This is a  staff list for the Three Springs "Family" of Programs/Services

(New Beginnings, New Directions for Boys, Three Springs of Courtland, North Carolina Boys, Auldern Academy)

(aka Sequel Youth and Family Services, Clarinda Academy (Iowa Location), Woodward Academy)

(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 Three Springs.  For information on your rights and how to take action, visit  If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Three Springs, you have the right to take action. 


If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Three Springs, please contact 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 don’t place your loved one in a Three Springs program and rescue them if they are there now.




Additional Information
Margaret George Administrator North Carolina Location--Three Springs of North Carolina (a.k.a. North Carolina Boys)
Doug Lynch Program Director Lynch has been with Three Springs since 1995.
Nikia Bland Admissions Bland has been with Three Springs since 1999.
Ann Scott Education Scott has been with Three Springs since 1994.
Sharon Elsenbeck Support Services Director Elsenbeck has been with Three Springs since 1991.
Cindy Jacobs Family Services Director Jacobs has been with Three Springs since 2002.
Joseph Dzienis Staff Development Director Dzienis has been with Three Springs since 1995.
Simone Griffith Nurse Griffith has been with Three Springs since 1994.
Jane Samuel Head of School North Carolina Location--Auldern Academy--Came to Auldern in 2006.  Samuel was the first Admissions Director at the confirmedly abusive Mt. Bachelor Academy and later was on the founding staff of the Northstar Center. She then helped to establish a second campus for New Leaf Academy.

HEAL received the following message and forwarded it to Child Protective Services and the Attorney General of North Carolina on December 23rd, 2009:

"Hello.  My name is [name removed to protect victim] and I am currently a student at Auldern Academy. I have been attending since July 1, 2009 and am currently having difficulty with myself due to the program. I get 2 20 minute phone calls, which can be rudely interupted when need be. I have to apply for the privilege of e-mail, iPod, and when the time comes for my phone, I have to apply for that privilege as well. The thing that is most disturbing here is not my lack of conversational devices but rather this: all of my mail gets read and screened by my therapist as well as more than 3/4 of the population of the girls attending auldern. I am afraid to be myself and show who I really am, because they will turn me into something that I am not. I have tried to have my father reinstate me in any other place but here, and by the time that you read this, I probably won't be allowed to receive your response. The fact that I am writing you now could get me in trouble in a thing called "focus reflection" where you spend a designated number of days reflecting on what you did and talking to limited people in the community. The academics are great, but I can't sit around and watch my life rot away. I would much rather be in the middle of the ghetto of chicago starving to death than at this god forsaken shit hole.  Please help me. [signature removed to protect the victim]"

Bill (William) Grant Asst. Head of School Bill began his career as a Biology and Chemistry instructor at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, GA where he also worked as Admissions Counselor and Director of Student Activities. Bill has also worked for Darlington School (Rome, GA), Mercersburg Academy (Mercersburg, PA), Storm King School (Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY) and Brandon Hall School (Atlanta, GA).  Before joining the staff of Auldern Academy Bill oversaw day-to-day operations at Squaw Valley Academy in Lake Tahoe, CA.
Ann Scott Staff  
Lynn Blanton Nurse Blanton has been with Auldern since 2005.
Simone Griffith Staff  
Vito Guarnaccia Consultant/Clinical Director  
Crystal Cox Director of Support Services Cox has been with Three Springs since 2001.
Sarah Belcher Director of Student Life Belcher has been with Three Springs since 2008.  She also worked for The Whitaker School.
Chris Will Lead Teacher  
Jim Philips Teacher  
Ed King Teacher  
Dakota Cronin Teacher  
Lee R. Leal Teacher Mr. Leal has previously taught at the Cary Academy and the Saint Andrew's School.
Ryan Gilmore Teacher Prior to joining Auldern, he was a Lab Research Analyst at Duke University. He has done professional lab research for several other companies in the Research Triangle Park area.
Andrew Johnson Teacher  
Natalie Sisson Lead Clinician She has previously worked with adolescents as an Advisor for Carlbrook School, was a therapist at Peace Place and a counselor at Chestnut Health Systems in Virginia.
Julius Jessup Clinician He came to Auldern Academy from Carlbrook School where he was an Advisor. He has previously worked as a Clinical Intern at the Center on Interventions for Children and Families in Cleveland, OH.
Amy Berent Clinician She was the Clinical Director and Field Therapist at Blackwater Outdoor Experiences.
Kristi Wood Clinician She came to Auldern from the Three Spring Paint Rock Valley program.
Darci Hall Clinician Formerly worked at The New Dominion School (another Three Springs program, closed.)
Aaron Seymour Staff (former) Aaron Seymour worked for Three Springs of Paint Rock Valley from 2002-2004.  Seymour also worked at Eckerd.    Seymour no longer works for this industry.  Seymour no longer works for this program.  Three Springs of Paint Rock Valley is reportedly closed/closing.  (Source:

