(a.k.a. Aspen Education Group,)
(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 the
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Oakley
Please donít place
your loved one in
|Rachel Farrington||Parent Check In|
|Dallas Gines||Learning Specialist|
|Adam Heesch||Art Instructor|
|Jodi Rice||Office Asst.|
|Rod Andrus||Clinical Director|
|Todd Coleman||Experiential Director|
|James Meyer||Executive Director|
|Wes Selent||Director of Student Life|
|Matthew Smith||Academic Director|
|Bill Weston||Maintenance Director|
|Lauren Alexander Hansen||Admissions|
|Carrie Shoumatoff||Admissions Director|
|Doug Zakaras||Alumni Coordinator|
|Nicole Dietz||Trails Counselor|
|James Healey||Recovery Counselor|
|Leah Hibbeln||Clinical Intern|
|Becky Edwards||Human Resources|
|Tyrone Gortat||Facilities Asst.|
|Diego Ibarra||Head Chef|
|Kathy Sorenson||Business Office|
|Penni Warr||Admin. Asst.|
|Bethany Elson||Recreation/Child Labor|
|Evan Frost||Recreation/Child Labor|
|Charles Haer||Recreation/Child Labor|
|Sarah Jones||Recreation/Child Labor|
|Nikki McGee||Recreation/Child Labor|
|Tucker Voss||Recreation/Child Labor|
|T. R. Brooks||Night Staff|
|Cathy Eliason||Night Staff|
|Ari Ewell||Night Staff|
|Julie Flack||Night Staff|
|Tyler Pim||Night Staff|
|Stacy Santos||Night Staff|
|Mark Wittbank||Night Staff|
|Russell Love||Athletic Director|
|Leslie Czerwinski||Intervention Coordinator|
|*(Oakley School, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices. Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience. Thank you for your help.)|
HEAL has reviewed multiple Aspen Education Group contracts that appear to be
illusory, unconscionable, void/voidable, and arguably illegal. The
review of the available enrollment materials for
HEAL Report: Review of the Oakley School's
(This review does not constitute legal advice and is for information purposes only. If you need legal assistance, please contact an attorney.)
This review is based on the enrollment materials available online through oakley-school.com on November 3rd, 2010. The enrollment materials we are reviewing include: Required Testing For Enrollment Form, Minor Application Supplement, Adult Application Supplement, Student Application, Academic Information Form, Biographical Information Form, Emergency & Medical Information Form, Honor Code Form, Admissions Check List, Parent Information Form, Consent for Disclosure of Confidential Information Form, and School Report and Transcript Request Form. We recommend individuals click on the links in the previous sentence for the entire forms. We provide this for those who desire further contextualization. In this review, we will be quoting from Oakley's documents followed by our review of those quotes. We will not be continually linking to the enrollment materials throughout the remainder of the review and advise those who desire further contextualization to open the packet in a separate window while reading through the review.
"WIAT- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test"
"Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement"
"WISC - Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children"
"WAIS - Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale"
"MMPIA - Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory for Adolescents"
"MACI - Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory"
"Sentence Completion Test"
"Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)"
"SASSI for Adolescents"
"COMPU - 15"
"All testing materials will be kept confidential..."
How are the tests used and are the individuals at Oakley qualified to use the information properly to assess the needs of children in the program?
