This is a staff list for Heritage House in Provo, UT
(a.k.a. The Heritage Schools)
(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 Heritage 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 Heritage House, you have the right to take action.†
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Heritage 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.
Please donít place your loved one in The Heritage Schools and rescue them if they are there now.
|Jerry Spanos||Founder||Trustee of the Board of Directors to this day (August, 2009). Founded the program in 1984. Spanos is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Mary Ann Smith||Admissions Director||HEAL requires Mary Ann Smith's license number (should any exist) in order to verify as multiple individuals with that name have various licenses in cosmetology, etc.|
|Susie Fell||Admissions||Fell is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Rosemary Rivest||Nursing Director||Rivest is not a licensed nurse in Utah and has not been licensed in Utah since 2011. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Brenda Norman||Research Coordinator||Norman is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Carol Dean||Admissions||Dean is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah (2013). Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|(Dr.) E. Mark Bezzant||Board of Directors||Bezzant is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Stevenson G. Smith||Board of Directors||Smith is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Patricia L.Davis||Trustee||HEAL requires Patricia L. Davis's license number (should any exist) in order to verify as multiple individuals with that name have various licenses in burglary alarms, security, etc.|
|Edith Mitko||Trustee||Mitko is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Glen R. Zaugg||CEO/Secretary||Zaugg is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Jeremy Brown||CFO||Brown is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Ernie Taylor||Clinical Director||Ernie C. Taylor (may be a different person) is a licensed clinical social worker in Utah and has been since 1992. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Anneta Conder||HR Director||Conder is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Utah. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|Chris Johstoneaux||Business Developm't||Johstoneaux is a licensed clinical social worker in Utah and has been since 2010. Source: https://secure.utah.gov/llv/search/index.html|
|OTHER||OTHER||This program is endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security. Why is the Department of Homeland Security accrediting treatment programs? Please see www.domesticpredators.com.|
|Survivor--Kendra Connors (reported on Close Provo Canyon School petition signature)|
|Survivor--Miranda Taylor (reported on Close Provo Canyon School petition signature)|
|Survivor--Verdie Cook Salas (reported on Close Provo Canyon School petition signature)|
|HEAL has received 17 reports from victims and families via e-mail regarding the conditions at Heritage School/Heritage House.|
One: By Anonymous parent
(Parent Requested Public Anonymity--Source Verified)
(Parent Requested Public Anonymity--Source Verified)
DECLARATION UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY
PURSUANT TO 28 USCA 1746
I, _____ [Anonymous]_____________, declare and state as follows:
1. [Heritage Boarding School]..
5600 N. Heritage School Drive
2. [Provo, Utah 84604
4. [Physical abuse to my daughter from staff leaving mark(s)]
I give HEAL permission to use this statement. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on ______8/31/_____________, 2008.
SPECIAL NOTE: STATUTE DOES
NOT REQUIRE NOTARY]
Contact us for information on submitting your own declaration/statement: email@example.com
HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:
HERITAGE SCHOOLS' ENROLLMENT AGREEMENT REVIEW
HEAL has found multiple problems with Heritage Schools, Inc.'s (Heritage/Heritage's) enrollment agreement including apparent unconscionable terms and contradictory terms leaving us to believe that Heritage is running a money-making scam on families in need of assistance. We will be alternating between "quoted text" from pages of Heritage Schools, Inc.'s enrollment agreement (as was retrieved from heritagertc.org on October 8th, 2010) and HEAL's questions/concerns. (Included in this review are the Data Sheet and Application.) 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.
DATA SHEET (page 1)
"Heritage is a non-profit...for adolescents ages 12 to 18..."
"Average length of stay is 14 months. Minimum length of stay is six months."
"Heritage typically works with clients who are experiencing one or more of the following: ....Psychotic Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Aspergers, Learning Disorders, Identity Disorder...and Conduct Disorder."
Heritage claims to operate as a non-profit. However, HEAL has been unable to ascertain any financial data on this program and therefore believes it should be investigated to insure legitimacy of practices and procedures.
We have included the age range and average length/minimum length of stay for information purposes only. We may refer back to the above information. It is a concern that a child would spend 14 months on average in such an environment.
HEAL would like parents to make note that this program claims to treat children with psychotic disorders and to use potent anti-psychotic drugs on children in their care. In many programs, anti-psychotic medications are misused on non-psychotic individuals and this may be a point of concern for families considering Heritage.
In addition, the program mentions conduct disorder twice and attempts to treat children with Aspergers, who typically need a very set limit of unexpected stimuli to remain functional, in a shared environment with psychotics who, by the very nature of their diagnoses, are prone to unlimited and unexpected outbursts. At best, it shows irresponsibility on the part of the program in housing children with such diverse needs in closed quarters. This is a concern.
DATA SHEET (page 2)
"The on-campus education program..."
"Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)"
"Our educational program is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, and earned credits are transferable to other schools and colleges."
"Heritage holds memberships in and/or affiliates with various local and national organizations."