Sharon Laney Administrator  
Kathy DeMellier Admissions  
Sarah Raynor Therapist  
Pete Wallingsford Therapist  
Judy Pike Special Ed.  
Haley Pepper Program Director  
Cris Boutwell Staff Worker Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Susan Weeks Staff Worker Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Keith Southern Administrator (former) Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings from June, 1996 to July, 1998.  According to LinkedIn profile. (September 1st, 2010).  Currently works for Sparkman Middle School in Toney, AL as the school counselor.
Brian McBride Staff Worker Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Brad Watson Staff Supervisor Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Sarah Morris Counselor Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Kimberly Cotton Staff Worker Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Amanda Lassiter Staff Worker Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Rolf McGee Teacher Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Stephanie Weller Staff Worker Reportedly* worked at Three Springs--New Beginnings in 1997 and 1998.
Shawn Ludwig Staff  Reportedly worked at the New Dominion School.
Mrs. Lang (First?) Staff Reportedly worked at Three Springs--Paint Rock Valley
Mr. Collins (First?) Staff Reportedly worked at Three Springs--Paint Rock Valley
Mr. Christian (First?) Staff Reportedly worked at Three Springs--Paint Rock Valley
Mrs. Christian (First?) Staff Reportedly worked at Three Springs--Paint Rock Valley
*HEAL received an e-mail from a survivor on August 29th, 2010 reporting this/these staff members.
Programs in Alabama, Georgia & North Carolina  

Also see: for an admission of wrong-doing by Beverly Richard, Senior VP of Three Springs of Paint Rock Valley    

Survivor Report #2:  Three Springs of Paint Rock Valley By Jay (You may contact through   Everything in my statement is true. I give HEAL permission to use my statement.  I would like to start by saying that this is in no way reflective of the Three Springs program as a whole.  I transfered to Three Springs of North Carolina during my stay and was blessed to find a much more productive program.  While strict and tough, the North Carolina program was a true treament center and children should consider themselves lucky to be helped there.  The Paint Rock Valley program, however, is no more a treatment center than Alcatraz.  Make no mistake about it, Three Springs of Paint Rock Valley, Alabama is a prison.    This starts by a client base that is well over 50% committed by the state and the court system.  Many were there as a stop between youth detention centers.  Many were waiting until they turned 18 to be transfered to a maximum security prison.  This meant that a confused or troubled 14 year old boy was incarcerated with a whole lot of hardened criminals by the wishes of his own family.  That itself is enough to drive a young mind to mild insanity, but there is so much more.   Now, I still see the value in the creative punishments.  For example, a runaway risk may have to hold the beltloop of a fellow group member wherever he goes.  This is mainly used as a humiliation tactic, which to be honest, tends to work.  The work detail, while vigorous, was pretty fair.  I still have a hard time understanding the starvation methods.  I found myself collapsing pretty regularly from dizzy spells caused by lack of nutrition.  Also, the counselors, in my days there, weren't very abusive themselves, even the ex military ones.  The ones that were became quickly reprimanded and were terminated.  As a whole, I think the front office had decent intentions, but it was after they went home for the night and the campus got quiet that things got scary.    Even during the day sometimes, you could see a group "punishing" a trouble maker with a disturbing mob mentallity.  They would mix creative punishments (thought up by the group) and enforce them in bulk to the point where it was nothing more than torture.  Making someone run laps while following them and "aggressively re-enforcing" them, while a boot camp tactic, is hardly torture or abuse.  However, when you add shoving, tripping, tackling, and punching, it crosses the line.  I would watch the group surround someone and antagonize them physically until they tried to squirm out.  At this point, any movement by the person at all was considered "spazzing" and would require the group to restrain them.  Restraining meant that the entire group of about fifteen to twenty able bodied teenage boys, many of whom were lifelong criminals, would hold the perp down and sneak one punch after another, hold their face in the dirt so as to keep them from breathing, and inflict large amounts of pain.  Reports of sexual abuse were normal.  An attempt from a large group member who had a lot of respect in the group to assault me sexually ended in a physical confrontation (fight).  As a newer member, I was heavily reprimanded and called a liar.  I was put on "primitive campsite" restriction, which put me in the woods for a week by myself.  Again, a relatively creative punishment, but wrongly enforced.  Three months later, I was still denied letter writing privileges due to my "outburst".  Basically, they wanted to keep me quiet.  Luckily, I was blessed with a decent amount of smarts, so I was eventually able to manipulate my way into a respectable position and didn't suffer much abuse.  I'll never be able to forget what I saw done and did myself to those considered weaker.  Watching a child who hasn't even had time hit puberty being tortured to the brink of insanity sticks with you, believe me.  I hated being this way toward people, but it was truly a mob mentality, and if you weren't with the group, you were against them.  Thank goodness I was offered the chance to finish the last half of my two year term in the North Carolina program before I completely turned into an abusive, emotionless danger to society that I was beggining to become.  You either took the torture and hoped for some kind of outside salvation or you joined the group and hardened yourself like an inmate, killing off your innocence at 14-16 years old when you've never truly committed a crime in your life.   So, Three Springs is no different than any prison system.  The clients bully, beat, rape, and torture each other while the counselors turn a blind eye to it.  Assaults are kept quiet from the public.  Clients are starved, kept on work detail, and forced to basically join gangs to survive.  The front office assures the parents that their kids are making progress, so the parents sit comfortably without the distraction of little junior.  All the while, this innocent, potentially brillaint child is being stripped of his sanity and turned into a shell of a human being.  His mind will become so troubled, that his once bright future will be dampered by visions of violence and horror.  At this point, the best thing he can hope for is to keep his sanity enough to get by in life, constantly struggling and quite possibly battling drug or alcohol addiction with no empathy from his family who gave up on him when Three Springs didn't "help".   I am 31 years old and have been clean from a terrible heroin addiction for almost a year.  I can't keep a relationship together, including an attempt at marriage.  I can't hold a job or just be a good man.  My self confidence has been a problem since the TS experience.  Lately, I seem to be getting my life back together little by little.  I managed to muster a high school diploma and associates college degree and work on computers these days.  My father and stepmother, the ones who gave me that wonderful trip to Alabama, haven't spoken to me in a long time, I don't make them proud.  I am beginning to make myself proud, however.  I certainly don't blame TS for all my problems, most of them stemmed from poor decision making on my part, but the trauma never left my head.  I shut it out for years, but now that I'm out of a drug haze and ready to face my demons, I feel like I can talk about this.  This was a very vague description, it just gives an idea.  Thank you for reading.   Jay  

