(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 Jubilee Youth Ranch. 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 Jubilee Youth Ranch, you have the right to take action.†
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Jubilee Youth Ranch, 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 Jubilee Youth Ranch and rescue them if they are there now.
|Rick Griffin||Executive & Development Director|
|Byron Talbott||Program Director||Talbott no longer appears to work for this program.|
|Lorena Gonzalez||Intake Manager|
|David Richmond||Finance Manager|
|William Parks||School Administrator|
|Carol Stole||Counselor||Stole no longer appears to work for this program.|
|Tony Herrera||Residential Director||Herrera no longer appears to work for this program.|
|Mark Hauck||Student Services|
|Al Griffin||Facilities Mgr.|
|Steven Anderson||Horse Manager||Anderson no longer appears to work for this program.|
|Jessie Campos||Staff||Campos formerly worked for Jubilee Youth Ranch and now works for Teen Challenge. Campos no longer works for this program.|
|Shawn Riley||Program Director|
|Allyn Griffin||Development Director|
|Jamal Johnson||Equine Mgr.|
|Cosmo E. Vanbuskirk||Counselor (Former)||Vanbuskirk reportedly no longer works for this facility. In 2005, Vanbuskirk was convicted of sexually abusing a child enrolled in the program.|
|NO OTHER NAMES||NO OTHER TITLES||There is no additional information on staff at this location at this time.*|
|*(Jubilee Youth Ranch, 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.)|
|Jubilee Staff Convicted of Sexual Abusing Child Enrolled in Program--2005|
HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:
HEAL has found multiple problems with Jubilee Youth Ranch's (JYR/JYR's) enrollment agreement including apparent unconscionable terms and/or contradictory terms leaving us to believe that JYR is running a money-making scam on families in need of assistance. We will be alternating between "quoted text" from pages of JYR's in their application (as was downloaded from jyranch.org on October 10th, 2010) and HEAL's questions/concerns. HEAL will not repeatedly link to the application and handbook in full throughout this review, and, we advise readers to scroll back and/or open the application or handbook 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.
Application (Pages 1 & 2)
"All parts of this application must be completed and signed and a non-refundable application fee of $50.00 received before your application will be considered."
"Social Security Number"
"How did you hear about Jubilee"
"□ Does Not Recognize Any Religion/Cult/Philosophy"
Why does JYR require the social security number of an enrolled child? This is a government issued document that can be misused. What is the purpose of giving this information to JYR? These are important questions as this program appears to be similar to Teen Challenge and HEAL has received reports of misuse of such information by Teen Challenge. It is a concern as the program rewards hard manual labor with "merits" (to be discussed below) which can be used to "purchase" the child's basic needs (as such is not included in the $3000/mo).
Parents should inquire as to why Jubilee asks how the family heard about Jubilee. Does JYR offer compensation for referrals? If so, this raises ethical concerns and such should be addressed by JYR.
It is a concern that a minor who is questioning his faith and/or has not decided on a faith may be subjected to "Christian-based" behavior modification program (which violates the notion of respecting free will as well as the child's first amendment rights to freedom of religion) as a result.
Application (Pages 3 & 4)
"That you know of, student's sexual preference is (check all that apply):"
"That you know of, students has/has had ________(# of) sexual partners (estimates ok)"
"Have you ever known the student to have a preoccupation with pornography?"
"Report all of the following you know or believe student has tried/used (this chart is meant to capture the estimated range that you perceive to be the student's involvement; estimates ok)"
JYR claims to only accept young men. It is inappropriate and unnecessary to inquire as to the sexual experiences and practices of a young man who is likely of appropriate age to be curious and/or sexually active. It is inappropriate for parents to answer such questions regarding their sons when it is highly unlikely they have legitimate and accurate information regarding the appropriateness of their sons' actions when stage of development is considered. Such questions should be left to the young men to answer if they wish to answer such questions. A person's legal sexual activities should not be part of a questionnaire aimed at modifying behavior and such can cause severe and lasting harm. This is a serious concern.
JYR does not use the term "sexual orientation" (appropriate), but, the inappropriate term "sexual preference". This shows that the program and those who run it are ignorant in regards to homosexuality and raises serious concerns. In fact, attempting to make "gay kids straight" is psychologically harmful and can result in severe harm. Parents with homosexual children should contact Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) for legitimate information on how to adjust to having homosexual family and friends.
Frigid and/or sexually immature adults/parents may not understand or accept their child's natural and normal sexual and biological curiosities. This does not make such curiosities wrong. It just means the parents are ignorant and inexperienced. It is to be expected that young men and women will look at and/or read sexually explicit materials. Depending on the developmental maturity of the young men and women, this may be perfectly normal and natural and nothing that warrants institutionalization in a lockdown environment with no access to the outside world unless hard labor is performed for "merits" and every desire of the slaveholder/taskmasters (Exec. Dir./Staff) are met.
It is a serious concern that a child/young adult can be held against his will at this program on the "belief" that they have done something wrong (abused drugs). This flies in the face of justice and fairness and is un-American. Also, there is no evidence that JYR is skilled in providing drug rehabilitation services nor is it shown that they are licensed to provide such services. This is a serious concern, because, if a youth is having legitimate drug abuse issues, real help is needed. And, this is not something JYR is qualified to provide, in HEAL's opinion.
Application (Page 5)
"Check any of the following behaviors you know or suspect student has engaged in"
"Disregard for Rules"
"Intolerance of Boredom"
"Extreme Sense of Entitlement"
"Inability to Make or Keep Friends"
"Antisocial Behaviors" is the header for the actions/behaviors that follow as listed in the application. HEAL's concern is that an environment of secrecy may be imposed by parents who are unwilling or unable to listen to their children and who do not have an open and honest relationship with their children. Such a hostile environment imposes and creates liars or lies. When a home is ruled with fear and ignorance, lying appears necessary for survival. Families who have loving and open communication with their children, do not create liars. Therefore, behavior modification is not the answer for a "liar", but, family therapy in which all members learn to better communicate and respect each other will likely help or resolve the problem, should it exist.
JYR should explain what they mean by "high impulsivity" and should also not rely on questionnaires filled out by distressed and angry/vindictive parents to determine the actual situation. Again, children shouldn't be institutionalized on "suspicion" alone. This is absurd.
Should rules ever be disregarded? HEAL received a phone call from a distressed parent a few years ago in which the parent was concerned that his 17 1/2 year old daughter was talking with boys her own age on the telephone. He felt that she was too young to be talking to boys on the phone. The girl went to a co-ed school. And, HEAL asked the father if he asked his daughter about the alleged phone calls or their purpose. HEAL suggested the girl may be working on a school project in a group and may be required to communicate with schoolmates of both sexes for such a project. The father stated his other daughter had reported the call to him and he had not talked with his 17 1/2 year old yet. No, instead he was looking to institutionalize her for talking on the phone with boys her own age without understanding the context or even talking with her honestly about it. What happens when a family's rules are opposed by the rules of the school? What if the school's rules violate the law? What if the family's rules violate the law? Rules are important, but, good behavior is created by reasonable expectations and fair leadership. If either are lacking, the rules should be disregarded.
One of the Grandparents at HEAL used to say, "If you are bored, you are boring. Entertain yourself and find something to do. There is plenty. Look around." A developing mind should never be bored. There should always be books, activities, and chores to alleviate boredom. If isolation and/or deprivation is part of the JYR program (we think it is), this is a serious concern. No one should tolerate boredom. Everyone should be taught and/or inspired to be self-directing and self-motivated to do any number of activities to alleviate boredom. Boredom is an excuse or symptom of being overwhelmed and indecisive as a result of said overwhelm. And, changing everything about someone's environment and personal beliefs is certain to add to any sense of overwhelm and therefore is not therapeutic and likely very harmful.