"Heritage networks with private practitioners, educational consultants, agencies, and other treatment programs to arrange for appropriate after-care and continuity of treatment."
"Fostering spiritual growth is a keystone in the Heritage system. The Spirituality Program is a voluntary program which involves the youth, our chaplain, and a mentor."
The school and program are all on-site. This reduces the opportunity for children to report abuse by isolating them to a locked/"secured" environment. This is a concern.
The Joint Commission accredits this program. The issue is that the Joint Commission itself has been under repeat fire by Congress for failure to protect patient's rights and patient's safety standards. This is a serious concern.
The Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges no longer exists. It has split into two separate, but, related organizations. If Heritage is still accredited, it would be accredited through the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. In our research, we have found that the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools is a fraud/scam. In fact, the "accrediting" agency has changed names again to distance itself from all the bad press and is now called the Northwest Accreditation Commission. It is currently unconfirmed, but, it appears that the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools and other agencies are no longer operating and/or are under investigation.
Heritage's associations and/or affiliations include NATSAP (bumblers and frauds as revealed in the Congressional Hearings) and the IECA. In addition, survivors of this program have reported to HEAL that Heritage receives from and sends children or threatens to send children to Provo Canyon School. This is a serious concern. Heritage should specify and list all programs with whom they do business and/or "network".
It is a concern that many of the programs, especially in Utah, try to use behavior modification to "convert" children to the religion of choice of the facility. Often, this is a perversion of Mormonism. And, this is a serious concern. Any program that claims spiritual growth is a "keystone" of their program is likely "faith-based" and attempting to convert all children held at the facility to the owner's belief system. This is unethical and a serious concern.
DATA SHEET (page 5)
"FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS"
"It is the policy of Heritage Schools, Inc. that the adolescent has no outside contact for the first two weeks following admission. The therapist will then set up a regular weekly calling time for the adolescent and the parents. The therapist and adolescent will also call every other week for a family therapy session."
"Only radios are allowed. Any clock radio that also includes a CD or tape players will be returned to the parents/legal guardians."
It is a warning sign of an abusive program to bar contact during any period of the child's stay. Please see www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for additional warning signs and questions you should ask any program you consider for your family.
It is a mild concern that children are not allowed their own choice in music with expected limitations on obscenity/vulgarity.
DATA SHEET (page 6)
"CLOTHING & PROPERTY GUIDELINES"
"Adolescents are not allowed to wear dark clothing."
"Any identification cards will be confiscated. Heritage provides ID for traveling."
"UNACCEPTABLE PROPERTY (This list is not all inclusive and is subject to change without warning. These items will be sent back to parents/legal guardians or destroyed): ....black pens....tea; seeds w/shells....gum (blow pops included)...novels, calendars (nothing pornographic or written by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Cromwell, etc.)...fingernail clippers, Q-tips....bandanas...sports (pro/college) emblems...nothing with rainbow logos (including jewelry)..."
Dark clothing should be permitted for children in mourning or who are menstruating. This is a ridiculous rule and therefore a concern.
It is a concern that children will not have access to their identification cards. HEAL recommends parents and/or teens keep the identification cards at home to insure they are not misused, mishandled, nor misplaced.
Most of the "unacceptable property" list is a bit ridiculous. Stephen King and Dean Koontz should look into filing suit against Heritage for interference with a prospective business interest in preventing adolescents or their parents from purchasing/reading their work. Again, this is not legal advice and if you need legal advice, consult an attorney.
DATA SHEET (page 7)
"Male adolescents are not allowed to have their heads shaved, wear their hair in a ponytail, have their hair longer than two inches past the hairline in the back or past the middle of the ear on the sides, or have hair hanging over their eyes in the front. Hairstyles of male and female adolescents may not draw undue attention to the adolescent."
The primary concern here is that individual style is not allowed or permitted and the guidelines are extremely strict and considerably racist. Many American Indian tribes and other ethnic groups wear long hair as part of their faith and culture. It is a serious concern that Heritage does not promote diversity and acceptance of individual beliefs and styles.
DATA SHEET (page 8)
"CONTRABAND AND LOCK-UP DESIGNATIONS"
"This contraband list is not inclusive. Contraband is any item deemed inappropriate, suggestive, dangerous or poses any type of risk to other clients or staff at any time by the Safety Officer or Campus Supervisor."
The "contraband list" is extensive and ever-growing based on the whims of Heritage staff. This is a concern as changes without warning that result in the destruction of personal property is disrespectful and leads to an unstable environment and chaos. In addition, the "contraband list" includes items that would be unreasonable to list as "contraband" and these are additional concerns as it shows the unreasonable practices in place at this program from their own admission.
DATA SHEET (page 9)
"The Psychiatrist is the only one who prescribes medications for psychiatric diagnosis while at Heritage. On occasion our Family Nurse Practitioner may write an order, but this will occur only when there has been a conference between the Psychiatrist and the FNP."