SURVIVOR REPORT #3 Deleted…  Survivor was coerced to remove report by outside forces.  HEAL would like to take this opportunity to tell all parents and programs, You have no right to squash a person's free speech regardless of their age or your relation to them.  By doing so, you are a hypocrite, unconscionable, and prove yourself to be an unfit human being.  HEAL supports free speech and supports survivors.  We will help all survivors get legal remedy when they reach majority.  Parents and programs have been held equally liable in lawsuits.  Keep that in mind when you choose to deny your child his/her experiences, thoughts, and feelings.  It can, and likely will, come back to bite you!  

SURVIVOR REPORT #4 By Anonymous (Contact Through HEAL at   Everything in my statement is true. I give HEAL permission to use my statement." This Happened while i was at THREE SPRINGS of BLUE RIDGE, GEORGIA In October 2004, i was struck in the face by a male Counselor very hard just because i refused to get out of bed one morning i told one of the other staff what happened and they did not believe me and I got in trouble just for telling on a counselor i was abused but that's 3 springs for you there just lucky my dad did not SUE the shit out of them to if anybody's interested i will give names of the counselor that did this to me and other things i saw cause it was a very bad place now I'm still struggling with my drug problem with CRYSTAL METH i mean the whole reason i was sent there was because of my drug using which has gotten worse and 3 springs did not help me at all i did not receive one bit of ADDICTION Therapy...    