JYR has a strong sense of entitlement. The fees are staggering, especially given that it claims non-profit status. They want complete control over all the boys and their minds/bodies while in the program. This is over-reaching and JYR has no right to have such control over anyone. JYR feels entitled to oppress others with its will alone and to use arguably abusive methods to insure that they get the free labor from the children and big payout from the parents. Why is JYR entitled to any of that? What exactly are families getting from this supposedly charitable "Christian" institution besides debt and the enslavement of young boys? This is a serious concern. Parents should consider their feeling of being "entitled" to a stress-free life without the cares associated with parenthood even though they chose to have children before accusing their children, who may act as if they feel entitled, of exhibiting the very sense of entitlement they learned from watching their parents in action. Hypocrites. Jesus doesn't care for hypocrites.
There are many reasons children have difficulty making and keeping friends. Sometimes they are geniuses who find their fellows to be complete idiots with whom they have nothing in common. Sometimes they are victims of abuse or bullying. Sometimes they move a lot in childhood and find making friends not worth the effort since they don't know when they will be taken away and have to start over again. This entire questionnaire is far too subjective and not specific enough to be useful as a diagnostic tool. This is a serious concern.
Application (Pages 6 - 8)
"Has student ever engaged in voyeuristic behaviors (viewing/filming/photographing others without their knowledge or consent"
"Does your child have awareness or insight into their current struggles?"
"Describe the student's need to conform to his peer group"
"List any gangs the student idolizes, has joined, or has been "jumped into""
"Describe student's reaction to confrontation"
"Lies to Cover Behavior"
It is a serious concern that this program openly violates the constitutional right to freedom of religion while accepting court-ordered (government paid) placements. The program is not just run by Christians doing good things. It imposes the Christian faith and attempts to eradicate homosexuality and/or other "behaviors" it finds offensive as a matter of "faith".
Young men and women may be considered "voyeuristic" when in reality they are shy and unsure how to approach those they may be "watching". A lot of people enjoy the hobby of "people watching" and it is not a crime or bad to do it. It can be an indicator that the young men and women will be social scientists (i.e. anthropologists, etc.) in the future. Parents should always investigate the reasoning behind an action/behavior and what positive endeavors such "behaviors" may indicate. Parents should give their children the benefit of the doubt.
The child should be interviewed and assessed by a legitimate professional in person and over time to determine the developmental stage of the child and/or their actual needs for therapy/intervention, if any such need legitimately exists. All such therapy should be on a voluntary basis only. Please see our parenting guide for more information.
Oppressive families create an environment where conformity is necessary for survival. If a child sees his peers as stronger/better/etc., he will likely try to conform as he has been raised in a home where conformity is demanded. Families who wish their children to be independent individuals with their own thoughts and a healthy sense of self-worth, self-respect, and self-esteem will not find such conformity a serious issue. JYR will demand your child conform to their every whim and demand, so, how they plan to encourage individuality and independent thinking in that environment is beyond reason and again highlights the hypocritical nature of behavior modification programs. For more information on behavior modification, see our free ebook.
It is a serious concern that this program may accept gang members as this will put every child in the program in danger. A young man who is part of a "brotherhood" will be rescued and the "brotherhood" may use violence to free their brother. JYR is not a prison and is likely not equipped for such battles. Also, any abuse or other violations at the program may result in vengeance by the "brotherhood" once the young man is again free. This is a serious concern.
This program seems to suggest above that it uses "confrontational therapy", which has been proven to be ineffective and harmful. This is a serious concern and suggests that the children in the program are not treated with dignity and respect. People live what they learn and learn what they live. If you are an oppressive, sadistic, control-freak and claim that because of the title you gave yourself you have the right to dominate others, then you are teaching others to be oppressive, sadistic, control-freaks who feel entitled to force their agenda on others. This is not in line with American values and certainly does not teach mutual respect. This is a serious concern.
Application (Pages 10 - 11)
"Because Jubilee Youth Ranch is a behavior modification program, we place highest priority on a student's growth in character, spirituality, and social functioning. Academics are considered to be only one part of the entire treatment process."
"Although he will receive full credit for all coursework successfully completed while at JYR, it is possible that the student will be required to repeat coursework or grade sequences that he previously completed in other schools. For further explanation, please contact Allegra Garcia, Student Academic Advisor."
It is a concern that school district's may be placing children at this program with tax dollars when education is apparently not a priority at this program. If the program accepts money from Individual Education Plans (IEPs), then this is a serious concern for the same reasons as mentioned above in regards to court-ordered placement.
It is also a serious concern that the program does not make academic achievement a priority. And, it is a serious concern that the program may have children repeat courses for which they have already received credit and therefore may fall further behind in school. If children are not studying academically, what are they learning? How are they preparing for adulthood and/or college?
Application (Pages 12 - 14)
"Birth Father's First Name"
"Date of Birth"
"Spiritual Religious Involvement"
"Birth Mother's First Name"
"Step/Adpt Father's First Name"
"Step/Adpt Mother's First Name"
It is a concern that the program asks for the full names of all of the above individuals as well as their dates of birth (not just age), ethnicity, spiritual beliefs/involvement, and income/resource level. All of this information could be misused and it is a serious concern. Other programs in the industry do not require such information and prior to providing such detailed personal identity/identifying information, parents should inquire as to the purpose of the request.
Application (Page 17)
"This means that although placement may be terminated by either party, those making who agree to financial commitments shall be considered fully liable for all charges agreed to in the contract should termination of placement occur before contract expiration."
"I further agree that this application and its contents are considered valid for placement purposes for not longer than one calendar year from the date of signed authorization. If I would like placement to be considered for longer than the contract year, I must declare this intent in writing and resubmit requested documents (including financial statements) at that time."
"I have been informed that this application in no way guarantees a specific financial obligation or rate of tuition. I will submit my financial records for consideration, though I understand that my requested tuition amount may be different than the final contract amount."
JYR is concerned about one thing, insuring that they receive all the money they can from anyone they can convince to sign a contract. This is a serious concern and does not represent Christian nor American values. Regardless of whether they dismiss a child or a child is voluntarily removed by parents, JYR demands to be paid. This does not show a generous, charitable attitude and is not in line with legitimate Christian values and faith.
It is a concern that the minimum enrollment is for one calendar year (not one school year). This is a serious concern as taking a child out of a normal social environment and putting them in a lockdown with other supposed delinquents for a year without contact with family or the outside world is likely to cause severe developmental problems, both socially and academically. Such long-term exposure to confinement can and often does create an unhealthy dependence (likened to Stockholm Syndrome) on the program and an unhealthy fear of the outside world. This is detrimental to social functioning and if JYR cared about that, they would operate much differently.
It is a serious concern that the program requires parents to submit detailed financial information and records to the program. This exceeds any requirement of any program HEAL has reviewed to date (January 12th, 2011). And, this is a serious concern. Parents should really question why JYR demands such private financial information. It is as if JYR does not trust families they help. Why is that? What problems have they had in the past and why do they believe such incidents justify requiring families turn over massive amounts of financial data to them?
Application (Pages 18-20) (or page 1 of 3 of Jubilee Youth Ranch Student Questionnaire--Program Application Download includes more sections with different numbered pages, though these pages are part of the application linked at top as one document--we will be continuing as if the page numbers are as shown in the .pdf file linked above and will not be identifying them in any other way for the remainder of the application review.)
"The following section is to be completed by the student. All sections must be completed and returned before his application will be considered."