It is a serious concern that Heritage contradicts itself by stating that the Psychiatrist is solely charged with and able to prescribe medications for children at the facility and then stating that the Nurse may write an order. Parents should investigate what the procedure is for approval and what exactly Heritage means by a "conference". For instance, does Heritage mean by conference a meeting before or after each order written by the nurse? Or, is this "conference" something that is a training meeting only held once with the psychiatrist on a scheduled basis or irregular basis? Psychiatric medications are not over-the-counter for a reason and have serious side effects that include lifelong disease, disability, and/or death. This is a serious concern.
DATA SHEET (pages 12 & 13)
"MEDICATIONS USED AT HERITAGE WITH THEIR SIDE EFFECTS"
"The list of side effects is not all-inclusive."
"We most often use them to help our clients think more clearly and logically and to stabilize mood."
"TRILEPTAL, TEGRETOL, TOPAMAX, NEUROTIN, DEPAKOTE"
HEAL has not included all of the "medications" listed by Heritage. But, we have included in the above most of the drugs that are a serious concern and include serious risks to the health of children and adults.
Seroquel, Haldol, Thorazine, and Mellaril are not used to assist individuals in thinking more clearly. In fact, these drugs are typically used to sedate patients who are experiencing psychotic episodes. So, at best, Heritage is being accurate in stating it is used to stabilize mood. But, even this suggests an understatement and that Heritage misuses anti-psychotics. This is a serious concern.
Trileptal, Tegretol, Topamax, Neurotin, and Depakote all have severe side effects and children should not be given a drug cocktail that is life-threatening and potentially deadly. Trileptal is approved to treat seizures only. If it is used on your child for another "off-label" purpose at Heritage, this is a serious concern and the authorities/FDA should be notified immediately. Tegretol was found to double suicidal thoughts in test groups compared to placebo. Topamax is prescribed primarily for epilepsy and migraine headaches. It includes risks of birth defects and increased suicidal thoughts. This is a serious concern. HEAL assumes that Heritage means Neurontin, not Neurotin above. Neurontin is also to be used to stop seizures. If Heritage is prescribing medications that cause seizures and using the above to treat that side effect, the drug causing the seizures should be discontinued. This is common sense and not intended as medical advice. Always consult a physician when considering treatment options.
Lexapro has resulted, even years after discontinued use, in strokes and other serious injuries. If you would like to speak with a HEAL volunteer with firsthand experience with Lexapro, please e-mail us.
Application (page 1)
"Interstate Compact Agreement...It is used as a means to ensure that facilities are in compliance with the laws of both states involved, and enables a governing body to ensure that the placement is in the child's best interest."
"$200.00 for Medication Account made payable to Superior Pharmacy"
HEAL believes that Heritage Schools, Inc. may qualify as a Residential Treatment Center according to laws defining "Residential Treatment Center". Here is how the law defines "Residential Treatment Center" in relation to Interstate Compact Placement Request forms:
"Residential Treatment Center: a group care facility which provides a specific treatment program outside the realm of a medical hospital, psychiatric hospital or institution for the mentally retarded or mentally ill; e.g., a residential program for the treatment of alcohol/drug abuse. The receiving state is not obligated to supervise this type of placement made by the sending state." (Taken from ocfs.state.ny.us on September 20th, 2010)
So, based on the above, this contradicts the statements made by Heritage that Utah or the home-state will supervise and agrees to provide such supervision by receiving/recording the ICPC form. This is a blatantly false statement as Utah has made no such agreement and/or no such agreement could reasonably be implied given that the above statement that "The receiving state is not obligated to supervise this type of placement" openly contradicts the statement made by Heritage that the states follow up or use the form to assist in insuring children are properly placed at the program. Misleading statements, deception, and more await those looking to do business with Heritage Schools, Inc.
Superior Pharmacy is a division of Omnicare which has lost multiple lawsuits for fraud. This is a serious concern.
Application (page 1a)
Adolescent's Soc. Sec. #"
"Referred to Heritage by"
"Employer's Phone #"
It is not unusual to ask for someone's religion on a program application. It is quite common. But, this program seems particularly opposed to religious diversity and it is a concern that a child with a different upbringing may be exposed to religious beliefs or practices that are confusing or not in line with family values.
It is a minor concern that the program wishes to know the social security number of the child. HEAL members would be very upset if the scammers/programs with which we have personal experience had access to our private financial information.
Parents should ask why the referral question is asked and determine if Heritage provides any form of compensation for receiving referrals? If compensation of any kind is exchanged, this raises a myriad of ethical concerns. Two judges in Pennsylvania were recently found guilty of taking illegal/unethical "kickbacks" from privately run lockdown programs for teens. So, this is a serious concern.
It is also a concern that Heritage asks for the parent or financial "guarantor's" employer's name, address, and phone number as well as the guarantor's social security number. This information is not required by many other programs in this industry and if it doesn't make sense or isn't necessary for enrollment, then it is overly invasive and suggests ulterior motives for requesting such information.
Application (page 1b)
"Other Parent Involved"
Heritage is way over-stepping here. They want the social security number and annual income of both parents and, if divorced, the current spouses of the child's parents. This is very invasive and too much personal financial information to be sharing with Heritage or any similar facility.