FORMER EMPLOYEE REPORT #1    Please keep me Anonymous. Everything in my statement is true. I give HEAL permission to use my statement. The following is a true statement of my experience at Three Springs as an EX-Counselor for their Georgia Girls program.  The programs in Georgia, both for girls and boys, have been shut down by Three Springs due to withdrawal of state funding for the programs in 2006.  Other Three Springs programs remain open and are equally as abusive and dangerous as the ones in Georgia.  The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) funded the Georgia programs.  Other Three Springs programs are privately owned and operated.   All the children who attended the Georgia programs were legally in the custody of the state for a period of 2 years. Three Springs had two separate programs, Short Term and Long Term.  The Short Term program was dubbed the “emergency shelter”.  This program usually lasted between 1 and 90 days and usually had residents who were awaiting placement in a Long Term program either at Three Springs or elsewhere in the state.  A small percentage of the residents who attended the Short Term program were actually sentenced for a period of 60-90 days in confinement.  We were used to alleviate the overcrowding in Youth Detention Centers (YDC).  The Long Term program was usually 6 months to 2 years, with the average stay being 1.5 years.  The Long Term program had different expectations of residents than the Short Term program but similar goals for rehabilitation.  Average group size of the Short Term program was 10-15 residents and of the Long Term program 8-12 residents.  Typical number of counselors on duty in the Short Term program was 2 at a time with occasional days of 1 counselor on duty at a time.  The Long Term program found counselors alone with the residents most of the time with occasional days of 2 counselors at a time.  Most of the girls were in the programs due to truancy from school, stealing, drug, and alcohol use.  The age range was 11-18 yrs old.   I worked for Three Springs from May of 2004 to September 2004.  Initially I was taken in by their website.  It was appealing and looked to be a good program.  I agreed to relocate and work for them after college graduation.  I did not know it would be emotionally and psychologically as well as physically damaging.   I worked for the Georgia Girls in their Short Term program.  Training lasted 1-2 weeks (I really don’t remember much as I’ve blocked most of it out.)  During training, we were taught how to de-escalate a situation and restrain residents.  As counselors, we were required to stay overnight on campus during the length of our shifts.  Our shifts usually lasted from 2-4 days with some exceptions being 5 days or more.  The days began at 5:45am and ended whenever the residents would decide to quiet down and go to sleep, usually anywhere from 10:30pm until 1:00am on some nights.  Average amount of sleep obtained on any given shift after paperwork was done every night was approximately 2-3 hours.  Counselors were not allowed breaks during the day and had to be with their group of residents at all times.  Calls for supervisors to relieve counselors for short bathroom/sanity breaks often went unheeded.    The everyday schedule included meals, school, therapy, vocational, and recreational time.  The meals consisted of pre-packaged easy to prepare things like hamburger helper, tuna helper, or other simple foods.  Usually calories were high to meet the state standards, but the quality of the food was poor with very little fresh vegetables and fruit to supplement the diets of the residents.  Counselors were expected to cook for the residents.  Occasionally residents earned the right to cook for the group, but that was rare.  Qualified teachers did school on campus.  It was mostly an independent study and the residents were expected to complete material on their own.  The supervisors or counselors, most of whom did not have psychology degrees, usually oversaw therapy.  Actual face time with a qualified psychiatrist averaged 30 minutes per month and it was usually an adjustment of the medications residents were placed on.  Therapy at Three Springs usually consisted of watching a couple movies (28 days and some Lifetime movie on rape) and discussing the movies.  Vocational time was where a majority of the focus was spent.  “Voc time” as it was called by many of the counselors usually consisted of manual labor done by the residents and counselors.  Mowing lawns, picking up trash, cleaning the cabins, weeding, and raking were just a few of the activities performed by residents.  Counselors typically supervised and assisted occasionally.  Recreational time was usually limited to 30 minutes to an hour and was a sport such as basketball or kickball, although most of the time our time was limited.   Most of the time, the recreational activity was an exercise tape that played while the counselor supervised and made a meal, usually lunch or dinner.    Some of the common interventions included:   Run Risk:  A consequence and intervention implemented when a resident decided to make a break for it and run.  Usually involved wearing an orange reflective construction vest and remaining within 10 feet of staff at all times.  On rare occasions, or when there were no more vests available, the resident would be required to wear an orange prison jumpsuit.  Due to the nature of the jumpsuit, the resident was denied pants or shorts during the period of time they dressed in the jumpsuit.  The jumpsuit was usually only worn by the highest risk offender (any resident who had been on run risk and had decided to take off a second time).  Usually if they were placed in the jumpsuit, they would also have to be on “Contact Buddy.”   Contact Buddy:  A popular intervention that included the resident wearing the orange jumpsuit.  The resident would be denied their privilege of free movement.  They, or a piece of their clothing that was attached to their bodies, had to be held by staff at all times.  This was usually implemented with staff holding the tee-shirt the resident wore at all times.   Suicide Precaution:  A safety measure taken for when residents are threatening to harm themselves or others.  Bathroom protocol included making them strip to their underwear, making them keep one hand visible to staff at all times, and the resident having to sing or keep talking to ensure the resident wasn’t doing something that would harm themselves.  