"Use at least five words to describe how you feel about leaving your family for a year"
"Write one sentence about how coming to Jubilee will help you make changes to your life"
How often do parents complete the student questionnaire for the child? How does JYR insure that such is not occurring? No informed child would agree to go to Jubilee Youth Ranch, so, it is a serious concern. Above, in the application (pages 6-8), JYR asks if the child has any awareness of his struggles/problems. If the answer is "no", then the child would obviously not be agreeable to being institutionalized and would be unable to answer the last query of the above section. So, it seems JYR may include this only to give a public impression that the program is somewhat voluntary. But, other areas of the application suggest otherwise. So, this is a concern and suggests duplicity in regards to the program's public image.
Application (Page 21)
"JUBILEE YOUTH RANCH FEE SCHEDULE AGREEMENT"
"When it is necessary to transport a child for personal needs, i.e. airport, hospital, medical appointments, etc., a $35.00 fee will be charged for each trip."
"Non-Refundable Application Fee.........................................................................$50.00"
"Expense Account (Used to cover damages, payable at time of Intake).............$350.00"
"Personal funds (Recommended).........................................................................$50.00"
"Proof of Medical Insurance Coverage--Required before admittance"
"Damages to the facility, structure, and any property therein and without, items belonging to any staff member or used as a part of any operations, programs and activities, any vehicles belonging to the property, any livestock, any equipment used for official or extracurricular activities, and any other structure, fixture or item in anyway belonging to or assumed to belong to or be associated with Jubilee Youth Ranch will be assessed on a case by case basis. The $400.00 Expense Account may be used to cover these damages, and is only refunded if the child has incurred no damages during his entire stay at Jubilee Youth Ranch...Payment is due immediately upon child's departure. No transcripts will be forwarded or graduation from Jubilee conferred until all monetary obligations have been paid in full."
"At time of discharge, the final month is refunded on a pro-rated basis pending there are no outstanding balances and the child has completed his one-year contract."
The minimum cost reported by this program for a one-year contract is $36,450 (or $36,400--depending on whether the $400.00 Expense Account mentioned in the first full paragraph above is not accurate and the $350.00 in the expense list is accurate). These costs cover remedial and repeat coursework which may make your child fall further behind in school. And, they pay the program to use your son as slave labor (free/unpaid/uncompensated/forced labor) for the program and its associates. If you choose to remove your son (a wise decision), JYR demands you pay the full amount. This is unconscionable and raises ethical concerns.
Application (Pages 22-25)
"Please fill out the following information and return this form along with a copy of your last year's tax return, W-2's, current pay stubs, and any/all monthly expenses/bills. Jubilee Youth Ranch intends to use this information to establish a fair and supportable contribution for the student's care. We consider this information confidential."
"I (We) declare that the financial information provided above is both truthful and accurate to the best of my (our) knowledge. I (We) authorize Jubilee Fellowship Youth Ranch to verify this information with my (our) creditors."
"We further agree to notify Jubilee Youth Ranch immediately if significant change in our net income occur."
"The cost of caring for a youth at Jubilee is $3,000 per month."
"I will seek additional support for the ranch totaling ______________ from the following sources"
No program in the industry demands tax return information, W-2's, current pay stubs, and all monthly expenses to be disclosed by families seeking help to our knowledge, except this one. This is an obscene amount of information to demand of people seeking help from a supposedly Christian/charitable organization. This is a serious concern.
It should concern families that JYR will be contacting their creditors regarding the information provided. This is over-reaching and shows the controlling and cult-like nature of the program. There are "Christian cults" that are not really Christians at all. Parents should do their homework before getting involved with such scams/schemes.
It is a concern that on page 25, JYR asks families to fundraise for them and asks for three people from whom the family seeking help will ask for money for the program. If this isn't a cult, HEAL doesn't like purple.
Application (Pages 28-29)
"JUBILEE YOUTH RANCH PLACEMENT AGREEMENT"
"I/We understand and agree to commit to a one-year placement at Jubilee Youth Ranch beginning _________ and ending _________."
"If in the sole discretion of Jubilee Youth Ranch there isn't sufficient progress in the student's assimilation into the program during this time, the student can/will be removed from the program without financial penalty as described below on point 10. Intake fees, personal funds and tuition paid are not refundable."
"On site family visits are welcomed after the initial 30-day Blackout period. Family visits must receive approval at least 48 hours in advance and should be conducted primarily on weekends. All home visits and on-site visits may be cancelled at staff's discretion."
"If student should be discharged from Jubilee Youth Ranch and/or choose to withdraw from the program prior to completing his full year commitment, ALL academic credits shall be revoked."
"Jubilee Youth Ranch is not responsible for any lost or stolen items throughout a students' stay or after dismissal."
"If Student chooses to withdraw from Jubilee Youth Ranch upon completion of a one-year commitment and has completed all Washington State graduation requirements prior to graduation ceremonies, he will receive his High School Diploma, but will not be eligible to return and march with his graduating class."
"Once a student has been discharged or removed from the program, regardless of reason, he may not return to campus unless he receives prior written approval from the Chief Operations Officer or the Executive Director and must be supervised by staff member at all times."
placement agreement is breached by Student's withdrawal prior to
completion of the one-year commitment, Parent/Guardian agrees to
pay the remaining one-year contracted tuition balance due under
this placement agreement with said charges to be immediately due
and payable...In the event of Early Termination by Jubilee Youth
Ranch, the Parent/Guardian will be responsible for 50% of the
remaining contracted tuition balance due under the Agreement,
with said charges to be immediately due and payable. If no
payments or agreements have been received and/or scheduled
within 90 days of the termination date, your account will be
submitted to a collection agency."
"Jubilee Youth Ranch Notarized Consent of Parent-Guardian"
"I agree that I will hold harmless and not bring suit against Jubilee Youth Ranch or its agents or employees for any injury, harm or other dangers whether caused by its agents, employees, or by third parties."
"This consent authorizes the use of pictures or other audio or visuals in which my child may appear or any other media in which said child may appear in promotions or productions which are connected with Jubilee Youth Ranch or its ministries."
"I grant my child permission to travel to various Jubilee Youth Ranch functions during his/her stay. I understand that these activities may take him/her to other states."
"In addition, I agree not to hold Jubilee Youth Ranch liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while on the road or at any of these functions."
It has been mentioned previously that the one-year commitment is too long and the cost to extreme, given the benefits of having the boys perform free labor at the ranch, which, certainly subsidizes the program and is for its benefit only.
It is a serious concern that there is a "communication blackout period" as this is a warning sign of an abusive program/cult. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for additional warning signs and questions you should ask any program you consider. It is also a serious concern that the parents are not given more authority in when they can visit their children. Parents have to request time off of work and make arrangements to visit in such circumstances and the control the program/cult exerts over visitation is unacceptable and not in line with respecting parental authority. Therefore, the program does not lead by example (something they claim is one of their values--see handbook review below) in showing that the parents have the authority. The program overrides the parental authority. And, therefore is unChristian.
It is unChristian to deny a child credits they have earned because they fail to stay for one-year as slave labor at the ranch. It is also unethical and not helpful in assisting the child to advance academically or otherwise. This is also why JYR appears to be a cult.
It is a serious concern that the program demands children/families take full responsibility for their actions while the program refuses to take any responsibility for its actions or lack of security resulting in harm or loss of property. This is unconscionable and unfairly protects JYR at the expense of children and families.
It is a serious concern that if a child earns the right to graduate, but, the one-year commitment ends before graduation, that the child is barred from participating in graduation ceremonies unless they agree to one more year of slave labor in which the family pays the program to enslave the child. Sickening.
Every school in America, well, every real school in America, allows for and welcomes former students to visit. It is really cult-like of JYR to demand absolute control of a graduate and to refuse their visits unless approved by staff. HEAL assumes there are no "reunions" for classmates at this cult. Hmmm... Why are you thinking this is a good idea at this point? You really should have been turned off by JYR's financial demands and bizarre fundraising schemes. Do you understand what you are reading here? Please make smart choices that respect you and your family.