Application (page 1c)
"Describe the problems you would like your adolescent to work on at Heritage"
Parents generally consider these scam programs as a "last resort". And, therefore, are really not in a position to determine what problems the child legitimately has and/or what should be addressed by a therapeutic setting. This is something the professionals, psychologists, etc., should be determining with the assistance and voluntary participation of the adolescent. So, asking such questions of the parents really suggests something other than a professional and therapeutic program.
Application (page 1d)
"Describe the history of the relationship of your adolescent with his/her father"
The above question/description request is made of the person filling out the application in regards to the child's relationship with multiple family members and friends. This is a concern as the person filling out the application is most likely not objective and not a mental health professional nor able to adequately know the real relationship between their child and any family member other than him/herself (the person filling out the application). This is a concern and also suggests unprofessional practices in place at Heritage.
Application (pages 1f & 1g)
"Describe your adolescent's overall strengths"
The program is asking the person filling out the application to describe and detail the behavioral and emotional problems they attribute to their adolescent child. This is unprofessional. It makes sense to request any previous professional evaluations for the program's records, but, treating parents as if their opinions regarding their child's behavioral/emotional state to understand the real problems that may exist for the child, is unprofessional and a matter of serious concern.
Again, strengths and weaknesses are very subjective. A quiet child may be a studious child, but, considered shy/withdrawn to more socially-inclined parents. Again, professionals should be determining the strengths of the child, not the parents.
Application (pages 1h & 1i)
"On an IEP?"
"Has the adolescent ever experienced a safety hold"
"A safety hold means to "physically hold" or "physically restrain" the adolescent if he/she is at risk for harming him/herself or others."
"Describe any violence, bizarre activity, gang affiliation, or cult activity"
"Describe any trauma your adolescent has experienced (physical or sexual abuse, rape, violence or witness thereof"
It is a concern that this program accepts interstate placement and public funds (taxpayer money) for Individual Education Plans through school districts given that the accrediting agency for the educational portion of this program has been and continues to be under fire for misrepresentation and fraud. This is a serious concern. Also, the fact that they receive public funding requires that they meet constitutional guidelines and respect the rights of minors in the program. Much of their documentation suggests they do not respect the civil rights of children in their program and this is a serious concern.
Heritage uses the term "safety hold" to refer to the practice of restraint. This is a concern as later they state they do not restrain children or use any form of physical/corporal punishment, but, that they do use "safety holds". Safety holds is simply a euphemism for the restraint practices that have resulted in multiple deaths at other facilities. This is a serious concern.
It is a serious concern that this program appears to be homophobic in disallowing "rainbow" themed clothing and inquiring about "bizarre activity". "Bizarre activity" and "cult activity" is very subjective and many would consider much of the state of Utah to be engaged in "cult activity" and covering up for polygamous cults and child rapists like Warren Jeffs. So, it is a serious concern.
Traumas should be discussed with the patient directly and it can and will feel like a violation of trust if the program knows all the details of past traumas without the patient's participation or consent. This is a serious concern.
Application (page 1j)
"Does the court have legal/temporary custody?"
"Is the adolescent court ordered into treatment?"
Again, if Heritage is accepting court-ordered placements it must follow the law in regards to the civil rights of minors in the program. This is a serious concern. Parents should also realize that adjudicated youth are likely placed at this facility and that their children who may have minor issues of depression or self-esteem may be exposed to a criminal element if enrolled in a facility like Heritage that accepts adjudicated youth.
Application (page 1l)
"If female, has your adolescent ever been pregnant or had an abortion?"
Your child's sex life, or lack thereof, is none of your business if they are of legal age of consent. It is inappropriate for your child's sexual activity, lack thereof, and family planning/birth control issues to be discussed or shared without the minor's participation and voluntary consent to share such private information. The application itself shows a gross lack of respect for the dignity and privacy of children entering the program and is a serious concern.
Application (page 2)
"If telephone calls or visits are not considered helpful to the adolescent, they may be restricted by the primary therapist or treatment team....In-coming mail shall be opened in front of Heritage staff to check for contraband. Mail can only be restricted if a court order is in place or the treatment team deems it therapeutically necessary."
"Any transfer of the adolescent to another phase of the program."
"Adolescents and their families have a right to personal privacy. No audio/visual recordings, one-way mirrors, movies or photographs will be used without the adolescent and his/her family being advised as to its use and waiting for written permission."
"Heritage does not do research or use experimental drugs."
"Such concerns are presented to the therapist or customer relations representative. Should the adolescent or family feel that the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, they may contact the following: a. Clinical Director b. Board of Directors"
"The clinical staff will assess the need for protective services for an adolescent."
Monitoring and restricting access to the outside world by barring phone calls and censoring/monitoring mail from a parent/parent approved sender are signs of an abusive program. Please see www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for more warnings signs and questions you should ask any program you consider for your family.