This procedure was done in front of another resident for safety of the counselor on duty.  The resident on suicide precaution would also have to run their fingers under their undergarments in order to ensure nothing had been hidden there.  During showers, the residents on suicide precaution had to shower with a counselor watching.  The shower curtain covered them, but the middle loops had been taken down so the counselor could observe their face and neck while in the shower.  The counselor also had to hand the resident their soap and shampoo.   Many of the residents admitted to the Three Springs program were violent and aggressive towards counselors and each other.  I left Three Springs shifts with bruises on my arms from attempting to restrain a resident due to violent outbursts.  The residents had threatened me.  There were days where I had to continually watch my back.    The administration of the facility was equally as unresponsive.  The administration refused to look out for the safety and health of ANY of the counselors employed at the facility. Most of the feedback given to counselors was in the form of negative criticism with the threat of termination.  The administration also failed to look at possible alternatives for poor program performance.   When I went to them with concerns and solutions, I was shot down with “We can’t do that because” or “That’s not a good idea because”.   A fellow counselor for the Long Term program had been beaten up by one of the residents.  The resident kicked, punched, hit, and bit her. The resident also used a broomstick or metal pole to strike the counselor.  The counselor had to be removed by other counselors and she promptly fell into unconsciousness.  The administration refused to let her go to the hospital and she had to continue working her entire shift.   Prior to my employment, there had been a riot at the school on campus.  It resulted in a cabin getting shut down and residents shuffling to other cabins as well as leaving the facility.  It ended up overburdening counselors and overcrowding cabin rooms.   There were other things that occurred too.  A counselor locked herself in the bathroom because she didn’t want to be with the residents. She was scared to be with them. She was having panic attacks due to the stress of the job and being around the children.  Additionally, two counselors walked out mid-shift. Both counselors walked out while I worked at the facility.    I once sat for 26 hours with 2 kids refusing to do anything with no instructions on how to deal with them and approximately 4 – 5 minute bathroom breaks.  I did receive a break when night staff came in to watch the residents overnight, but the next morning, I was right back in the same room. After being employed for one month, I began having panic attacks.  They progressively worsened and I ended up crying for 6-8 hours at a time. I could not bring myself to stop crying at times. When I would get it under control, I would be good for about 1 or 2 hours then go back to crying. I couldn’t mentally function or physically bring myself to function.  I was so tired and exhausted mentally and physically that eventually I just shut myself off from everything and everyone. I became a zombie. The stress finally got to me and I quit September 10th 2004 and it’s a decision I DO NOT regret.  I am ashamed that I worked for a place such as Three Springs and allowed my safety and common sense to be overruled for so long. If you would like to submit your statement regarding Three Springs, click here.
Some of the Three Springs Programs Have Closed: 
Three Springs does not provide to the public a copy of it's program details or enrollment information.  Most of the programs operated by Three Springs, with the exception of Auldern Academy and Paint Rock Valley, accept state-funded placements only (juvenile court order or foster care alternative). 
Madison youth counselor had sex with 'several boys' during 2-month span, court records state Posted on July 27, 2017 at 11:23 AM By Ashley Remkus A counselor at a Madison home for troubled youth and juvenile delinquents is accused of performing oral sex on students, according to court documents. Amanda Williams (Madison County Jail) Amanda Shantay Williams, a 28-year-old youth counselor at Three Springs juvenile detention center, was arrested Friday on two counts of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student younger than 19. If convicted of the Class B felonies, Williams faces up to 40 years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender. Three Springs, also known as Sequel TSI, is a residential treatment center for 12- to 18-year-old boys. It is a medium-risk secure facility that treats boys with poor behavior and those who have been convicted of crimes as juveniles. "Amanda, a counselor at Sequel, gave oral sex to several boys, all under the age of 19 years, at that facility," a Madison police investigator wrote in court documents. The sex happened during the months of June and July, records state. When they announced the arrest on Friday, Madison police said Williams turned herself in. In a news release, police said Williams had sex with two students. The ages of the victims haven't been released. Bette Moore, executive director of Three Springs, did not return a call from for comment.  Source:
Three Springs employee speaks against facility's safety Tuesday, October 17th 2017, 9:46 am PDTTuesday, October 17th 2017, 9:51 pm PDT By Margo Gray, Anchor OUTCRY OVER THREE SPRINGS AFTER TWO TEENS RAN AWAY LIVE 00:08 / 03:58 GO LIVE CC   (Source: WAFF) MADISON, AL (WAFF) - On Tuesday, Madison city leaders, community members and representatives from Three Springs juvenile facility discussed the public's safety. This was in response to two teens who ran away from the facility in August. MOREAdditional LinksPoll Madison police say those teens went on a burglary spree and even beat a construction worker to death while on the run. Their case is now bound over to a grand jury. READ MORE: Three Springs runaways charged in Madison homicide Tuesday's meeting was part of an ongoing collaboration between the city and Three Springs to tackle the safety issue. In the meantime, a current employee of Three Springs spoke exclusively to WAFF 48 News and said the