So, JYR wants at least $18,000 if they decide your child isn't "assimilating" to the "cult"/program and if they don't get it, they have all your financial information don't they...Scary!?! And, if you smarten up and remove your child, they expect the full $36,000 regardless. Talk to a lawyer, this is likely a bogus contract and not enforceable when all facts are considered. A Christian organization, our a--. JYR is a predatory outfit and shouldn't be trusted with children or your financial information. We can't believe it is still open. OMG!
Blanket releases that allow the staff at JYR to harm your child without concern of repercussion is unconscionable and unethical. See, they want absolute control, obedience, and supposed "right" to do whatever they want to your son (including enslaving him) and they want no responsibility for any harm that they cause. Hypocrites? Yes. Christian? Probably not.
It is a serious concern that JYR plans to use your child's likeness in videos and other supposed "promotional materials". This is a violation of your child's privacy rights and is a serious concern. You have the right to waive your own rights, but, not the rights of your child. This is not legal advice, but, for the court decisions that show that the above is true, see www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm. They plan to raise money with your child's videos/audio/photos and how is your child compensated for this? This is not teaching them the value of their labor. And, this is a serious concern.
It is a serious concern that JYR plans to take minors across state lines for their fundraising agenda and that they take no responsibility and demand to be released from all liability in regards to any harms that befall the children on such trips. Do not sign your child over to strangers just because they claim to be people of faith. This appears to be little more than a money-making cult that enslaves children and costs families time and thousands of dollars for the "privilege".
Handbook (Page 2)
"Jubilee Academy and Youth Ranch sees its mission as an investment in restoring wholeness to boys with broken lives, broken relationships with God, self and others with the goal of preparing them for living lives of meaning and purpose as followers of Jesus Christ."
It remains a serious concern that this program's primary goal is not the health and well-being of the children, but, the conversion of the children to JYR's limited interpretation of scripture and their values of slavery and labor without fair compensation. It is similar to what was done in the 1800s to convince enslaved people in the U.S. that God wants them to obey their "masters" on earth. This is a misuse of scripture to enslave as opposed to the proper use which is to comfort, inform, enlighten, and free people.
It is also a serious concern that JYR sees the children as broken upon arrival. This is a hopeless idea and shows that JYR does not respect the life of the child and the environment/experiences that have created frustration and discord in the child's life. In addition, promoting the idea that a child is broken alleviates JYR from ethical concerns as one does not worry about breaking something already considered broken. And, this is a serious concern given the lack of responsibility JYR is willing to accept for harm they cause to children in their care.
Handbook (Page 3)
"Visits by parents and or legal guardian are strongly encouraged upon pre-arrangement with the Student Services Manager or a Senior Management staff person and a On-campus request form must be filled out and sent into the above mentioned staff at least 48 business hours in advance of your visit and only after a student has earned his Level 1."
"Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 may qualify for 48 hour on-campus visits."
"Students are not allowed to bring alarm clocks, MP3s, CD players and CD music, DVD players and DVD movies, stereo systems, radios, cameras, electric tooth brushes or any electronic devices of any kind."
"Students whom are at level 2, 3 and 4 are allowed a specific allotted amount of time for a phone call each week. Level 2 and 3 students are only allowed to contact their parent or legal guardian. Level 4 students may have a contact list that would be approved by the parents and as always at the discretion of Jubilee staff."
"A staff member will monitor by speaker phone all student calls. Calls may be terminated by staff if it is deemed the dialog is inappropriate by the student, parent or legal guardian."
"No student will be allowed to make a phone call without staff permission and monitoring while they are in the program at Jubilee."
It is a serious concern that regular visitation schedules are not in place at this program. Most hospitals, schools, and clinics have visiting hours where immediate family members can visit without having to get permission from the service provider days in advance. HEAL has found that these delays and controls are to protect the program from being found out if obvious signs of abuse are present. This includes bruising, cuts, and other injuries. Parents should have the right to visit their children when they see fit and a program that exercises such control over a family is not doing the right thing for the family. It is also a serious concern that visits must be "earned" and are not included as part of the family unification necessary for healing the family as a unit and further shows the program scapegoats the child for all family problems. This is a serious concern.
It is a warning sign of an abusive program to deny visits and to impose a level system such as is described in the handbook. Please see www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for additional warning signs and questions parents should ask any program they consider for their family.
It is a concern that children are not allowed their own cameras. This suggests that the program does not want children taking photos of incidents or abuse to create a record for future legal action or reports. This suggests secrecy and a cult-like environment at the program.
It is a serious concern and another warning sign of an abusive program that all calls are monitored by staff and children are not allowed access to the phone without staff involvement. This means if abuse is occurring and being covered up by JYR, the children have no way to get the word to their families or authorities to protect them and their fellows from abuse. This is unacceptable and again shows a secretive and likely abusive atmosphere in place at JYR.
Handbook (Page 4)
"NB students receive no phone or mail calling privileges"
"Level 0 students may send and receive mail only"
"Level 1 students may send and receive mail only"
"Level 2 students receive 5 minutes of calling time each week"
"Level 3 students receive 10 minutes of calling time each week"
"Level 4 students receive 15 minutes of calling time each week"
"No student is allowed to ride in a parent's, legal guardian or any other non staff car while a parent's, legal guardian or any other non staff is on an on-campus visit."
"No student is allowed off campus unless accompanied by a staff member or parent, and then only after proper notification of all staff involved."
"Parents, legal guardians are not allowed to take their student to a doctor's appointment, legal or court appointment of any kind but they will need to arrange with Jubilee staff to meet their student at a prearranged appointment...Students on level NB or 0 are not allowed to have a parent or legal guardian present at a prearranged appointment without permission from Jubilee Student Services Manager."
"Anything broken by a student through negligence or misconduct will be billed to that student's damage fund account. If the damage exceeds their damage fund account the parents are responsible for the balance owed and replenishing the damage account to the original amount agreed upon at student entry. Student may be prosecuted for damage that exceeds $200.00."
It is a serious concern that children are denied any contact with family during the early stages of the program. This does not show that JYR has a good understanding of the necessity to heal families as a unit and that scapegoating a child is wrong for the child and the family. In the previous section discussed, we went over the fact that monitoring of phone calls and lack of access to a phone assists programs like JYR in covering up abuse and is unnecessary and overly controlling. JYR appears to be nothing more than a cult, scamming families, and likely harming children.
It is a serious concern that families do not have the authority, according to JYR, to take their child out to dinner during a visitation period. Families need alone time to reconnect and bond. Parents have the legal right to leave such a program with their child for dinner or an outing and it is really disrespectful of JYR to assume control over the entire family. Is JYR there to help the family heal or to rake in the dough while enslaving youth and covering up any wrong-doing? The policies in place at JYR suggest the latter.
Parents and their children should be allowed to leave campus for private doctor's appointments, legal appointments, and the like regardless of which "level" the child is on. This is over-reaching on the part of JYR and again suggests a cult-like program and not a therapeutic environment.
It is also a concern that JYR takes no responsibility for items belonging to the child that are damaged, lost, or stolen and yet has the nerve to hold children accountable for negligence. It is unlikely that a minor would be held liable for negligence in a court of law as the law imposes different standards on minors than for adults. So, it sounds like if JYR is negligent in their supervision of a child in their care resulting in damage to their property, that, instead of being responsible adults and accepting the costs of such accidents as the cost of running such a business, they blame the child. It is their modus operandi, blame the kid. And, that is not helpful, healing, or therapeutic for the child.
It is also a serious concern that this "Christian" program is willing to prosecute children in their care for damage likely due to the maltreatment or negligence on the part of JYR. This appears to be an intimidation tactic to insure that no one questions their authority in such events and again suggests it is a cult and not a therapeutic school or program.