The second segment refers to the use of a "phase" or "level" system. This suggests that Heritage RTC is a behavior modification program using coercive thought reform methods which are ineffective and harmful. It is also a warning sign of an abusive program.
It is good that the program won't use any images, audio, or other information without written consent. It is important that young adults be made the authority in how video/photos of themselves are used. Whether this is the case at Heritage is unclear.
Heritage claims it does not do research, yet, they have a "research coordinator" and below we will expose how they are involved in research projects with the University of New Hampshire. So, this is a concern and again shows a contradiction in their statements about the program.
All or most of the psychiatric drugs mentioned in the medication information documents reviewed above are experimental and have not been around long enough to determine all dangers and long-term effects of the drugs. So, this statement is misleading.
It is a concern that the "grievance" procedure ends in-house and it is left up to the treatment team whether or not to notify proper authorities. This is a concern as it suggests that children will not receive immediate assistance from legitimate authorities in the event of abuse. Parents should be aware that it is the program's best interest to cover up abuse and avoid being exposed to investigation. Since Heritage has complete control of the children at their facility, it provides little protection for the children against abuses.
Application (page 3)
"DISCIPLINE AND CONTROL CONSENT"
"Other less desirable activities are provided as an alternative."
"One-to-one (Student Buddy) This method is used when it is thought that the support of a currently higher functioning peer would be in the best interest of the adolescent in order to succeed."
"Processing Off Unit and Away from Stimulus"
"Passive Physical Restraint or Holding"
"Mute from Interaction with Others or a Specific Client"
"Physical restraints are prohibited when used solely as a means of punishment."
"The withholding of emotional response or stimulation for extended periods of time is prohibited."
"If a parent or guardian feels that any disciplinary measure that has been used was cruel, unusual, inappropriate, or not in the best interest of his/her adolescent, the Executive Director should be notified immediately. Should the parent feel that the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, the parent's concerns may be addressed in a written complaint to the Governing Board or the Professional Services Organization. It is the sincere wish of the staff at Heritage Schools, Inc. that the parent will bring all concerns regarding the treatment of his/her adolescent to the therapist's attention."
What does Heritage mean by "less desirable activity"?
What does Heritage mean by "succeed"? Also, it is common in programs to place one child in an authority position over another. It is possibly true that the "buddy" does not have the authority to discipline the other, but, this "buddy" is acting as a spy for the program and instilling/enforcing program "values". This appears to be more of a cult than a treatment center. Placing a child in a "buddy" system where "higher level" children are given "leadership" over "lower level" children is a warning sign of an abusive program.
If "off unit" status is temporary and to provide a quiet space for those with Asperger's, it is inappropriate. Asperger's clients require very few changes in environment and can be overwhelmed by regular environmental changes. Moving an Asperger's client from one environment to another as deemed necessary by Heritage poses a risk of lack of continuity and confusion in the Asperger's client and is therefore not remotely helpful or therapeutic. If "off unit" is more of an isolation tactic, it is another concern and suggests inappropriate practices at Heritage.
It is a serious concern that this program practices any form of restraint and does not limit its uses of restraint to instances of imminent threat of physical harm to self or others. Everyone is always arguably "at risk" of harming self or others and such a vague description of circumstances suggests that restraint is misused at Heritage.
What does Heritage mean by "extended periods of time" and how is this prohibition enforced? How long has a child ever spent in isolation while at Heritage? At other programs, children report being kept in isolation for months, and even years, at a time. If Heritage only keeps children in isolation for one month or less, it may consider itself complying with its own standards by comparison. However, one month, even a few days, in isolation is considered torture. And, this is a serious concern.
It is a serious concern that Heritage does not provide the specific agencies and contact information for authorities that should be notified in the event Heritage has broken the law in some manner by inflicting cruel and inhuman treatment on children in their care. It is also a concern that Heritage expects to handle all complaints in-house and tries to avoid involving the authorities with their operations.
Application (page 4)
"I authorize Heritage Schools' licensed medical staff to arrange for general medical, dental, and laboratory services (all lab work will be billed to parents) for my adolescent while enrolled at Heritage. It is my understanding that upon admission, a physical exam will be completed. This exam will include a pelvic exam and cultures for females who have been sexually active."
"An adolescent and/or their room and property may be searched at any time the treatment staff deems it therapeutically necessary for the well-being and safety of all."
It is a concern that an invasive and/or violative procedure such as a pelvic exam will be performed against the will of the child. If the child is modest and/or has a history of sexual abuse such an exam will be traumatic. Why is Heritage so interested in the sexual experiences and activity of female residents? This is excessive and not required by many programs in this industry.
It is also a concern that the program searches the person/body of clients and their personal space whenever they feel like it. Strip searches and other civil rights violations are never "therapeutic" and should not be labeled as such to cover up the fact that Heritage is more a prison than a therapeutic treatment center.
Application (pages 5 & 6)
"Heritage accepts no liability for billing errors."
"The psychiatric staff in conjunction with the treatment team determines the need for medication. The psychiatric staff are the only ones who prescribe medications for psychiatric diagnosis."