facility is a danger to the community and should be shut down. "There is a lot of things that goes on that the media and the neighborhood does not know that goes on at the facility that administration tried to hide. They hide it from the state and they don't want us to talk to the media," said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous. The employee claims not much has changed in time since the two teens ran away. "I just feel I was compelled to come forward to be honest and let people know what is going on in the facility," the employee said. The employee said the real problem lies with inadequate and overworked staff who missed the teens running out a door and getting away. "This is not the first time that the residents ran out that particular door. Administration knew this but unfortunately, something like this had to happen for them to take notice. Some people are working nine days straight. Some people are working 12 days straight before they even have an off day. Some people are working double shifts. Some people are working first,second and third shift back to back. That in itself is a safety issue," the employee said. The Three Springs' Sequel Youth Services website says it's a residential treatment facility serving males ages 12 to 18 that are medium risk assigned there by state agencies. They say they offering treatment and therapeutic help for troubled youth. The employee claimed they're not getting that help. "I feel like the program is not helping them. There is a lot of residents and only four case managers. They have a lot on them, and they are not getting the proper help that they need. You have some teachers there that are not even certified," said the employee. READ MORE: Three Springs murder suspects say they're 'innocent' and 'praying' for victim's family WAFF 48 News reached out to Three Springs about this employee's claims, starting with overworked staff. A spokesperson issued a statement saying, "Madison TSI has provided additional administrative oversight that is constantly monitoring and evaluating the needs of the program." When asked about uncertified teachers, the spokesperson said, "All teachers are certified and provide instruction." "There were immediate changes made such as installation of additional fencing, enhanced surveillance and hardware," the spokesperson added. Madison Mayor Paul Finley said  it now falls on Three Springs to show the community that they can be a good neighbor. "They (Three Springs) have value but the community doesn't care how much value if they don't feel safe," said Finley. Right after the runaway, Madison's city council passed an ordinance to give them more teeth to be able to penalize or even shut down businesses that could be creating a nuisance. Finley said they've been looking to pass something like this before, but the Three Springs incident definitely exacerbated the need. READ MORE: City of Madison addresses Three Springs security concerns READ MORE: Former Three Springs employee speaks out at Madison City Hall meeting  Source:
Former troubled youth counselor indicted on student sex charges Updated 9:27 AM; Posted 9:27 AM April 16th, 2018 By Ashley Remkus Felony indictments have been issued against a counselor accused of performing oral sex on boys at a north Alabama home for troubled youth and juvenile delinquents. Amanda Williams no longer works for Three Springs, also known as Sequel TSI. Amanda Shantay Williams is indicted on two counts of school employee having sexual contact with a student, Madison County court records show. Each charge is a Class C felony that's punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Williams, 29, is accused of performing oral sex on students at Three Springs, a residential treatment center that's also known as Sequel TSI, police wrote in court papers. The sexual contact happened last summer when Williams worked at Three Springs in Madison, according to authorities. "Ms. Williams is no longer employed by Sequel," said Executive Director Jason Scrivner in an email to  "Due to confidentiality and HIPAA regulations, Sequel is not able to provide any additional information." Lawmen haven't said how old the students were at the time, though court papers say they were younger than 19. Three Springs is a medium-risk secure facility that treats boys, ages 12-18, with poor behavior and those who have been convicted of crimes as juveniles. Williams' attorney didn't return a call seeking comment. A grand jury indicted Williams after determining prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to trial. A trial is scheduled for July 30.  Source:
Report: Washington foster kids sent to Iowa were abused in facility run ‘like a correctional institution’ Originally published October 17, 2018 at 5:48 am Updated October 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm In response to the report by Disability Rights Washington, Washington officials say they will stop placing foster children at the Clarinda Academy and they're working to get children currently there into other situations by the end of January. Share story By Joseph O’Sullivan Seattle Times staff reporter OLYMPIA — Washington state foster youth sent to an Iowa facility were allegedly physically abused and kept largely segregated from the outside world, a possible violation of state and federal laws and their constitutional rights, according to a report released Wednesday. The report by Disability Rights Washington (DRW) details living conditions of foster kids sent by Washington state to the for-profit Clarinda Academy. Located in the town of Clarinda, Iowa, the facility houses about 200 children between the ages of 12 and 18, according to the report. Washington foster children placed there told investigators that they were physically restrained by staff, resulting in pain that lasted for days or weeks. The report contends the academy “runs like a correctional institution.” Children are not allowed to have cellphones and are not allowed routine trips into town. Teens reported they were not allowed to speak to members of the opposite sex. The children are educated at the facility, as opposed to going to  a school.  