Handbook (Page 5)
"Students who leave under any circumstances other than the completion of the program will have their personal belongings inventoried, boxed and stored immediately...After 10 days, all items will become the property of the program and will be distributed to other under-privileged students."
"All reading material must be approved by staff. Each student is required to bring/have a Christian Bible. Mormon, Jehovah's Witness and any Eastern Religion bibles or materials are not allowed on campus."
"DRUGS and ALCOHOL"
"Such occurrences could lead to expulsion from Jubilee. Such occurrences will also be subject to arrest and prosecution by the local police authorities."
It is a serious concern that a child's belongings are not in his possession or returned immediately to him or his family. HEAL coordinators have experienced items being stolen by program staff at other programs. And, other programs in this industry have lied to parents claiming that their children packed their belongings, when, it was the program staff who did the packing. This has resulted in lost/stolen items and is a concern. What happened to "Thou shalt not steal"?
It is a serious concern that this program accepts state/federal money through school district and/or court-ordered placement and denies children access to their own religious materials. Faith-based programs receiving government funds are required to respect the freedom of religion of individuals in the program. A church can operate a soup kitchen and even preach to those receiving meals, but, they cannot deny service to those in need based on lack of shared faith. And, having a narrow worldview in regards to faith is not helpful in assisting children in adjusting to globalization and respect for diversity. These are serious concerns.
It is a serious concern that this program claims to accept children with a history drug abuse and will prosecute them while in supposed treatment if they slip up. People in drug treatment programs are generally and lawfully to be protected by those providing treatment in such incidents. And, this suggests that JYR is not operating in a professionally ethical manner. This is a serious concern.
Handbook (Page 7)
"Casual style clothing items are not allowed."
"When any student goes off property representing Jubilee, he must wear appropriate clothes for the activity."
"All clothing worn must be clean, neat, properly ironed, free from large patches, free from revealing rips or tears and display a positive, Godly image. This applies on or off property."
"Work Uniform; Blue jeans, solid navy or white crew tee-shirt and athletic shoes or work boots. No tank top or wive beater tee-shirts allowed."
"The Management Team must approve hairstyles."
"Hair will remain trimmed. (Off the collar and ears)"
"Haircuts are required each month and are provided at no cost by staff."
"No facial hair. (Sideburns trimmed at the middle of ear)"
JYR demands absolute control over every aspect of the child's life that may involve in opportunity for self-expression. This is a serious concern. And, it does not assist children in the self-actualization process. Please see our free e-book for more information.
Handbook (Pages 8-9)
"Only Medical Emergency Bracelets/Necklaces may be worn."
"Students at Jubilee Youth Ranch are not allowed more than $2.00 on their persons or in their rooms at any time."
"SOLICITATION OF FUNDS BY STUDENT"
"Students are not required to be involved directly in the solicitation of funds for the general operating expenses of the program. From time to time, certain students may, with permission, be involved in raising funds for specific school-oriented projects that directly benefit the youth involved. Testimonies from students may be used to highlight the effectiveness or impact of the program. Student pictures, images, live movie and voice may be used in promotion for the ranch."
"JYR reserves the right to search personal property or any room at any time."
"Threats made against Jubilee both verbal and non-verbal i.e. Drawings and written words can and will be subject to prosecution or mental evaluation by a crisis team."
"As a Christian ministry, God's Word is the basis for all counseling. No student will ever be counseled to do anything contrary to God's Word."
"Jubilee complies with the current HIPPA laws"
It is a concern that personal jewelry (i.e. a crucifix) is not allowed at a Christian program. And, the limitations on self-expression and personal comforts that come from such self-expression (which is a constitutionally protected right even for children) is a serious concern. Again, we recommend you review the free e-book for more information.
JYR wants to limit a child's access to funds to prevent the possibility of a successful escape and report to authorities of what goes on at the ranch.
It is a serious concern that children are used to fundraise for the ranch when their families are already paying a minimum of $3000/mo to the program. This is outrageous. It is nice that the program uses the term "school" to describe where the funds go, but, it is likely they mean "program". JYR has already admitted above that they do not make academic achievement a priority. So, this is a concern and again shows that JYR exploits the children in the program.
It is a concern that JYR actively violates the privacy of the children in the program.
It is a concern that JYR uses threats of prosecution and further institutionalization when a child expresses himself through artwork, regardless of the content of such artwork.
Parents should ask what JYR means by "God's Word" and how JYR interprets scripture.
Jubilee uses identifiable information (photo/video/voice) to raise money for itself. This violates HIPAA (not HIPPA) regulations and the confidentiality and privacy of the child. This is a serious concern and shows that JYR does not operate ethically.
Handbook (Page 10)
"Students in school, church or work crew attire are required to have their shirt tucked in at all times."
"Only students with Kitchen Prep, work crew or those with permission from staff are allowed in the food preparation area."
"Eat as much as you want, eat all that you take."
"All doors to the rooms in the dormitories will remain open at all times day or night unless the student is changing clothes."
What do the children do on "work crew" and how does this benefit the program? It is a serious concern that this program uses the children as free labor. If JYR's interpretation of the Bible is that slavery is approved of by God, then they don't really understand the point of it all and would be considered "false prophets" as Jesus warned us to guard against.
Do children prepare all the meals at JYR? What exactly does JYR do for the children? What exactly does JYR demand of the children? Is their equanimity and fairness in the give and take with this program? It appears the answer is no and this is a serious concern.
How much food is prepared? Do children have only one shot before all the "good stuff" is gone or all the food is gone? Meaning, if there is not enough for everyone to have seconds of any particular dish if desired or needed and therefore they are put in a position to take as much as they can the first time around and then are forced to overeat as a result of the system JYR has created for food service, isn't it unfair and unhealthy? And, wouldn't every professional dietician cringe at the thought of such a meal distribution system? This is a serious concern as it could result in eating disorders.
It is a serious concern that JYR does not respect the privacy of the children. If JYR demands that everyone lead by example, shouldn't they show more respect to the children in the program?
Handbook (Page 11)
"Any student found in the room of another will be subject to a location violation and consequences. There is ample room for socializing in the recreation areas."
"Students are not allowed in empty rooms."
"No pictures or posters allowed on the walls or ceiling"
"All pictures, notes, certificates and/or posters are limited for display on the corkboard provided in each room and they must be approved by staff"
"Do not use vanity sinks for washing clothes. Use utility sink only."
"Shower thongs (Flip flops) must be worn in shower. No Bare Feet."
"No loitering in bathroom. (10 minute limit on showers)"
"No using bathrooms on level other than your "home" level."
"No showers before 6:00 am or after 9:30 pm. This is quiet time for all students."
"Student must always tell staff first before beginning consequences. Failure to inform staff will result in completion of consequences not being counted."
"Refusal to complete consequences assigned will result in a "willful disobedience" write-up."
Just like the Nazis, JYR does not want people to privately and peaceably assemble (another constitutional violation at JYR).
Why are rooms that are to be left alone not locked by staff? Does JYR consider the recreation areas to be "empty rooms"?
At another program in Washington, a child was sent a quilt made by her family that included photos of her family and her dog. The program wouldn't allow it. She also wanted to put up a picture of her immediate family and the program said she wasn't allowed a picture of her family because she hadn't earned the right to have it yet. We bring this up to point out that their are very unreasonable standards in place and the types of pictures you think would be allowed are, in fact, banned. This is a serious concern.
Are children required to wash all of their clothes by hand in a sink? Does the program even have an industrial washing machine and dryer? This is a concern as it does not prepare children for the real world and spends too much effort on creating physically exhausted individuals who are easy to control as opposed to mature, independent adults who are prepared for life in the 21st century.
Feet need time to breathe. Are children ever allowed to go barefoot indoors or outdoors? And, are the conditions at JYR so unsanitary that footwear is required? Why isn't JYR more sanitary?
