This is a staff list for Harbor House in Norwalk, OH
(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)
THIS PROGRAM IS CLOSED.
We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at Harbor House. 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 Harbor House, you have the right to take action.
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Harbor House, please contact firstname.lastname@example.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.
HEAL recommends you do not place your child at Harbor House and remove your child if she is there now.
|Doug Eberle||Houseparent/Director||Eberle is not a licensed counselor, social worker, therapist, nor medical doctor in OH. Source: https://license.ohio.gov/lookup/default.asp|
|Karla Eberle||Houseparent/Founder||Eberle is not a licensed counselor, social worker, therapist, nor medical doctor in OH. Source: https://license.ohio.gov/lookup/default.asp|
|Bill Rieth||Chairman||Rieth is not a licensed counselor, social worker, therapist, nor medical doctor in OH. Source: https://license.ohio.gov/lookup/default.asp|
|Hal Hoover||Vice-Chair||Hoover is not a licensed counselor, social worker, therapist, nor medical doctor in OH. Source: https://license.ohio.gov/lookup/default.asp|
|(Harbor House, 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.)|
HEAL Preliminary Findings: Review of
Form and Resident
Pre-Application Form Concerns
On page 1 of the pre-application, an application fee of $100 is required to hold a spot for an applicant. We include this only to highlight one of the fees associated with this program. Also, on page 1, Harbor House requests information on who referred the family to the program. This is a mild concern as many programs in this industry provide compensation to referrers and this practice of "kickbacks" is unethical and leads to inappropriate referrals.
Also, on page 1, the program requires the date of birth and social security numbers for both parents of the girl that would be entering the program. Identity theft is a serious concern and other programs in this industry have reportedly misused such information. We do not mean to imply that Harbor House misuses such information. However, most programs do not require such information in their pre-application forms and it seems highly unusual to require such information from families who have yet to enter into any agreement with the program. Even in most contracts, date of birth and social security number for parents is not required and this seems a tad intrusive and violative of privacy concerns.
On page 2, the form includes a "check box" for "negative (not pregnant)". Since this program is supposedly only for pregnant teens, it is strange that they would include a check box for a girl who is not pregnant. Does this program accept girls who are not pregnant and, if not, why is this included on the application form?
Also, on page 2, the program inquires as to a history of abortions obtained by the pregnant girl and asks for the father's desire for the pregnancy (abortion, adoption, parenting). It also asks for the mother's desire for the pregnancy outcome. It is inappropriate for parents to be making these decisions or influencing or pressuring pregnant girls into making decisions they may later regret. This is a serious concern and shows a lack of respect to the girl facing pregnancy and important life decisions.
On page 3, the form inquires about church participation and affiliation. Since this is a "faith-based" program, it is not unusual to inquire about such things. But, it is a concern that the program is highly religious and may use coercive methods to "convert" youths to a particular faith.
Also, on page 3, the form asks for information on the father of the baby and what his wishes are in regards to the baby. This would be reasonable if the program planned to respect the father of the baby and the relationship between the young adults who are in this situation. However, the program denies the father involvement or presence even at time of delivery of the baby, and, for this reason this inquiry by the program raises additional concerns.
Resident Handbook (aka Residential Handbook)
On page 2, the program claims to provide "Christ-centered family living for pregnant girls". However, there seems to be nothing Christian about how the girls are treated once in the program and Christ would likely be appalled by the practices in place and the limitations on family/friend involvement explored in the rest of the handbook review.
On page 3, quoted:
"Residents are required to pay a $100.00 processing fee prior to admission."
"When entering the program you will not be allowed telephone contact with anyone for 14 days (two full weeks)."
"When entering the program, the first visit will not occur until a minimum of three full weeks (21 days) have elapsed, and may be longer if a discipline issue arises in the interim."
"$5,000.00 per month"
We include the processing fee information above, again, only to highlight one of the additional fees associated with the program.
It is a serious concern that telephone contact and visits are not allowed during the beginning phases of the program. This is a warning sign of an abusive program. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for more information and important questions you should ask any program you consider for your child or your family.
$5,000.00 per month to have your pregnant daughter treated with disrespect and as a slave by under-qualified personnel and to attend an unlicensed school/program, is extremely excessive and cause for serious concern.
On page 4, quoted:
"All bags, suitcases, knapsacks, packages, and rooms are subject to inspection by the Harbor House staff at any time, if deemed necessary without prior notice."
"Harbor House is not responsible for damaged or stolen personal property brought to the premises."
"When in doubt, it is the responsibility of the resident to ask a house parent about the appropriateness of any activity or behavior."
"Residents who have not graduated from high school and who have not been accepted into our GED program are required to take classes with Harbor House teachers instructing."
"If a resident believes that her legal rights have been violated, she should request an appointment with the Executive Director."