What are the existing professional criticisms regarding the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)? The following is a quote from an article written by Jennifer Tyee Ph.D. criticizing the efficacy of the WIAT and WISC tests:
"Proponents of this approach claim
objectivity, validity and reliability in the testing methods, however this
claim has been challenged (Carr & Kemmis 1983; Lindsay & Armstrong 1984;
Cambourne 1992; Ellerton & Clements 1997; McDonnell, McLaughlin & Morison
1997). Formalised tests are likely to lead to overstandardisation,
oversimplification and over reliance on statistics (Ellerton & Clements
1997). Robinson & Bartlett (1995) and Miller, Imrie and Cox (1998) maintain
that formalised assessment does not readily measure thinking and reasoning,
problem solving or the ability to generalise to the real world situation. In
addition to these criticisms are those associated with the testing
processes. There are many sources of errors associated with the formalised
assessment process. Some of the errors can arise from the testing
environment, the student, the test and the examiner (Cohen & Spenciner 1998;
Hallahan & Kauffman 2000). Some of the errors include noise, poor lighting,
student hunger, tiredness or anxiety and difficulty in understanding the
test instructions. Difficulties associated with the test administration
include unclear directions, poorly worded test items, ambiguous test scoring
and so forth (Cambourne 1992; Cohen & Spenciner 1998). The tests also
encourage right and wrong solutions with a tendency towards the assessor
determining various answers with students constrained to choose from another
personís selection (Miller et al 1998). Hallahan and Kauffman (2000) also
contend that test scores are only a sample of the students responses to a
set of questions or tasks and that they do not tell us what the students has
learnt or what they are capable of learning. "
What are the existing professional criticisms regarding the Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement? A few confirmedly abusive programs in Utah, including Cinnamon Hills Youth Crisis Center and The Heritage Schools use the Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement or at least so they claim. The following is a quote from a paper written by David F. Lohman at the University of Iowa:
"However, his most scathing criticism was reserved for an item on the Woodcock-Johnson III (Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001). The same vocabulary item was used both in the Verbal Comprehension test on the ability battery and in the Reading Vocabulary test on the achievement battery. "How can the same item measure both ability and achievement?" he shouted. A good ability test, he said, should contain only those items that could be administered with equal fairness to an individual who had no access to language or school as to the individual immersed in the dominant culture. How is this possible? His solution was to measure ability using only nonverbal, figural reasoning tests like the one on the handout he had distributed. Most of the teachers of gifted children in the audience seemed to find his arguments congruent with their beliefs about the matter."
For those of you unfamiliar with the definition of the word "scathing", it means "bitterly severe" or to "condemn" something. (merriam-webster.com) So, at least some respected professors of psychology condemn this test. And, this brings the use of such into question regardless of the qualifications of the so-called assessors.
HEAL is opting out of providing criticism of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale as the above portions have already given ample concern for the efficacy of using Wechsler designed tests to assess individuals. We do recommend parents take into consideration the faultiness of the testing provided and the lack of scientific efficacy in assessment provided by any such tests when considering what types of social engineering and psychological manipulation or experiments their children will be subjected to in an environment such as is provided at the Oakley School.
What are the existing professional criticisms of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory for Adolescents (MMPIA)? The MMPI has come under heavy scrutiny lately. Here is a quote from the forensicpsychologist.blogspot the references the criticism of the MMPI/MMPIA in recent articles from the Wall Street Journal and other publications:
"Psychology's most widely used personality test, the MMPI, jumped into
the national spotlight today in a fascinating David-and-Goliath controversy
pitting corporate interests such as Halliburton against the proverbial
A serious and recurring problem with behavior modification programs is that they tend to label all of their clients as manipulators and liars regardless of their issues and needs. Many children have died (i.e. Aaron Bacon, Michelle Sutton, etc.) in these programs while being taunted by staff claiming the children were faking their dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other ailments that ended up cutting their lives short. While a test such as the MMPI/MMPIA may reinforce Oakley's position that the children are liars and manipulators and give false data supporting such, it is a grave danger to place children with anyone who seeks to malign, abuse, and/or place children in harm's way while using such tests to protect themselves from any possible litigation for harm caused by their acts or failures to act when necessary for the child's health and welfare.
What are the professional criticisms of the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI)? The following criticism is provided by Patrick B. Carillo, Ph.D. (Doctoral Thesis on the MACI):
"Concurrent validity analyses with the RCMAS and RADS found that twenty-one of the twenty-seven scales were found to correlate with the RCMAS, while twenty-four MACI scales were found to correlate with the RADS. These results indicate that while the MACI may correlate highly with measures of anxiety and depression, it appears to lack discriminant validity."
Carillo's doctoral thesis analyzing the efficacy and validity of the MACI reports that there is not currently efficient data regarding the efficacy of the test and that based on his analysis, the MACI lacks validity. This raises serious concerns, especially when coupled with the issues raised by the other assessment tools already considered in this review. At best, it shows incompetence and lack of proper education on the part of the Oakley management team. At worst, it shows that Oakley may be intentionally using faulty and overly subjective testing to ensure that children, young adults, and/or their parents are persuaded by faulty testing that further institutionalization (and thereby more money for Oakley) is required.