At another program in Washington, a girl reported that she was forced to shout out a count while using the toilet, every time she used the toilet. She was forced to keep the door to the bathroom open. This amount of stress resulted in severe gastro-intestinal issues for the child. It is reasonable to put time limits on showers, but, if someone is having diarrhea, leave them alone.
Are children given different and/or better/worse living conditions depending on what level they are on? Do NB and level 0 children have to use an out-house? One wonders what exactly is going on at this ranch.
The schedule is packed tight from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm at this program and filled with unnecessary stress that is harmful to the children. With all of the responsibilities laid on the children, there is not enough time for individual reflection/personal time/rest. This is a serious concern. If the schedule is varied due to events at the program, is there any flexibility in the rules dictating when things are to be completed? If not, this is unfair and sets children up for failure. JYR does not care about children or their well-being. This is quite evident.
Are children given a fair opportunity to dispute accusations or does the program unreasonably demand perfection and punish for even the slightest variation from their unreasonable standards? What do consequences consist of? Are consequences ever performed outside of the regular schedule and, if so, does that create an allowance for a variation in shower-time? For instance, if a child is on punishment (consequences) and has to complete a task during an already packed day and decides to get up and shower at 5:30 am and get the "consequences" completed before the normal day starts at 6:30 am, is that allowed? If not, why is JYR so unreasonable? This is not leading by example and is not line with Christian values.
Jesus was a rebel. He disobeyed and questioned authority. He stood up for the poor and those without a voice. This is his legacy and what drives legitimate people of faith to stand up for those who cannot do so. There are few acts more Godly/Christian than rebelling against tyrants, scoundrels, and those who exploit and enslave their fellows. Willful disobedience at JYR should be rewarded if the cause of the child is just.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8-9
Handbook (Page 12)
"Following are the types of discipline that can be assigned:"
"Hills- Students must run from the bottom of the hill and touch the cross at the top. Students may periodically rest while going up the hill but may not walk at any time. No resting at the top of the hill. When coming down the hill, students may choose to run or walk."
"Campus Work Assignment- Students will be assigned work around the campus such as weed pulling, Kitchen duty, mowing and garbage pick-up."
"Essays- Residential Management may assign essays which must be complete and legible when submitted."
"Room Restriction- Black Out status will automatically be applied to those on room restriction."
"Meal Restriction- No student is allowed to fast or do kitchen clean up during this consequence. Students on meal restriction will eat by themselves in the dining room away from the remainder of the student body. Students on meal restriction will receive a Bologna sandwich, a piece of fruit and a glass of milk. Students are not allowed to talk to other students during their meal."
"In the rare event that temporary and immediate physical restraint is needed, staff will follow these guidelines:"
"Only enough physical force will be used to control the situation"
"Students are encouraged to improve behaviors and to grow as a servant while at Jubilee. Their willingness to participate and to reach outside their own personal benefits are recognized and rewarded through the issuances of merits. Students can spend their accrued merits like money at our on-line store. The on-line store will stock many of the basic needs students have such as soap, shaving equipment, socks, etc. They will be able to use their earned Jubilee BUX for other items as they climb the level system."
How often does the pointless hill exercise result in injury to the children forced to endure it?
What other types of discipline are used at the program? What other "jobs" that JYR should hire and pay staff to do are the children forced to do while their families pay $3000 a month to have their children treated like slaves?
Are the essays ever referred to and/or do they constitute what other programs call "moral inventories" or "full disclosure" letters? In these essays, are children required to embellish their wrong-doing in order to help prove that the placement was a good idea to the parents? Such is the case at many programs in this industry and it raises serious concerns regarding the ethics of the program and the quality of care of the children.
Is "room restriction" a euphemism for isolation/solitary confinement? What is the longest a child has spent on "room restriction"? These are questions parents should be asking JYR.
Why are children not allowed to be social when they break bread? This seems to be in opposition to the community-building claims made by the JYR cult. "Thou shalt not bear false witness", JYR.
What de-escalation techniques are used to stop a situation from reaching the boiling point? How does the JYR environment create potential for violent outbursts? And, what responsibility does JYR take for situations getting out of hand? If they injure your child, they demand you not hold them liable. This is a serious concern as many children have died in other programs due to improper restraint practices.
See, JYR openly admits that their goal is to turn your child into a servant who obeys their imposed master without question. This is not in line with Christian or American values. This is a serious concern as it suggests the likelihood of long-term debilitating effects in regards to a child's sense of self-worth and demand for fair treatment.
Handbook (Page 15)
"Jubilee Christian Academy is a fully accredited Private High School in the State of Washington. The curriculum used is ABecca which is a faith based curriculum."
"Attendance in Chapel is mandatory for all students."
"No talking to other students except on Chapel Topic and at appropriate times."
"Students are NEVER allowed to use staff computers."
"No student shall ever use a computer/internet for anything other than permission prescribed class work and under the observation of staff at all times."
"All office equipment is off limits to the students"
Jubilee Academy appears to be registered with/approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Washington State.
According to the state of Washington, Jubilee must meet the following requirements:
So, this means that Jubilee is not regulated and does not receive on-site visits from the State of Washington to determine compliance and compliance is determined by the electronically submitted forms that Jubilee can easily falsify to appear to be in such compliance. This is a concern and does not show that the program is effectively regulated in any way by the State of Washington.
It is a serious concern that children are forced to attend "Chapel", even if it is against their personal religious beliefs. It is a serious concern because it violates the civil rights of the child. Parents can sign away their own rights, but, not the rights of their minor children. Again, this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice please see www.heal-online.org/legal.htm.
It is a serious concern that children are not permitted free expression as is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights.
Parents and regulators should understand that children are denied access to the internet, phones, and other means of reporting any abuse or other violations at the program and this is a serious concern as it leaves the children with no opportunity for protection against abuse.
Handbook (Page 16)
"Students may sit in the foyer couches with permission only"
"Sync Up: Program-required, group-centered courses (not for credit) where each student develops a dynamic portfolio that catalogues his growth and resources in Spiritual, Psycho-Social, Personal, and Career Transition areas of his Student Learning and Career Transition Plan (SLCTP)."
"Vo-Tech: Program required, career-focused activities (not for credit) where students are exposed to real-world work environments that develop job skills, personal responsibility, work ethic, and social adeptness."
"Athletics: Season-based courses where Physical Education credit is awarded based on participation in team sports or individual participation in 90x90."
"Jubilee Challenge: Activity-based incentive opportunities that are centered on the development of character and motivations for change."
"GED (a by-invitation-only program at Jubilee for students who meet established criteria)"
Is there a difference between the foyer area and so-called recreation areas?
"Sync Up" sounds as if it may equate to group sessions/rap sessions/confrontational group sessions and this is a serious concern. Parents should ask for a sample (SLCTP) and for details about what goes on during these group sessions. Parents should demand that every group their child participates in be video-taped with a copy sent to them or posted privately on youtube.com or a similar service to review the treatment their child is receiving at this program.
What kind of "real-world work environments" are children exposed to and are they compensated for the labor they contribute to such work projects/activities. If not, it is not a "real-world" experience.
What is 90x90?
Parents should ask Jubilee to list all Jubilee Challenge "opportunities" that have been offered in the current 12-month period and how Jubilee benefits from such "opportunities" at the expense of the children.
It appears GED is the diploma plan offered by Jubilee, and the only diploma plan offered by Jubilee. This suggests they are not equipped to give any other type of diploma. Parents should inquire as to this and into why all children in the program are not automatically on-track to earn a diploma as part of the program.
Handbook (Page 17)
"Students will be required to participate in Life Skills and Economic Literacy (a .5 credit course) in either their first or second semester, regardless of their grade level."