In response to the report, the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) said it will stop placing children at the Clarinda Academy. In a statement, the agency, which oversees foster programs, said it is taking the report’s findings seriously. The agency is working to get Washington children currently at the Clarinda Academy into other situations by the end of January. “We thank Disability Rights Washington for bringing these concerns forward, and are engaged in a serious effort to improve the quality of care for children with complex behavioral health needs in Washington,” according to the agency’s statement. The report also documents that Washington state has been sending certain high-needs foster youth — currently about 80 — to facilities in a dozen other states. That includes placements as far away as Florence, S.C., and Camden, N.J., making it difficult for family or advocates to visit them. According to state data in late 2017, three-quarters of the contracts for those out-of-state placements were made with a corporation named Sequel, which owns and operates Clarinda Academy, according to the report. Representatives for the Clarinda Academy and Sequel didn’t respond Wednesday to requests for comment.  The report has spurred the agency to conduct a broader review of foster children sent out of state. DCYF has been sending teams to meet with each of the approximately 80 children who are placed in other states. The agency plans to create more detailed audits to review the care children are getting in such facilities. Foster youth placed in out-of-state facilities typically have “complex behavioral health challenges that require 24-hour care not feasible in individual foster homes or have other challenging therapeutic needs,” according the DCYF statement. The agency faces a shortage of in-state providers to help high-needs foster youth, according to the statement. DCYF attributed that to inadequate pay rates for companies that would provide those services. The agency said it intends to request more funding in the upcoming state budget “that will allow us to develop adequate in-state capacity over the next 18-24 months.” After learning of the out-of-state foster placements, Disability Rights Washington in February interviewed all the Washington foster children — about a dozen — living at either the Clarinda Academy or another Iowa facility owned by Sequel, the Woodward Academy. Those children described segregated and restricted living conditions and all said they were homesick for Washington. “However, the youth at Clarinda Academy independently reported consistent allegations of verbal and physical abuse, and earnestly complained that they desired to live somewhere else,” according to the report. Several children didn’t want to be part of the deeper investigation for fear of retaliation. But three children at the Clarinda Academy agreed to participate, and signed releases allowing DRW to access their records, which included treatment plans and restraint records. Children told investigators that staff “put their hands on you and force you to the ground,” according to the report. “They separately and independently demonstrated how staff pull their elbows behind their backs and then force them to the ground by putting pressure on the backs of their knees.” “Every student reported that restraints they experienced were physically painful and frequently resulted in back, shoulder, and neck pain for several days or weeks,” according to the report. “When asked if they receive medical attention, they stated that no one complains because they are told ‘you shouldn’t have gotten put in a restraint.’” Physical restraints at the Clarinda Academy are supposed to be used only as a last resort in instances where physical harm could be imminent, according to the report. But children said they were restrained by staff for actions such as clenching their fists or moving their hands. Documents accessed by DRW indicated that one child claimed to have passed out after being restrained by a staffer. Among other findings, the report contends that placing Washington children at Clarinda Academy violated their constitutional right to due process under the 14th Amendment, and that the students say they are being held there against their will. Joseph O’Sullivan: 360-236-8268 or; on Twitter: @OlympiaJoe. Seattle Times staff reporter Joseph O’Sullivan covers state government and the Legislature.  Source:
Clarinda students were restrained and injured as punishment, records show Newly released complaints raise more questions about how troubled children are treated at Sequel Youth and Family Services facilities. Clarinda students were restrained and injured as punishment, records show Lee Rood, Des Moines Register Published 12:35 p.m. CT Dec. 22, 2018 CLOSE Midwest Academy and the criminal shadow over boarding schools nationally. Clarinda Academy in Iowa(Photo: Photo courtesy of Tina Pinedo)  During the state of Iowa’s investigation this fall into the alleged use of excessive restraint on troubled teens, the director of a for-profit home for troubled youth said no serious injuries had occurred for over a year. Three campus nurses at Clarinda Academy in southwest Iowa also told investigators that no major injuries had occurred to restrained students in at least two years, new documents obtained this week under Iowa’s open records law show. But some staff at Clarinda have slammed children to the ground and injured them while punishing them, according to documents from Iowa’s Department of Human Services. They also kept several students for weeks at a time in a suspension room with no plan to help them earn their way back into Clarinda’s general population, the documents show. Under existing procedures at Clarinda, residents are only expected to be secluded from their peers for up to 72 hours if they were posing a threat, likely to cause property damage or seriously disrupt a group. They could be held another 72 hours if that behavior continued. But a month after eight teens 14 to 17 ran away this spring and assaulted two staff members, they were still kept in the suspension room, state reports show.  State inspectors received a complaint May 8 related to the run-away incident, which happened March 20. Two staff were injured when the students fled; one suffered broken bones and fell unconscious. The unnamed complainant said that when one teen refused to write a statement acknowledging he was responsible for the assault on one staff member, he was slammed to the floor and restrained. Later, all the boys were forced to sit in chairs in their dorm and stare at a wall for several hours, according to inspection reports.  