"Incoming and outgoing mail may be read and confiscated without prior notice."
It is a serious concern that staff can rifle through the belongings of any resident at any time and steal whatever they wish without fear of repercussion.
It is a serious concern that fear and intimidation/punishment/coercion (see below) is used to enforce arbitrary rules that may change at any time at the whim of staff.
It is a serious concern that "retired teachers" and/or unlicensed professionals are providing "educational" services. Parents should inquire if credits earned at this so-called in-house school are transferrable to legitimate schools.
It is a serious concern that residents are not given an opportunity or outlet to contact legitimate authorities in the event their rights are being violated and that the grievance process requires an appointment be requested with the Executive Director who has every reason to cover up wrongdoing. $5000 a month is an excellent incentive to avoid prosecution and use force, threats, or coercion to prevent a girl from reporting abuses to legitimate authorities.
Reading incoming and outgoing mail is a federal law violation. This was decided in the Milonas and Rice v. Provo Canyon School lawsuit by a federal court. The fact that this program is open about violating these privacy laws is a serious concern and suggests other illegal practices may be commonplace at this program.
On page 5, quoted:
"Babies are delivered at Coldwater (Ohio) Community Hospital for Mercer County home and Fisher Titus (Norwalk) Hospital for the Huron County home. Residents generally stay at the hospital 24 hours, and then are released to Harbor House until dismissal from the program."
"Only females are permitted as coaches (boyfriends may not be coaches)."
We have included the above to highlight that there are 2 locations used for this program and to expose that Harbor House exercises extreme control over the girls, keeping them in the program even after delivery and allowing them to leave the program only when approved by the program. This is a great way for the program to rake in more money from families seeking help. Such money would be better spent for college tuition, start-up independent living costs, or childcare for the new family member.
We included the second quote to show that boyfriend's/fathers of the babies are not allowed to participate in the pregnancy or birth of their own children. This is a serious concern.
On page 6, quoted:
"All girls must attend (at least weekly) a church that conforms to our doctrinal statement of faith."
"To assure attendance, a church bulletin is required if a resident chooses to attend a church other than that of the house parents."
"We believe in the resurrection of the body of the saved and lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation."
"This school, which is held on-site, will be taught by licensed and/or retired teachers."
"All residents must have their counselor's approval for GED participation."
It is a concern that this program preaches sin and damnation. It is a concern that this program would subject pregnant girls to abuse and/or ridicule for their "sins" and cause horrible stresses to pregnant girls who have been virtually abandoned by their families.
The school is unlicensed and unregulated. Parents should ask for proof of the qualifications of all teachers and staff working with their children.
It is a concern that "counselors" need to approve a girl's participation in educational pursuits and suggests that such must be "earned" by the girl. This is a disgusting practice in place at many programs in this industry.
On page 7, quoted:
"Exercise, sewing, crafts and training classes are offered. Residents are expected to attend...Occasionally there will be envelope stuffing and the putting on of labels for bulk mailings."
"Homework is to be checked by house parents Friday by 4:00 p.m. to assure visits. Homework will be done to an adequate degree, house-parents discretion."
"Residents who have graduated from high school or have received a GED certificate and wish to enroll in college classes or correspondence courses may do so."
"Maternity wear is required at all times once entered into the program."
"Outgoing mail may be given to the housemother...Stamps are available for purchase in the Executive Director's office, or from the houseparents."
It appears from the above that the girls are required to provide free labor for fundraising and other purposes (bulk mail preparation) for the program. This is a serious concern. If families are paying $5000/mo for the program, the program should have ample resources to pay staff to take care of office work. And, slave labor is not okay.
What is meant by "homework"? Is it legitimate? These are serious concerns given that this is an unlicensed program/school (see below).
How often do girls in the program enroll in college courses and are they allowed to attend college off-site? It does not appear that this would be the case given the other "rules" in the handbook. This is a serious concern and suggests deception. Deception is not a Christian value.
What does the program mean by "maternity wear"?
Are families allowed to provide stationery and stamps to their daughters? If not, why not?
On page 10, quoted:
"You may not bring a portable TV, stereo, head set, or radio and alarm clock combination. An alarm clock will be provided and we have piped-in music."
"Males are not allowed in residential rooms."
What kind of music is piped-in to the rooms? Music can be used to torture and brainwash. This is a serious concern.
It is understandable that males would not be allowed into residential rooms. Are father's of residents allowed to see the rooms? If not, why not?
On page 11, quoted:
"Chore List and Descriptions"
"All chores must be completed by 8:30am every day."
The chore list (see Resident Handbook link at top of review) is excessive and slavish. These girls have been abandoned by their families and left to the care of those who only wish to exploit their circumstances. This is a serious concern.
On page 12, quoted:
"The floor is to be swept and mopped (on hands and knees) daily."