"You have the right to disagree with the treatment plan which may include a psychiatric medication regime. However, if your decision hinders (in our opinion) the treatment progress of your child, then your case will be reviewed to determine the appropriateness of placement in our facility."
Heritage accepts no liability for billing errors. This is a concern because other programs in the industry have been reported to have charged for medical services, including lab work, never performed or ordered. And, that includes Medicaid fraud, which Omnicare (the provider's of pharmaceutical services to Heritage) has been found guilty of and liable for in the past.
Above we see a more honest look at how medication is prescribed as needed on the determination of the "treatment team" and the "treatment team" is likely not qualified or licensed to determine the use of psychiatric medications. Of course, this is why only the "licensed" psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse can write a prescription. This is a serious concern and does not instill confidence in the practices at Heritage.
It is a concern that the program does not wish to take the family's wishes or the child's wishes into consideration and threatens dismissal from the program if they don't obey the program. This also makes Heritage seem more a cult than a therapeutic environment for struggling families.
Application (page 7)
"PARENT'S RIGHTS RESPONSIBILITIES AND ETHICS CONSENT"
"You have the right to refuse participation in any research project without affecting treatment services."
"You have the right to know that once a client demonstrates responsible behavior, he/she will have earned the privilege to participate in therapeutic activities off the campus."
"You have the rights to visit your adolescent according to the rules of the Center."
"You have the right to conduct private telephone conversations with your adolescent."
"You have the right to know that if restrictions are necessary, they will be reviewed regularly by the treatment team."
"You have the right to know that Heritage Schools, Inc. is not liable for lost or stolen articles."
On page 2 of the application above, Heritage clearly states that it does not conduct research. However, in the second segment above, it clearly states that that clients can refuse to participate in research projects. This is contradictory and a serious concern.
Parents should inquire how long, on average, a child spends in lockdown without access or experience in the outside world. Parents should also ask what is meant by "responsible behavior" in regards to children who have learning or other mental health issues that are not related to behavior. Heritage should clarify the purpose and methods utilized in their program.
It is a concern that the program dictates when parents can visit their children. This is an obscene over-step on the part of Heritage and parents should be welcomed and encouraged to visit their children as often as possible. Heritage and similar programs would do well to set open telephone access and visitation schedules on evenings and weekends to insure families have ample opportunity to participate in the healing process. Barring visitation is a sign of an abusive program. For more warning signs and questions you should ask any program you consider for your family, visit www.heal-online.org/warn.htm.
It is good that the program recognizes your right to have a private conversation with your child, but, does the program recognize your child's right to a private conversation? Most programs use "speaker phone" or have a staff member listening on the line even if the child is technically "alone" in the phone area. This is a serious concern and parents should inquire as to how privacy is granted and watch for signs that privacy has been violated (i.e. staff member tells parent that child confessed to saying things to parent about the program and that staff wanted to follow up, even though child never made such a confession). This is a serious concern.
Restrictions include the monitoring and censoring of mail and denial of visitation and phone "privileges" with family. This is a serious concern as monitoring/censoring mail is a violation of children's civil rights and this was confirmed in the federal court decision of Milonas and Rice v. Provo Canyon School (another program in Provo, UT).
And, the final line is a disclaimer so that if your child's property is lost or stolen that the program will accept no liability. Of course, they also "reserve the right" to destroy any of the child's property it sees fit to destroy, so, it isn't surprising they take no responsibility for their own actions in this regard. And, since they don't take responsibility for their own actions and/or failures to act, how can they possibly instill such a sense of responsibility in others?
Application (page 10a)
"Survival is an attitude that produces fear and pain, conflict and distance. It means repeating what is familiar even if it limits one's growth and satisfaction. Heritage is committed to helping adolescents go beyond reaction and survival to experiencing choice and responsibility, where young people can feel they are a source of change and empowerment in their own lives."
"The child has a trust of control by others."
HEAL believes Heritage is revealing a peek into their program in the first segment. Regardless of whether or not your child is in a "reactionary/survival" mode prior to arriving to Heritage, they will be made to regress or recede to such a state on the early phase(s) of this program. This will be used to cause a split in identity between "old self" and "new program approved self" and in the end, the child learns to trust those who wish to control him/her. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that devoting yourself to the purposes of other humans who exert control over you is subjecting yourself to abuse and slavery. These are not values that children should be adopting in a free society.
Application (page 11)
"Should holding become necessary, it is done according to the Crisis Prevention Institute regulations, and every effort is made to inflict no pain."
"In the event an adolescent reaches a level of agitation and/or out of control behavior that he/she is at risk for presenting a danger to himself/herself or others, the adolescent may be placed in a seclusion area. The adolescent is monitored by staff at all times."
The above shows both that the program uses restraint, as explained above, and also uses isolation/seclusion. Parents should inquire as to how the staff monitor the seclusion area and if staff are ever left alone (one on one) in the seclusion area with a child. Victims of other programs have reported being sexually assaulted in isolation. And, the environment of the seclusion area should be fully explained and maintained at the highest level of dignity for the child.