The Rorschach tests are also known as the "inkblot" tests. These are also highly subjective and may or may not assist in properly assessing an individual. Most people are familiar with the "inkblot" tests from watching television and film. And, humorists have often poked fun at the idea. Ralph Underwager recently reviewed a book criticizing the Rorschach test called "What's Wrong with the Rorschach? Science Confronts the Controversial Inkblot Test" by James Wood, et al. Following is an excerpt from the review:
"The Rorschach Inkblot test is the second most widely used psychological test in this country and abroad. It is assimilated into our culture to the extent that jokes can be told about it in the media, by comics, and they all get laughs because it is so widely known. This dissemination has proceeded in the face of a lengthy scientific controversy and credible scientific evidence that the procedure is invalid and unreliable."
So, we have yet another sign that the tests used by Oakley are considered invalid, ineffective, and unreliable. The above information raises multiple concerns regarding Oakley and HEAL has already shared multiple reasons why any Aspen Education Group should be avoided.
What is the "Sentence Completion Test" and what professional criticisms exist of this test? Well, there are many different "Sentence Completion Tests" out in the world. Some are those as can be found on the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT). And, various experimental "sentence completion tests" are being tested by various schools of psychology and psychiatry as an alternative IQ (intelligence quotient) test. It would be helpful to know exactly what "sentence completion test(s)" Oakley uses or requires so we can provide additional information regarding the validity of such.
What is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and what professional criticisms exist of this test? An article written by Saul McLeod for simplypsychology.org states that the Thematic Apperception Test is a "projective test" similar to the Rorschach. McLeod writes:
"Indirect methods typically involve the use of a projective test. A projective test is involves presenting a person with an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) or incomplete stimulus (e.g. picture or words). The stimulus requires interpretation from the person. Therefore, the personís attitude is inferred from their interpretation of the ambiguous or incomplete stimulus.
The assumption about these measures of attitudes it that the person will ďprojectĒ his or her views, opinions or attitudes into the ambiguous situation, thus revealing the attitudes the person holds. However, indirect methods only provide general information and do not offer a precise measurement of attitude strength since it is qualitative rather than quantitative. This method of attitude measurement is not objective or scientific which is a big criticism."
So, it would appear all of the tests used or recommended by Oakley are considered unscientific, invalid, ineffective, overly subjective, and/or unreliable. Perhaps the same should be said of the Oakley School.
What is the SASSI for Adolescents and what professional criticisms exist in regards to this test? Dr. SW Feldstein and Dr. WR Miller with the University of New Mexico Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions wrote in their review of the SASSI for the National Institute of Health:
"No empirical evidence was found for the SASSI's claimed unique advantage in detecting substance use disorders through its indirect (subtle) scales to circumvent respondent denial or dishonesty. Recommendations for screening and for future research with the SASSI are offered."
So, once again there is a lack of scientific/empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of the SASSI test and further research is suggested. If a test has not been shown to be proven effective, then it is being experimentally used (at best) by Oakley. Struggling families should not be used as guinea pigs for psychiatric, medical, or any other type of experiments. To do so is exploitative and raises additional concerns regarding Oakley's motives and agenda.
What is the COMPU-15 and what professional criticisms exist in regards to this test? HEAL was unable to locate a definition of COMPU-15 and therefore we are unable to provide any additional information on this supposed test. It would be helpful if Oakley provided the complete language of any tests used as opposed to the acronym with no further information.
"Please take some time to write a letter to yourself for your 18th birthday."
"Right now you are making a commitment to engage in the process at The Oakley School."
It is highly likely that other Aspen Education Group programs coerce and/or use undue influence to get children enrolled in their programs to request placement in one of Aspen's "transitional" programs such as The Oakley School. It is also likely that the children are told that their parents will not allow them to go home unless they commit to the transitional placement. And, it is likely that the parents are advised to tell their children they will not be allowed to come home unless they successfully complete the transitional program recommended by Aspen. The purpose of such extended placement is multifold. It allows Aspen to collect at least one more year of fees and "tuition" from families. And, it prevents children and young adults from exercising their rights or filing any legal action. If a child "agrees" to stay in the program after reaching their age of majority, it will create barriers for the young adult in seeking judicial relief for any wrongs committed by Aspen against them while they were minors. And, these transitional programs provide another safeguard for the programs to protect them from appropriate litigation and accountability.