One of the teens told the investigator they were kept in the private suspension room and given school work for about a week but then received “nothing but a few books." "The boys were never told how to work their way back into the group and this lasted until he was released April 6,” the report says. After that incident was reported to the state, Clarinda staff members created documents to make it appear they had required service plans for the teens and forged student signatures on those documents. “The names of the children written on the back of the documents were forged, as none of the children had signed or even seen” the plans created for them, investigators wrote. Clarinda Academy houses hundreds of delinquents and foster children ages 13 to 18 with significant behavioral and mental health needs — about two-thirds from outside Iowa. Iowa's Department of Corrections rents buildings and land to its owner, Sequel Youth and Family Services, a national company specializing in residential programs for youth. ► Related:Fights, sex crimes found at Iowa's Clarinda Academy amid state probe The federal government has tried to move facilities such as Clarinda and Woodward Academy, a sister facility owned by Sequel, away from restraining youth, saying the practice can be harmful and re-traumatize them. Iowa's group-care standards allow the use of physical restraint "to prevent a child from hurting them self, others or property." State investigators required Clarinda to rewrite procedures and retrain staff this year after their investigation. But the complaints obtained under open records law raised more questions about the treatment of foster and delinquent children in Sequel's care. This fall, Disability Rights Washington said it partnered with sister organization Disability Rights Iowa, based in Des Moines, to expose "a very restrictive and segregated institution where policies, training and oversight do not adequately protect against the risk of abusive restraints." Disability Rights Washington workers said students told them a different story in private interviews than what Iowa licensing officials reported earlier after routine visits. Steve Gilbert, executive vice president at Sequel, said Clarinda successfully remediated problems identified by state investigators after the Washington advocacy organization released its finding this fall. Antonio Aranda, a former counselor at the Clarinda Academy, pleaded guilty in May of 2016 of sexual misconduct with an offender or juvenile, a charge that is part of Chapter 709 of Iowa’s sex abuse laws. (Photo: Iowa Sex Offender Registry) "Their investigation concluded that our use of restraints were all appropriate and were consistently utilized for the safety of the students and people around them," he said. During the investigation, he said, several students from each of Clarinda's dormitories were interviewed, as well as staff. He noted that students also remarked about improvements and made positive comments about their experiences. "We work very hard to continually improve our practices and ensure that we are providing the best care possible for our students," Gilbert said. Clarinda Academy and Clarinda Youth Corp. still face a trial this spring after a 19-year-old Texas woman alleged in a civil lawsuit they were negligent in hiring Antonio Aranda, a counselor who sexually assaulted her in November 2015, when she was 17 years old. Little information released about Woodward Police were called to Clarinda Academy about 35 times in five years, including for physical and sexual assaults, a Reader's Watchdog report last month found. Incomplete information released by Woodward police indicates they were called far more — about 55 times — in just two years. Police have responded to calls for assistance with assaults, harassment, drug use, runaways, sex offenses and medical emergencies, a log of calls obtained by Watchdog shows. Under their contracts, Woodward and Glenwood are supposed to report “critical incidents” to the state, including the use of restraints, sexual conduct, serious bodily injury, serious illnesses, injuries to residents, self-harm, run-away attempts and police calls. But Iowa’s Department of Human Services failed this month to respond to an open records request to release information about the number of critical incidents reported at Clarinda and Woodward. Former employees tell Watchdog that a “No Reject, No Eject” clause in Clarinda and Woodward’s new contracts in 2017 — required by the state of all such facilities — has meant no Iowa youth can be refused, including sex offenders and the most violent teens. Such policies have been controversial nationally as they’ve been tried in states around the country: Some say they help staff at residential facilities learn how to better intervene with the most troubled youth; others say the policies create danger for other kids and lead to high staff turnover and lower morale. Mark Parham, a 32-year-old former staff member at Woodward’s sex offender unit, said he quit after about three months on the job in part because he disagreed with how often youths were restrained there. He said staff members would sometimes goad teens to a point where they felt they had to be restrained. Parham said he made several trips to the hospital with children who had been restrained and injured, one of whom suffered a concussion and wet his pants. “The way they trained me to restrain is not how they do it," he said. "In a span of two weeks, I went to a spate of hospital calls and wouldn’t get home until 1 or 2 a.m. The restraints were over the top. There were more injuries than there were successes." Kari Sisson, executive director of the Association of Children's Residential Treatment Centers in Wisconsin, said restraints can be used in limited circumstances, as some programs deal with very complex behavioral issues. But most programs nationally are moving away from the use of restraints as a way to control trouble kids. Sisson said it often takes years to change the culture, "but it absolutely can be done."  Source:

 (Three Springs, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices.  Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience.  Thank you for your help.)


Last Updated: December 28th, 2018


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