"Please note that students are required to participate in both classes at Jubilee regardless of whether they took similar classes previously in other schools or programs."
"Portfolios are designed to track and collect the student's personal inventories and resources both within and without Jubilee."
It is a serious concern that Jubilee will force children to complete courses in which they have already earned credit and therefore the credit achieved becomes worthless and is likely a huge waste of time that could be used teaching the children something useful and academic that will assist them in pursuing a bright future with real opportunity for education and advancement.
Will Jubilee provide a sample of a portfolio to show exactly what is expected of children in the program? Does Jubilee punish children for failing to meet standards that have not been properly designed or conferred to the children? Other programs do, and this is why we ask.
Handbook (Page 18)
"Attaining a character level (with the exception of level one) requires that a student maintain behavior patterns to keep it. Not meeting any one of the criterion for a specific level is grounds for level drop or other disciplinary actions given at the discretion of staff members."
"This means that actions taken for one student may be different than those for another student, even if their situations appear to be similar. Jubilee reserves this right and will insist that families and students be supportive and proactive in every decision made on behalf of the student."
"Entry Level New Beginnings (NB)"
"Students struggling at level New Beginnings at their 30day mark can at the discretion of the Staff Action Committee move to level 0 and remain on that level until minimum general expectations of agreement to the program is reached."
"At this level, students are invited to participate in all on-campus activities and earn Jubilee Bux."
"This level will be whether moving up from NB or down from a previous level will be determined by the Staff Action Committee and there will be no set time for moving up except all students will be reviewed every 2 weeks."
"The process of moving up in levels will be solely at the discretion of the Staff Action Committee. Students will no have to apply for a level up or down."
Readers may notice a lot of grammatical and/or spelling errors in the red/quoted portions from JYR's documents. The quotes are written as shown in the documentation provided by JYR.
It is a serious concern that the program which stands to benefit from keeping children at the lower levels longer will do so and exploit the situation. This is emphasized by the 12-month requirement which is excessive and proven to be ineffective and harmful. It is unhealthy for a child to spend so much time away from family and without contact with family and the outside world. This is in part why HEAL believes JYR is a cult masquerading as a treatment program/school.
Survivors of programs similar to JYR report that the greatest amount of torment, abuse, and torture of children occurs at the lowest levels of the programs. Being bounced-back or dropped to a lower level is something that is usually used to torment children and deny them contact with their loved ones while being abused. This is a serious concern. Using this type of level system is a warning sign of an abusive program. For additional warning signs and questions you should ask any program you consider for your family, see www.heal-online.org/warn.htm.
Instead of preparing children for the workplace in which they will need to have the self-esteem and confidence to ask for raises and apply for promotions, the program instills hopelessness, fear, and oppresses children by denying them the right to be a voice for their own welfare. This is a serious concern and again shows the program does not provide effective leadership by example.
Handbook (Page 19)
(Level 0 continued)
"Students ay receive and send mail to parent, legal guardian, church youth pastor or church counselor only."
"In addition to on-campus activities, the student is now invited to write and receive mail fro his parent/legal guardians, grandparents, and younger siblings only, with approval given at staff discretion."
"The student is also now invited to host his parent/legal guardians, younger siblings, (no teen visitors) and grandparents for on-campus visits, all with approval given by staff members. All on campus visits must be pre-arranged and all on campus visit request form must be filled out and received a minimum of 2 business days prior to your visit. Please note this privilege is given by discretion of staff members and may be revoked if any visitors or the student violates any campus policies."
"Students can purchase level 1 only items on the Jubilee Economis online store with their Jubilee Bux."
"To achieve this level the student must:"
"Show passive respect; he refrains from: disruptive behavior, resistance against authority, inappropriate behavior, rudeness, etc., in all Jubilee activities and functions."
"Refrain from insisting he be removed from the program."
"Student is participating in Sync Up without displaying disrespectful words/actions or displays of resistance."
"Accept consequences without argument, complaint, passive resistance, or aggression."
As previously mentioned, the whimsy of the staff is what controls the family when the family is involved with JYR. If parents have arranged to take off work and have made arrangements to have their home or other belongings cared for and are en route to JYR, JYR may call the family on the cell-phone and cancel without notice. But, JYR requires notice for a visit. So, this is unconscionable and unfair and really disrespectful to the family's scheduling needs. Why are you still considering this place? Really... Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Halls have more respectful visitation schedules than JYR. Think about it.
The barring of communication with older or adult siblings is likely due to the fact that older/adult siblings have successfully fought to get a younger sibling free from similar programs using the legal system and by talking straight with their parents about what is going on and how the family is being scammed. So, this is a concern and disruptive to family relationships, therefore not in line with Christian/Family Values.
Parents, how are you going to feel if you ask to take your son out to dinner on an on-campus visit for some quality time and the program kicks you off the property for violating their policies? This is what they claim they will do and this should be a serious concern if you think you and your family should be united and encouraged, not oppressed and controlled by a cult that is ripping you off.
So, children are not allowed to question authority at all. And, are brainwashed into being automatons who obey orders without question and are punished if they show any sign of self-confidence and passion for justice and fair treatment. Is JYR really allowed in the USA? This is disgusting.
Handbook (Page 20)
"Level 2 continued"
"Level 2 can be a process that can take an average from 30 to 90 days depending on the character, behavior and actions of the student and how he is responding the next level requirements."
"In addition to privileges earned while at Level 1,"
"The student is now invited to make a 5-minute phone call to his parents/legal guardians one time per week."
"Student may also be granted discretionary permission to begin participating in team sports with approval of staff members and by invitation only. Please note that this is a case-by-case consideration not given to all students."
"Students can purchase level 1 & 2 items only on the Jubilee Economis online store with their Jubilee Bux."
"Make appropriate progress towards his program goals as outlined in his SLCTP."
"Fully refrains from manipulative interactions and communications with staff, peers, family, visitors, etc."
"Fully refrain from forming alliances with peers or any other persons that undermine program goals."
"Be able to demonstrate authentic engagement in the program such that staff members are able to discern that behaviors are reflective of genuine change. Because this is a highly subjective criterion that relies heavily upon staff experience, skill, and intuition, staff members will present significant, congruent evidence when acting in reliance upon it."
"Proactively participates in Sync Up, SLCTP, Refocus, 1 to 1, Vocational Experience, Physical Activity Requirements, Devotions, and all other Jubilee activities and functions."
"Level 3 can be a process that can take on average from 30 to 90 days depending on the character, behavior and actions of the student and how he is responding the next level requirements."
"In addition to privileges earned while at Level 2:"
"The student is now participate in off campus trips with Jubilee Staff"
"Students can use their Jubilee Bux to purchase level three items on the Jubilee Economis online store."
"Students may have phone calls up to 10 minutes once a week to his parents/legal guardians only."
"Further, a student who attains a Level 3 will be given an automatic "wage" increase in the Economis system, increasing the amoung of Jubilee Bux he earns on a daily basis."
It appears that the first 4 levels of the program can be achieved in a minimum period of 4 months, according to Jubilee. If level 4 can also be achieved within 30 days, this suggests that the minimum length of the program should be 6 months as opposed to 12 months. This again shows the profit-motive of holding the children in the program for longer periods than necessary and suggests that JYR is nothing more than a cult/scam that exploits families in need of legitimate help.
It remains a serious concern that all calls are monitored and that a child may not speak with their parents by phone until after 3-6 months have passed. This is a serious concern and shows a disrespect for the unity of the family and the need of the child to have contact with family. It is also a warning sign, as mentioned above, that all calls are monitored by staff and will be disconnected if a child reports abuse or other violations during a call. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for important information.
It is a concern that children are not encouraged to try out for sports or to apply for promotions/level changes on their own. This does not encourage independence or self-confidence and is a serious concern.