If minors and/or young adults are given no option other than extended institutionalization upon "graduating" another program, then the child/young adult cannot possibly be legitimately considered to be voluntarily committing to engage in the "process" of the program. Many survivors of programs have reported that they did not choose the transitional programs or to complete the programs upon reaching the age of 18 and that this choice resulted in their spending their 18th year and subsequent years homeless. If you are given a choice between what is claimed to be temporary transitional placement before going home or living on the street with no resources, it is not a legitimate choice and is made through duress, coercion, and exploitation.
"To be completed by applicants who are 18 at the time of enrollment:"
"As an 18 year old, you are voluntarily making a decision to enroll at The Oakley School."
"As an 18 year old you may consider breaking your contract and not fulfilling your Oakley commitment. Right now you are acknowledging your need for continued therapeutic work."
"This letter may be presented to you at a time when you are considering breaking your contract."
"Also consider writing about what your options may or may not be if you choose to leave Oakley before you have completed the program."
It is highly likely that other Aspen Education Group programs coerce and/or use undue influence to get young adults enrolled in their programs to request placement in one of Aspen's "transitional" programs such as The Oakley School. It is also likely that the young adults are told that their parents will not allow them to go home unless they commit to the transitional placement. And, it is likely that the parents are advised to tell their children they will not be allowed to come home unless they successfully complete the transitional program recommended by Aspen. The purpose of such extended placement is multifold. It allows Aspen to collect at least one more year of fees and "tuition" from families. And, it prevents young adults from exercising their rights or filing any legal action. If a young adult "agrees" to stay in the program after having reached their age of majority, it will create barriers for the young adult in seeking judicial relief for any wrongs committed by Aspen against them while they were minors. And, these transitional programs provide another safeguard for the programs to protect them from appropriate litigation and accountability.
If young adults are given no option other than extended institutionalization upon "graduating" another program, then the young adult cannot possibly be legitimately considered to be voluntarily committing to engage in the "process" of the program. Many survivors of programs have reported that they did not choose the transitional programs or to complete the programs upon reaching the age of 18 and that this choice resulted in their spending their 18th year and subsequent years homeless. If you are given a choice between what is claimed to be temporary transitional placement before going home or living on the street with no resources, it is not a legitimate choice and is made through duress, coercion, and exploitation.
"Who are the people with whom you spend your free time, and how do they reflect upon the person you are?" [page 2]
"What does the Oakley School have to offer you and what do you have to offer the Oakley School?" [page 3]
"Enclosed is a copy of the Oakley School's honor code. Please read the honor code and discuss your thoughts in regards to holding yourself and others accountable to these expectations:" [page 3]
"If you are applying to the Oakley School after completing another therapeutic program, please comment on what you have learned and what you are bringing with you into this next step:" [page 4]
"I understand that the Oakley School does not offer a Special Educational Program as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997 (IDEA 1997)." [page 5, enumerated page 7]
The first question quoted above recommends young adults discriminate and judge others. It suggests that by associating with people that others may not agree with based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other subjective standard is a valid basis for judging or prejudging the individual. Such an attitude is counter to creating a tolerant and respectful individual and society and it raises serious concerns.
A HEAL volunteer sent an e-mail regarding some of our concerns to The Oakley School on August 25th, 2011. We have not received a response. Here is an excerpt from that message:
"Are there any wilderness or residential programs from which you refuse to accept graduates? If so, or not, why?
I have reviewed the Utah Office of Education's Educational Directory. (http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/INFORMATION/Educational-Directory/DOCS/2009_EducationalDirectory.aspx) It appears you are accredited through the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS). This raises some concerns as other programs accredited through the NAAS have not had the credits recognized by legitimate schools and colleges. And, the NAAS no longer exists. It is now the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), to my understanding. In fact, other states, including New York have rejected diplomas and academic credits issued by NAAS/NWAC schools. You claim to be a college preparatory boarding school in the admissions forms, and this has led to some concerns. In reviewing the US Department of Education information regarding NWAC, it is non-existent. This suggests it is in no way recognized nationally as an appropriate accreditation agency for academic services. I did search the NWAC website and see that you are listed as "accredited". (http://db.northwestaccreditation.org/results.aspx) But, my concern is that such accreditation from a questionable and not nationally recognized accreditation agency brings your standards into question.