"You will participate in the daily food preparation."
Seriously, this program forces pregnant girls to scrub floors on their hands and knees daily. This is obscene. Any parent who would subject their pregnant daughter to such treatment should be in jail for abandonment, neglect, and abuse.
It is not unreasonable to expect girls to participate, clean up after themselves (reasonably), and help in food preparation. But, why is the cost so high for a program that works the girls like slaves and provides no legitimate educational or therapeutic services? Parents should be smarter than this and shouldn't be putting their daughters in such an exploitative environment, especially in their condition.
On page 13, quoted:
"There should be no noise upstairs in the bedroom area after 8:30pm."
"Bedtime during the week is 9:00pm with the lights turned out by 9:00pm."
"There will be fire drills monthly. You never know when there drill is a real fire. You are required to evacuate the building as soon as possible."
"We prefer that each resident spend only 15 minutes in the bath and all other care to be done in her room."
We have included the above to highlight portions of the schedule and to show the limitations on bathroom use. This is a concern because pregnancy comes with diverse effects that can include discomfort, sleeplessness, exhaustion, frequent need to eliminate waste, and other issues that may result in being out of bed after "bedtime". Since such an incident would be a rule violation and result in punishment, this is a serious concern. Young girls who are pregnant do not need to be traumatized during pregnancy. Such treatment is bad for the girl and for the fetus. These are serious concerns.
On page 14, quoted:
"Any staff member may issue a demerit to a resident for not following any of the house guidelines."
"Set of Three Demerits"
"An extra hour of work will be given once a resident has received her first demerit."
"After the first set of three demerits, one visit will be lost, in addition to the additional work being completed. NO PHONE PRIVILEGES WILL BE ALLOWED UNTIL THE DAY AFTER ALL DEMERITS ARE WORKED OFF."
"For every one demerit after the first set of three one visit will automatically lost in addition to the loss of phone privileges as well as the extra work load."
"The acquiring of three demerits for negative attitude in conduct, gestures, or conversation."
"Disrespectful conduct, profanity, gestures, action, or conversation toward staff members, guests, or other residents."
The above system of demerits and the use of extra work/labor given to pregnant girls whose bodies are undergoing enough strain without such punishment is in itself evidence of abuse in HEAL's opinion. Beyond this, the fact that visits and phone "privileges" (including talking with family) are denied as a result of minor and subjectively determined "negative attitude" issues, are symptomatic of an abusive program. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for more information.
On page 15, quoted:
"One or more of the following consequences will be issued for any of the above offenses, or for behavior of equivalent severity, whether listed or not:
"In-room restriction or restriction to a clinic room."
"Loss of passes"
"Loss of phone privileges"
"Any other appropriate penalty"
"Complaining or arguing about a demerit when it is given will result in an additional demerit."
"Harbor House reserves the right to alter any policy or rule at any time."
"Boyfriends cannot be coaches for the girls in delivery."
"Phones are available on the house parents' floor for residents to use."
"There will be no outgoing calls initiation by resident. Please arrange a time with your daughter to all so that it will not conflict with her program schedule here."
The above further highlights the overly controlling and dominating nature of this program. This program also uses isolation as a punishment. This is a serious concern.
It is a concern that if a girl wants clarification or believes she is being treated unfairly that she is further punished for "questioning authority". Girls should be encouraged to speak up for themselves and others when there is a perceived wrong and to punish them for doing so is abusive. It also further suggests that this is a behavior modification program as opposed to a maternity home for pregnant girls. For more information on behavior modification, see www.heal-online.org/ebook.pdf.
The arbitrary changing of policies or rules creates confusion and frustration. Young people need consistency and stability. Arbitrary rule changes used to break the spirit of youth in any program are abusive and result in a variety of issues including anxiety and trust-related issues. This is a serious concern for anyone who cares about youth and especially in regards to pregnant girls. The babies can and will be harmed by subjecting their mothers to cruel treatment during pregnancy. This is a serious concern.
The girls are not permitted to use the phone and can only receive incoming calls scheduled and approved by staff. This is a serious concern because the girls will not be able to report abuse to authorities. Since the language of the handbook alone includes and suggests illegal and violative program guidelines, this is a serious concern and puts these girls in harm's way. Good parents would not subject their pregnant daughters to such an environment.
On page 16, quoted:
"Time limits of 15 minutes are necessary, depending on availability of in-house phones. There is only one phone per resident per phone day. There are also no phone privileges if client has a visit that day."
"Girls will only be able to accept incoming calls from males as we do not support girls calling males."
"All calls will be monitored, usually via speaker phone depending on location maybe staff will just in the same room with the resident."
"There are designated visiting areas for all visitors. Visitors are not allowed in the residential wing."
The program doesn't allow the girls to make outgoing calls, period. This just reiterates the policy. And, this policy is a serious concern. The fact that all calls are monitored is another warning sign of an abusive program. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for more information.