Programs often claim legitimate complaints about their practices are "manipulation". This is a serious concern and suggests that JYR is an abusive behavior modification program. For a brief description of the problem with behavior modification as it is utilized by JYR and similar programs, click here.
It is a serious concern that JYR repeatedly violates the civil rights of children in the program. This is again exemplified by denying children freedom of association in the barring of making friends (alliances) that may be the only refuge for a child being held captive by JYR. This again suggests that JYR is nothing more than a cult.
Since JYR uses such horribly subjective criteria to determine advancement in the program and benefits from the long-term captivity of children in the program, we recommend parents not subject their children to this program.
Parents should ask for detailed descriptions of what is meant by "Sync Up", SLCTP, Refocus, Devotions, and other requirements made by JYR.
Is it really a privilege to be a traveling beggar with a cult asking for money from strangers? How does this create an ethical, independent young adult? And, parents should see a HUGE RED FLAG when any school/program wants to take their children on a road trip without access to a telephone and no ability to alert the authorities. Survivors of other programs have reported that such trips involve the sexual and other exploitation of minors. And, this is a serious concern. HEAL has received no reports that sexual abuse has occurred at JYR. But, such has occurred at similar programs in Washington State and around the country.
Parents would do well to study history and learn about the "company store" and how workers historically have been underpaid, forced to purchase from the company and inflated costs and therefore never able to get ahead financially. Are children being fairly compensated for their labor? Parents should ask what labor their child performs for the program; demand an accounting of it; check what that labor would be worth in the free market; compare the free market worth of the labor with the "Jubilee Bux" earned; compare the cost of items in the Jubilee store with the relative cost to items and value of Bux to real dollars to insure that their child is being given legitimate and respectful treatment as workers; and, if the child is not receiving a fair wage for their labor, parents should look into suing JYR for violating child labor laws.
Handbook (Page 21)
"To achieve this level the student must"
"Have mailed no less than 8 Impact Letters (with the assistance of Chaplain, Counselor, and Student Services) to his parents/legal guardian."
"Reliably demonstrate a commitment to making positive, healthy, choices for himself such that staff members are able to discern that behaviors are reflective of genuine change. Because this is a highly subjective criterion that relies heavily upon staff experience, skill, and intuition, staff members will present significant, congruent evidence when acting in reliance upon it."
"Student reliably makes himself available for assistance to-and support of- staff members and students and actively promotes positive behavior and choices among other students."
"Student has completed no less than 16 sessions of the Genesis Process for Change program."
"In addition to privileges earned while at Level 3"
"Student may have a 15 minute phone call once a week and may share that time between those that are on an approved level 4 contact sheet."
"Students no longer have to do chores outside of keeping their own room clean but will be called upon to supervise chores, monitor hallways and asked to volunteer as areas of need may arise. This gives the level 4 student the opportunity to be a willing participant based on their desire to help."
"The student is invited to participate in special, off-campus events, and in our game room where he may use video game consuls and watch selected movies and television programs."
"Students may also have opportunities extended that are considered a "special privilege.""
"Further, a student who attains Level 4 will be given an automatic "wage" increase in the Economis system, increasing the amount of Jubilee Bux he earns on a daily basis."
"Student may purchase Level 4 items from the Jubilee Economis online store."
"Transition can be granted (always at staff discretion) during the final month of a student's program. It is expected that the student and his family will participate, to the extent they are able (Jubilee makes accommodations for out-of-state families) in the Transition process to facilitate the 48-hour transition visits (not to exceed four total) where the student will prepare to integrate back into his home. Visits are meant to assist the student and his family with reintegration; they are not meant in any way to coincide with holidays, birthdays, special occasions, etc., as they are strictly for serving the needs of the student as he makes his final step out of Jubilee."
"Please note that violation of any Jubilee regulations while on a 48-hour Transition Visit, or failure to fully participate in the Transition process by either student or parent may result in termination of successive visits."
Based on our experience with similar programs, the "Impact Letters" are likely forced false confessions of horrible and illicit acts the child has never participated in and which if not embellished would result in the child being accuse of not being completely honest. This is a serious concern and can cause lasting harm to the child and the family relationship.
"Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right." - Mahatma Gandhi
Point being, we live and learn. Expecting perfection and absolute obedience from another human being is disrespectful of their basic human rights. And, this is a serious concern. Parents who end up requiring assistance due to family struggles are primarily responsible for the difficulties their family is experiencing. Parents who have children with problems are likely very troubled themselves. And, it is wrong to use the child as a scapegoat for family problems. Human beings are imperfect and make mistakes up until the day they die. This cannot be corrected through behavior modification, brainwashing, and torture. People live and learn as they experience life. You cannot force a child to experience every horror and hope that it will scare them into always making healthy choices. George W. Bush had a substance abuse problem in his youth and grew up to become President of the United States. He did this without being sent to a behavior modification program. He did this with support of his family and his community. And, it was ultimately his choice and remains his choice to continue to be free of addiction. Experts repeatedly state that someone cannot change until they want to change. Such changes cannot be forced and it is harmful to attempt to do so. JYR lacks humility necessary as supposed people of faith and this again shows they fail to lead by example (one of their supposed core values).
It is a serious concern that children at higher levels are put in supervisory positions over other children in the program. This is another warning sign of an abusive program. See www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for important information.
The Genesis Process of Change method was designed by Michael Dye. Dye's "qualifications" come from University of the Nations Addictive Behavioral School and Bethany College State Addictions Certification program. The University of the Nations is not an accredited university. There appear to be three accredited Bethany Colleges in the United States, but, Dye does not specify on his website which college he attended for certification. In searching online, HEAL was unable to find any program by any of the Bethany Colleges named "Bethany College State Addictions Certification Program". It is a serious concern that a method designed by someone who is not properly educated in psychology and ethics is being used by JYR. It is an additional concern that the program claims to help children with all sorts of issues, not just addiction and not even primarily addiction. Yet, all the children are forced to complete addiction treatment through the program in order to complete the program. This is a serious concern and shows incompetence on the part of the program and their choice of methods.
Again, it is a serious concern that this program wants so much control and even after the child is ready to transition home they say if the parents disobey the program visitation will be cut-off. Please do not subject your family to this program.
"The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions" (This page was likely part of the application and the second .pdf page of the application. We accidentally put this page behind the rest during the review and are now going over our concerns about it. We apologize for any confusion and ask that you look at the application and for the page titled as quoted in red above for context.)
"Although we require a one-year placement, our typical student completes his program in 12 to 16 months."
"Most of the students are from broken families and have been isolated and unaccepted in their homes, school and communities."
"We are not a typical "lock-down" facility, even though students may not leave without permission. We prefer to call ourselves a "staff secure" facility."
"Our average age is 15 years old. We accept students from 13 to 18 years of age."
"Jubilee Youth Ranch is a non-denominational Christ-centered ministry."
Since the contract term is always for one-year and that one-year term is to be renewed if needed at the end of the contract term, do families whose children "graduate" the program after 16-months still have to pay an additional $36,000 or only $12,000 for the extended timeframe? The contract terms suggest that the family will at least have to pay an additional $6,000 in the event that the child "graduates" early. This is a concern.
No program should enable parents to abandon their children and the most effective therapy is within the home and local community. This is proven fact and again, why JYR raises a number of serious concerns regarding their commitment to healing families.
JYR can call itself an amusement park, but, it is still a lock-down and still violates children's due process rights (for those not court-ordered). This is a serious concern.
We included the average age for information purposes only.
And, we are glad the program somewhere admits to being a ministry ("cult") as opposed to a legitimate treatment program or school.
Based on the above concerns, we recommend against placing any child at JYR and suggest families remove children currently enrolled in the program.
Last Updated:July 26th, 2012