Have your residents/students had any difficulty with their credits transferring to nationally accredited schools and/or have their diplomas been rejected by any schools or institutes of higher learning (i.e. legitimate colleges and universities)?
I also noticed that you request information that is generally protected by HIPAA, but, don't appear to disclose in your materials that you are not a licensed medical facility and therefore not required to protect generally protected health information about your clients. In your admissions forms, you disclaim any responsibility or legal liability for the disclosure of protected health information that would otherwise breach confidentiality protocols. Is there a reason you do not disclose in your admissions documents the fact that you are not a medical facility and that non-medical service providers are not required by federal law to safeguard protected health information?"
It would appear based on the concerns raised in the quoted text above that the Oakley School has very little offer, if anything, to young adults. And, given the lack of transparency and appropriate accreditation of Oakley, it is unlikely that any young adult who has been given information regarding Oakley by the program itself can properly answer what Oakley has to offer besides the misinformation provided by Oakley in inducing the enrollment. Oakley stands to gain free labor and a hefty bank account from the enrollment. It also stands to gain additional protection for itself and Aspen Education Group against legitimate legal actions filed by the enrolled individual and his/her family.
HEAL will review the honor code below and will reserve our comments regarding the "honor code" for that section.
Can a young adult with mental health and/or learning challenges provide a proper assessment of their current mental health and academic skills? Is it appropriate for Oakley to allow for such a self-evaluation? And, how is such a self-evaluation used by Oakley? It is apparent based on the review of the tests Oakley uses above that it does not use scientific or valid methods for assessment. This question may be another example of that.
It is a serious concern that The Oakley School claims to provide a transitional program for young adults with mental health and/or learning challenges and fails to provide legitimate academic services and special education services.
"Social Security Number"
"Date of Birth"
"Social Security Number"
"Date of Birth"
"Social Security Number"
"Date of Birth"
"Employer" [page 1]
"How did you learn about the Oakley School?"
"Educational Consultant/Clinical Professional"
"Another Program" [page 2]
"Medical Information" [page 3]
HEAL's primary concerns revolve around the requests for information that could be used to destroy someone's life, ruin their credit, or steal their identity. Even public schools and publicly provided services cannot require individuals to provide their social security number. And, requiring this information with name, date of birth, and/or place of birth provide enough information for someone without proper intentions to misuse the information for illegal or harassing purposes. This is a serious concern. Families should not provide such sensitive information to anyone that is not required by law to keep the information confidential.
The Oakley School requests information that is generally protected by HIPAA, but, it doesn't appear to disclose in its materials that it is not a licensed medical facility and therefore not required to protect generally protected health information about clients. In its admissions forms, Oakley disclaims any responsibility or legal liability for the disclosure of protected health information that would otherwise breach confidentiality protocols. This is a serious concern.
"In addition to standard rules (lying, keeping the school clean, unexcused absence, etc.), there are rules of conduct that have less to do with "right" and "wrong", but address the mission of the Oakley School in creating an environment that is safe, healthy and conducive to intellectual and emotional growth."
"The school does not tolerate the use of crude racial, religious, or sexist remarks or demeaning, belittling and threatening comments."
"Any real or implied threat of violence/hurting/abuse related to guns, knives, and explosives will result in dismissal from the school and law enforcement involvement."
"Any form of sexual acting-out or inappropriate intimate contact including massaging, cuddling, petting, kissing, sexual contact of any kind, exhibitionism, sexually offensive comments, or possession of pornography in any form including computer, magazines, video, etc."
"Any other behavior that creates an unsafe environment that is not mentioned under the above categories (i.e. gambling, breaking confidentiality, keeping secrets or colluding regarding an honor code violation, etc.)." [page 1]
"Oakley is not a school where any intimate contact between students is tolerated."
"The Oakley School is committed to a drug-free and smoke-free campus. Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, paraphernalia or behaviors associated with the drug culture, including dress, are not tolerated."
"In order to maintain these freedoms, staff and students alike are expected to monitor those choices being made and intervene when unsafe behaviors are recognized by exposing the unsafe behavior to the appropriate adults. As long as we are all involved with keeping the school safe, students can enjoy a higher level of independence."