Why are visitors not allowed in the residential wing? What is the program hiding? Can parents visit their child's room and check it out or inspect the premises? This seems unnecessarily secretive on the part of the program and raises additional concerns.
On page 17, quoted:
"Every visit will begin with a counseling session."
"We do not allow the girls to return home, except in cases of extreme emergency, such as a death in the family."
"Harbor House reserves the right to deny any visit we deem unsafe or emotionally detrimental to the resident, regardless of whether or not parental permission has been granted."
"All visits must be approved by 12:00 noon Thursday prior to the visit."
Are the counselors qualified? Do they have legitimate training and degrees? Are they properly licensed? These are all questions families should be asking this unlicensed program.
The fact that they do not allow home visits suggests a cult-like as opposed to "therapeutic" environment. This is a serious concern.
Harbor House should not be allowed to over-ride parental wishes or authority. This is a serious concern. It is as emotionally harmful to approve a visit from family, just to take it away on a whim as any parental approved visit could possible be and the language suggests a controlling and manipulative system in the program itself. This is a serious concern.
On page 18, quoted:
"You may not use any telephone while out of the house."
"You may not mail any mail while out of the house."
The extreme controls placed on the girls' ability to communicate with the outside world is a repeated violation and serious concern. The only reason for controlling communications to such an extent is to prevent the reporting of abuse in a timely manner to authorities so investigation and prosecution of such abuse can be successful. This is a serious concern.
On page 19, quoted:
"Resident may only be checked out of the program by the custodial parent who signed them into the program."
"A resident leaving Harbor House prior to delivery must have all discipline taken care of and be in good standings with school."
This is absurd. This program has no business demanding that their arbitrary rules and "discipline" be "taken care of" prior to a girl leaving the program. They are making $5000/mo. off of keeping girls as long as possible. This is a serious concern and with the rest of the review considered, HEAL concludes this program is unethical, harmful to pregnant girls, and in need of closure.
We recommend you do not subject any child to this program and rescue anyone currently at the program (i.e. cult/scam).
|"High school, junior high and GED (high school equivalency) courses are all available through Harbor Christian School, an on-premises ACSI non-chartered and unlicensed private school." (from harborhouse.org on October 22nd, 2010) It is a serious concern that they operate as an unlicensed school. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for why this is a serious concern.|
|Police Call Log Against Harbor House includes reports of fraud and child abuse.|
HEAL UPDATE: July 20th, 2016
Harbor House appears to have been licensed previously as a maternity home. But, the licensing office shows that it is closed and has been since 2007. Why is this program still operating if it was closed and hasn't been licensed since 2007?
The above location and name is the only facility associated with this program that HEAL found to have ever held any proper residential treatment or maternity home licensing in Ohio.
Harbor House is not a licensed child care group home nor does it appear to hold any other type of child care licensing in Ohio. Source: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/cdc/query.asp
Now, there is a Harbor House in Yellow Springs, OH that is a licensed residential treatment facility.
Harbor House #06-1835
RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT FACILITY
619 XENIA AVENUE
YELLOW SPRINGS, 45387
Contact: , EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Family Survey Coordinator:
Resident Survey Coordinator:
However, the above named program in Yellow Springs only has the one location in Yellow Springs and is not associated with the Harbor House maternity programs in Celina and Norwalk. Source: http://harbor-house.yellow-springs.oh.amfibi.directory/us/c/11275488-harbor-house
So, that means Harbor House is not a licensed residential group home, treatment center, nor maternity home in Ohio. It is also not licensed as a residential facility for the Developmentally Disabled. Source: http://providersearch.dodd.ohio.gov/provider_search.aspx.
Ohio does exempt faith-based programs and services from regulation and oversight. They also do not hold those who abuse in the name of God to the same standard as those who abuse with some other unjustifiable excuse.
Ohio Law States:
"It is not a violation of a duty of care, protection, or support under this division when the parent, guardian, custodian, or person having custody or control of a child treats the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body." Source: 2919.22 Endangering children
"(B) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as subjecting a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to criminal liability when, solely in the practice of religious beliefs, the parent, guardian, or custodian fails to provide adequate medical or surgical care or treatment for the child." Source: 2151.03 Neglected child defined – failure to provide medical or surgical care for religious reasons
HEAL volunteers submitted a complaint to the Ohio Attorney General and licensing agencies in Ohio demanding they investigate and close down this facility on July 20th, 2016. We cited the above facts and more in our request. We will keep you posted...
|UPDATE: February 14th, 2020: HEAL Volunteers sought to contact Harbor House to inquire about their program further and found the website was gone and for sale and phone disconnected. So, we've concluded it is closed and likely was closed in 2016.|
February 14th, 2020
Last Updated: February 14th, 2020