently enrolled in community college, getting ready to transfer somewhere to complete my degree so I can work with adolescents in some capacity that actually helps them (and their parents, so they don't react like mine!).
I look forward to hearing from you.

[removed]

Concerned Citizen E-mail:

From: [removed]
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 9:34 PM
To: heal@heal-online.org
Subject: Re: Catherine Freer

Some things you might like to know about Catherine Freer Wilderness
 
Cooley claims that teens are not denied food, sleep, or clothing; but in 1991 said this about the program:  Living in a small group under natural primitive conditions soon brings a change in perception: if I don't cook I DON'T EAT; if we don't all hike well, we don't get to the next food drop on schedule and go on SHORT RATIONS FOR A DAY OR TWO; if we don't attend carefully to demonstrations on EDIBLE PLANTS, a CONSTANT DIET OF LENTILS AND RICE gets pretty dull; if we don't help each other with camping and setting up shelters, a WET, COLD NIGHT SHIVERING BY THE FIRE may result.

http://www.strugglingteens.com/archives/1991/8/np01.html

 

A hiker's description of the 'food':

6/1996 He told us what he hated the most...THE FOOD...he was sick and tired of eating oatmeal or cream of wheat for breakfast and pinto beans and rice for dinner at night...every day...for three weeks. The "good food" was their lunch with cheeses, crackers, oranges, and apples. They were supplied every week and the kids would carry their lunch supplies and ration it to themselves. Well, you know what happened in the first week...the kids pretty much ATE THEIR WEEK'S SUPPLY OF LUNCH IN THE FIRST DAY OR TWO.... 

http://www.strugglingteens.com/archives/1996/6/oe06.html

 

Another quote by Cooley:

0/2000  Out here they have to do it. They have to hike. They have to cook and set up their [tents]. Here, if you DON'T START A FIRE, YOU DON'T EAT FOOD.

http://influx.uoregon.edu/2000/therapy/therapy2.html (Link down- no longer works)

 

In Aug 2000 Cooley claims: No responsible program has experienced a client death. Four young people died in three different outdoor treatment programs in the last 10 years; for those three programs, the fatality rate was very high indeed. The three programs were all fairly recent start-ups, and had some other fairly apparent characteristics in common. The lesson here is that referral sources and parents need to be careful about the wilderness programs (as well as other programs) to whom they send children.

http://www.strugglingteens.com/opinion/OBHICincident.html

 

--Not true. This is a gross misrepresentation of the deaths that have occurred in wilderness programs.

Between 1992 and Aug 2002 there were 14 deaths. If you include boot camps, which are outdoor programs the number of deaths increases to 24. The number is higher still, if you include the residential (non wilderness) program deaths.

Prior to 1992 there were 14. Since Aug 2002 there have been 3- Ironically 2 at his facility.  That's a total of 41 deaths in wilderness programs !!!

 

5/23/2002 ABC Primetime features CF. Fours days later Erica Harvey dies in program.

http://www.strugglingteens.com/archives/2002/7/seennheard.html

 

5/27/2002   A 15-yr-old Arizona girl, Erica Harvey, died May 27, Paul Smith, prog dir, history of substance abuse and may have had a congenital heart defect.
http://www.strugglingteens.com/seennheard/index.html

 

6/21/2002  CF based in Albany, Oregon;  Hiking in Tonopah, Nev when death occured

http://www.oregonlive.com/morenews/oregonian/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news/1024660583260290.xml

 

6/27/2002 Press Release for ST

http://www.strugglingteens.com/news/cfpressrelease.html

 

--Confidentially speaking, there may have been another death in Oct 02, but I'm not at liberty to speak about it. It shouldn't be mentioned now, but I will pass along information if it ever becomes available.

 

7/21/2002  After two recent deaths in Ut (Lank, August), Cooley said wilderness therapy was about as dangerous as whitewater rafting. Downhill skiers, he said, are three times as likely to get hurt as wilderness therapy participants.

The treatment is less likely to result in death or injury than driving a car or playing sports

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/nation/stories/072102dnnatwildernessdog.49fae.html

 

CF has taken down the page on the Study of Risks associated with Wilderness that Cooley used to claim that wilderness programs are safer than daily teen activities.

http://www.cfreer.com/risk_by_rob.htm (Link no longer works)

 

OBHIC Study

http://www.strugglingteens.com/opinion/OBHICincident.html

 

1/2003 CF selected as one of the nationís top teen drug treatment providers according to Drug Strategies, a Washington, DC-based non-profit research institute.

http://www.strugglingteens.com/archives/2003/2/feb03seennheard.html

Two months later Corey Baines dies.

 

3/2003 Corey Baines killed by fallen tree branch.

http://www.registerguard.com/news/2003/03/28/c2.cr.wildernessdeath.0328.html

 

1/2004 Cooley chairs the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Industry Council (OBHIC), the organization for a number of wilderness programs.

http://www.strugglingteens.com/archives/2004/3/mar04seennheard.html

 

 Last Updated: January 6th, 2012

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