"Violations of the Honor Code constitute an attack on the supportive, safe student environment. As a result, any violation of the Honor Code will result in a disciplinary action. Such action may range from losing certain privileges for a short period of time to more severe actions." [page 2]
The Oakley School is not properly accredited. And, problems with the NAAS/NWAC accreditation include the lack of transferability of academic credits. So, any intellectual growth that may occur at Oakley School is dubious at best. Since the Oakley School is an Aspen Education Group program and uses questionable methods for its "emotional growth" components, any emotional growth that may occur is as dubious as the claimed intellectual growth.
Mount Bachelor Academy, an Aspen Education Group program closed by Oregon authorities, required girls in the program to perform lap dances for staff. Such abuses are claimed by the "experts" at Aspen to be a form of "aversion therapy" by providing youth the experience of making money through an arguably degrading form of employment that may be the result of continuing down a poorly chosen path of behavior and conduct. It is doubtful that the Oakley School truly rules out the use of degrading and humiliating punishments or stimuli in their efforts to change behavior or "encourage good behavior" and/or "discourage bad behavior".
If the Oakley School creates an environment where young adults feel imprisoned, trapped, or violated, then it should take some responsibility for any resulting threats of harm to self or others. And, it is inappropriate to claim to be a therapeutic program for "struggling teens" and then threaten them with prosecution for any verbal expression of anger that may include exasperated threats never meant to be taken literally. Such a rule and condition suggests the use of intimidation and coercion to gain control of the enrolled population and raises additional concerns.
Many programs in this industry don't allow youth in the programs to form close friendships or to comfort each other through platonic forms of affection such as hugging. It is an additional concern that some programs in this industry consider simply being homosexual to be a form of sexual "acting out" and such may suggest the use of "reparative therapy" which has been thoroughly discredited by the majority of mental health professionals.
The Oakley School disclaims their responsibility and liability for any breaches in confidentiality and therefore any implied promise of confidentiality by clients is not mutual and therefore arguably void/voidable as a term of any agreement with the program. Therefore, this rule seems to be a further tool of intimidation. Programs for teens and young adults should respect the privacy of young adults in the program to an extent and therefore should not punish young adults for making friends and keeping the confidences of their fellows. Such is a respectable trait that should be nurtured and encouraged, not disallowed and punishable. This is a concern.
Hugging should be allowed and platonic contact between students should be encouraged and allowed if welcomed by the students involved.
What does the Oakley School consider to be drug culture related clothing/dress? This is a serious concern as youth and adults often use clothing as a form of self-expression. Free speech is a first amendment right as is free expression. And, many programs have stated that wearing clothes that even depict Christian musical groups are not allowed. How strict is the dress code at Oakley and is it in line with the claimed encouragement of independence? Regardless, based on the review so far we hope you are deciding against Oakley and/or will remove your child if currently enrolled.
Many programs, including Aspen programs, consider speaking to one's family by telephone a privilege to be earned that can be lost. Such rules are wholly unreasonable and not supportive of family unity. Please see www.heal-online.org/warn.htm for a complete list of warning signs and questions to ask any program you consider for your family.
"Not only do we examine a students' ability to succeed in a rigorous college preparatory academic setting, we also interview all of our students to determine their willingness to participate in the therapeutic process."
"Request an official transcript from your child's high school"
"Return a signed Consent for Disclosure of Confidential Information Form"
"Provide a copy of the applicant's most recent physical exam and immunization records" [page 1]
"Once we schedule an interview with a student, and receive the $1,750 enrollment fee, we will reserve a space for the applicant."
"The student and the family should be prepared to meet with the admissions committee, and if the interview is successful, move into the dorm on the same day." [page 2]
The Oakley School is not properly accredited and it is not accredited by a federally recognized accreditation agency. It is very doubtful that the Oakley School provides anything any reasonable person would consider a college preparatory curriculum. The fact that it is unclear whether a client is willing to participate in the "therapeutic process" once enrolled shows that the methods were not disclosed prior to enrollment and/or that the clients are not informed of the process, methods, or conditions in the program prior to making a "commitment" to complete the program. This raises serious concerns regarding the motives and ethics of Oakley School management.
HEAL will discuss the Consent for Disclosure of Confidential Information Form below.
The Oakley School is not a properly accredited school nor is it a licensed medical services provider. This is a serious concern given the amount of personal health and identifying information required by the program.