Application (page 12a)
"The parents/guardians may have one 20-minute phone call per week with their adolescent. Telephone calls made by the adolescent to the parents/guardians must be on a collect-call basis or a calling card may be used."
"We do not allow adolescents to make phone calls to extended family members or friends unless the adolescent's therapist approves those calls."
"All visits to the adolescent must be pre-approved with the parents, primary therapist, and the treatment team, and all visitors must check in with the Heritage receptionist at the time of the visit."
"Heritage Schools, Inc. may restrict an adolescent's telephone calls, visits, incoming and/or outgoing mail at the request of the parent/guardian. Both parents must approve any restrictions."
The adolescents can only make one call to parents per week and that is on a collect-call basis scheduled by the therapist. So, this is not open access to call home or to a telephone. And, that is a serious concern. It is an additional concern that parents cannot call their children, but, must wait for the therapist to schedule a call. This is exerting to much control over the family as a whole and inappropriate given the relationship between the consumer/family and the program.
Parents should inquire if Heritage restricts calls, visits, etc. without parental approval of such restrictions. According to other areas of the application and data sheets, Heritage will restrict calls and contact with the outside world for at least the first two weeks of the program. And, this is a concern and contradicts the implications of the above sections of the application.
Application (page 12b)
"Heritage Schools, Inc., dba Heritage Residential Treatment Center"
"I/We acknowledge that recipients can forward e-mail messages to other recipients without the original sender's permission or knowledge."
"I/We acknowledge that e-mail users can easily mis-address an e-mail."
"I/We acknowledge that e-mail is easier to falsify than handwritten or signed documents."
The above consent form to use e-mail to communicate between the family and the program is a little difficult to understand in regards to purpose. Acknowledging that their are risks involved with using internet technology is not the same as assuming the risk or voiding liability of someone who mishandles private/confidential information. This is a minor concern and Heritage should look into improving this waiver/consent form.
Application (page 13)
"I do hereby release Heritage Schools, Inc., its agents and employees, and any other agency (such as a referring School Board), its members, trustees, agents, officers, contractors, volunteers and employees harmless from any claims, losses, injuries (including death), costs and expenses arising (solely or in part) out of my child's participation in any such recreational programs, or for loss or damage to my child's property which may occur as a result of my child's participation in recreational activities, including the high-risk activities."
It is a concern that a blanket waiver that includes the event of a child's death is expected of parent's to sign who are entrusting the welfare of their child to Heritage. It is also a concern that injuries occurring otherwise in the program may be incorrectly attributed to "recreational activities" and this may confuse families who are due compensation for losses sustained by any negligent, intentional, or otherwise act or failure to act on the part of Heritage that results in serious injury or death.
Application (page 16a)
"Superior Care Pharmacy, Inc., an Omnicare Company"
HEAL has included the above to highlight the location in the documents that shows that Superior Care Pharmacy is an Omnicare Company. Omnicare has lost multi-million dollar lawsuits for defrauding Medicaid. This is a serious concern.
Application (pages 17a 17b)
"The Attorney-in-Fact is authorized to request, receive, and review any information, verbal or written, pertaining to the Client's physical or mental health, including medical and hospital records, to execute any release, waivers, or other documents that may be required in order to obtain such information, and to disclose such information to such persons, organizations, and health-care providers as the Attorney-in-Fact shall deem appropriate. The Attorney-in-Fact is authorized to employ and discharge health-care providers including physicians, psychiatrists, dentists, nurses, and therapists as the Attorney-in-Fact shall deem appropriate for Client's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The Attorney-in-Fact is also authorized to incur reasonable fees and expenses for such services."
"The Attorney-in-Fact is authorized to physically restrain the Client should the Client become a danger to himself/herself, or to anyone else as deemed necessary by the Attorney-in-Fact."
"The Principal(s) hereby ratify and confirm all that the Attorney-in-Fact shall lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue of this Power of Attorney and the powers herein granted and hereby indemnify and hold the Attorney-in-Fact harmless therefrom."
"In the event the Principal(s) deliver to the Attorney-in-Fact an express written notice or revocation of this Power of Attorney, then immediately upon the Principal(s) taking physical custody of the Client from the Attorney-in-Fact."
The above includes snippets from the Power of Attorney form. The "Attorney-in-Fact" refers to Heritage and the form assigns parental authority to the program. It appears this power of attorney must be revoked by express written notice to the program and that the parents must immediately take physical custody of their child upon such revocation. In other portions of the agreement, the program requires 30 days notice of removal. So, if a family decides the program is harmful, or at least, not helpful, and decides to remove their child, they must give 30 days notice. But, once written notice or revocation is received, the program demands parents immediately retrieve their child. This is confusing and contradictory and raises additional concerns regarding the policies and practices in place at Heritage.