The use of the word "dorm" is a nice touch, but, don't be fooled by language that is often misused by programs in this industry. Protect yourself, your child, and your family's bank account from programs like the Oakley School.
"Please list any counseling, therapy, outpatient, partial/acute hospitalization, residential treatment, group home, wilderness programming or emotional growth school that your son or daughter has been involved in:"
"Please briefly describe the presenting issues leading you to pursue placement at the Oakley School for your child:"
"Please discuss any significant disturbances or losses in your child's life:"
"Does your child have any legal charges against them?"
If you have placed your child in another Aspen program and are just finding out about the problems associated with Aspen now, please do the smart thing and stop wasting your money and your child's time. The transitional programs are set up to extend the amount of time a child is institutionalized for the purposes of creating a barrier to effective legal action against the program(s) involved and to keep sucking the money out of the family bank accounts.
It is more than likely that Oakley compensates referrers, including "alumni parents", for any parent they induce into continuing "treatment" at Oakley. If this decision is based on a recommendation from another program or any other reason besides the actual need of your child based on an assessment by a professional not being compensated for the referral or receiving any other in-kind benefit, then it is inappropriate. If you as a parent feel that having a teenager is too inconvenient and that a transitional program until they reach adulthood suits your needs well, then, you are being selfish and teaching your child the definition of entitled behavior by your own actions. Your child's needs should come first and Oakley obviously isn't competent to provide appropriate academic and therapeutic services.
Often "behavioral health" programs use the list of traumas as a guide for causing additional trauma. By opening old wounds and exploiting them, they can traumatize a child without technically doing anything more than arguably trying to resolve past traumas. However, at some other programs in Utah girls have been told that the rapes or sexual abuses they suffered as children were their fault and that they had to take responsibility for that before they could be helped by the program. This is counter to all of the literature on dealing with victims of sexual assault. However, it seems to be acceptable at many programs in this industry to abuse victims of sexual abuse in this manner. This is a serious concern and given the lack of valid and effective assessment and therapeutic tools claimed by Oakley, another obvious reason why the program should be avoided.
Does the Oakley School accept adjudicated youth? Does it house children with criminal charges and records with children who are suffering depression or non-behavioral problems such as learning challenges? These are serious concerns. But, as stated, we advise against placing any child at The Oakley School and recommend any and all children/young adults be removed immediately.
"The Federal rules prohibit you from making any further disclosure of this information unless further use of disclosure is expressly permitted by the written consent of the person to whom it pertains or as otherwise permitted under Federal rules...In such a case, Federal rules restrict any use of the information to criminally investigate or prosecute any alcohol or drug abuse patient."
"I authorize the release of such information by mail, fax, regular telephone, and/or cellular phone contact."
"I have the right to stop the use or release of information at any time, although I understand that I cannot do anything about information already used or disclosed under this authorization."
"I hereby release the Oakley School from all legal responsibilities or liability that may arise from the use of disclosure of medical records and other health information in reliance on this authorization."
"Pursuant to Utah State rules, I understand that in case I am below the age of 18, my parent/legal guardian reserves the right to sign this release without my expressed verbal or written consent."
Oakley requests information that is generally protected by HIPAA, but, doesn't appear to disclose in its materials that it is not a licensed medical facility and therefore not required to protect generally protected health information about its clients. In its admissions forms, it disclaims any responsibility or legal liability for the disclosure of protected health information that would otherwise breach confidentiality protocols. Is there a reason Oakley does not disclose in its admissions documents the fact that it is not a medical facility and that non-medical service providers are not required by federal law to safeguard protected health information?
Cellular phones are not a secure means of communication and subject to security breach. By including this method of sharing information, parents may be implying that they do not expect the information to be transferred via a secure medium. And, this may also create difficulties in pursuing any legal action for breach of implied confidentiality.
HEAL recommends you do not give any personally identifying information or protected health information to Oakley or any similar program. HEAL also recommends you immediately revoke any such permission you may have already given to them via signing the "consent form".
The Oakley School disclaims any and all legal liability for the disclosure of your personal information to unintended third-parties. This is a serious concern and further shows their arguable lack of intent to protect your private information.
Utah is no place for children. See www.heal-online.org/utah.htm for more information.
Based on our review of the materials available, we advise against placing any child or young adult in the Oakley School and recommend any individual currently enrolled be removed immediately.
Last Updated:September 1st, 2011