Application (page 18a)
"HERITAGE RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTER, a Utah corporation (hereinafter called "the Treatment Center")"
"The Client shall be enrolled in the Treatment Center's program commending on...and continuing with the mutual consent of both parties, until the treatment team determines the Client has successfully completed treatment."
"In the event the Treatment Center recommends discharge of the Client because of clinical readiness or treatment plan completion, then the Client's enrollment shall end at such times as determined by the treatment staff in conjunction with the Sponsors."
"In the event the Treatment Center recommends discharge of the Client because of clinical necessity, i.e. Client not responding to treatment, or continued placement in the facility is determined not to serve the Client/Sponsor/Treatment Center's best interest, or if the Treatment Center is forced to discharge the Client due to non-payment of fees...the Treatment Center agrees to notify the Sponsors of such intent thirty (30) days prior to the discharge."
Long-term institutionalization prepares children for a life in prison, not college and success. It is a concern that this program takes over a year before "completed" and that the program, which benefits financially from high enrollment levels, is solely in charge of the discharge date and will even extend beyond what is necessary to accommodate itself and/or the parents. A young adult's personal liberty should be of higher import to those who claim to be American.
Application (page 18b)
"Accordingly, should the Sponsors voluntarily elect to withdraw the Client prior to the end of the contract period, the Sponsors shall provide the Treatment Center's business office with a written notice of intent to withdraw the Client no fewer than thirty (30) days prior to the intended date of discharge."
"supervised work experiences as appropriate/necessary"
"The Sponsors give such consent, fully accepting the risks which are associated with custodial care. These risks include but are not limited to risks that the Client's problems may not improve, risks that the Client may without permission leave the Treatment Center facility and be unattended, risk of physical injury, risk of sexual violation and pregnancy, and other risk(s) of physical or mental harm including suicide and other forms of self-injury."
"The Sponsors, simultaneous wit the execution of this Agreement, shall appoint the Treatment Center as the Client's true and lawful attorney for the purpose of providing custodial care and educational and clinical services, and shall assign to the Treatment Center all of the Sponsors' powers of care and custody during the period of enrollment of the Client."
Heritage should clarify whether or not they mean that the parents must give 30-days advance notice before removing their child or if they mean that, in the event a child is scheduled to "graduate/complete" the program, the program requires at least 30 days notice before the treatment team "approved" graduation date if the withdrawal occurs that close to completion.
HEAL includes the fact that there are work projects and work "experiences" at this program even though in the data sheets the program states that it does not force or use work as a punishment/disciplinary measure. This is a concern as, again, it appears to show a clear contradiction regarding the practices and methods claimed and used by Heritage.
"The Sponsors give such consent, fully accepting the risks which are associated with custodial care. These risks include but are not limited to risks that the Client's problems may not improve, risks that the Client may without permission leave the Treatment Center facility and be unattended, risk of physical injury, risk of sexual violation and pregnancy, and other risk(s) of physical or mental harm including suicide and other forms of self-injury." Seriously, after reading the fact that leaving your child at Heritage puts them at risk of sexual violation, pregnancy, physical or mental harm, how could you possibly still be considering this program and if your child is there, why aren't you on your way to Provo to retrieve them?
Readers will notice that the program wants all the powers and rights of custodianship, but, refuses the legal responsibility associated with such custodial arrangements. This is a serious concern and one parents shouldn't ignore.
Application (pages 18c & 18d)
"The Sponsors further agree that any amounts due under this Agreement, which amounts are more than thirty (30) days delinquent, shall incur a monthly finance charge in the amount of twelve percent (12%) APR."
"The Treatment Center assumes no liability for injuries, illness, or other damages occurring to the Client during the term of the Client's enrollment, including any resulting from Client's participation (on or off the Treatment Center campus) in programs and activities of the Treatment Center."
"The Treatment Center makes no representations or warranties as to the quality or quantity of education or treatment other than those made in writing and signed by an authorized Treatment Center official."
"The parties acknowledge that this Agreement constitutes a business transaction within the State of Utah."
A non-profit program should not be charging interest. This is a serious concern and should possibly be investigated by authorities.
It is a concern that Heritage takes no responsibility for the children in the program and places all liability on the parents. This is a serious concern and parents should really think about what they are agreeing to with this contract.
The third segment is basically a disclaimer and/or semi-admission that they do not provide adequate or quality educational or therapeutic services. So, this is a major concern.
It makes sense that since the program is located in Utah, that they wish for Utah to have governing venue. This is reasonable and another reason why family's shouldn't send their children out of state for "help".
Application (page 19)
Pages 19-24 describe a research study being conducted by NATSAP and the University of New Hampshire. Heritage states your family's participation in this research is on a voluntary basis and will not effect your treatment services. However, HEAL points out that on page 2 of the application, Heritage claims it does not do research. Another opportunity to point out misleading and deceptive practices in place at Heritage.
HEAL recommends you do not place your child/loved one in Heritage Schools, Inc. and that you rescue your child if they are currently "enrolled" in this program.
*(The Heritage Schools, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices. Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience. Thank you for your help.)
Last Updated:August 3rd, 2013