The following is a revised version of an article which appeared at the Common Errant in July 2012.  I have re-written it for my upcoming book, Hoosier School Heist, which will be released in December.  Minor details have been altered in this new version, given the fact that some of the information included in the original is no longer online and files to back up very minute details no longer exist.  Lifeline officials (detailed below) have stated that those who oppose their biblical capitalism agenda are saying “defamatory” statements about their group.  Therefore, I invite Lifeline CEO Mark Terrell and acquaintances in the Indiana government (who are employed by taxpayers, as Lifeline is) to take the time to let me know if any of my research below is incorrect in any way, shape, or form.  If so, I will gladly correct it.  If not, I suggest they rephrase calling what I and others write and film as “defamatory” in nature.  DOUG MARTIN

ESCUELA CARIBE GIVES us a clue on what can go wrong when extreme right-wing Christians educate children. With a long history of alleged abuse and help from Indiana taxpayers, Christian reform school Escuela Caribe was founded in the 1970s by Gordon Blossom, a former student of Floyd Starr’s Starr Commonwealth boarding school in Michigan.  Under Blossom, his son Tim, and other leaders, New Horizons Youth Ministries (NHYM) operated Escuela Caribe and other schools in Michigan as part of the “tough-love” teen movement.  Inspired by Starr and profit, Gordon Blossom wooed Michigan judges, legislators, and governors, and in 1973, in fact, addressed a George Romney-attended gathering to honor Floyd Starr’s work with juvenile delinquents, as Keith Fennimore details in his 1988 book Faith Made Visible: The History of Floyd Starr and His School.102 George Romney is Mitt Romney’s father. How close to George Romney pastor Blossom was is unknown, but many past teenagers once held in the NHYM schools believe George Blossom’s political clout may have had something to do with why abuses went unheeded.  Mitt Romney is well-entrenched with those profiting from the troubled-teen industry. Mother Jones’ Kathryn Joyce noted that “key fundraisers for Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns hail from Utah’s teen-home sector.”103 Romney’s Utah finance committee co-chair, Robert Lichfield, even came under fire for running troubled-teen boarding schools rife with allegations of physical and sexual abuse.104

When Michigan stripped Blossom’s licenses after media exposure over his boarding schools’ harsh practices, he packed up his “tough-love” school for the Hoosier state, operating, besides Escuela Caribe, a school in Canada and one in Marion, Indiana. Even though the state was paying NHYM, not much instruction occurred at the schools, and students did most of the work on their own, alumni say. Not only did the Blossoms acquire some of their students from court-orders, they also fooled parents, some spending upwards of $40,000 for services and losing their homes in the process, to send their kids off to NHYM’s various compounds.105    

In 2010, NHYM boarding school survivors started posting horror stories on the website “The Truth about New Horizons Youth Ministries” and talking to those who would listen.  Male students, at the boarding schools, had been “slammed into walls and floors,” and  “female students were given ‘swats’ by a thick leather strap called Mr. Brown, leaving bruises and sometimes bloody marks, the very same practices that led Michigan judges to revoke NHYM’s license to practice.” Then there was “The Quiet Room,” where students, locked in complete isolation in a Pepto Bismol pink and “small concrete cell without lighting or furniture,” were stripped down, had their hair chopped off, and forced to “sleep on the concrete floor and scrub the cement for hours on end.”106 One past student, in an unheeded letter to state lawmakers protesting a new company’s recent takeover of the reform school, wrote that in the 1980s she and “group of female students were forced by staff to scrub a naked student with harsh bristle brushes in a bathroom because staff suspected that this girl had stolen money,” when, in fact, one of the laundry employees, a Dominican woman, had. One Marion, Indiana, boarding school survivor writes that after she attempted suicide, the leaders beat her, forced her to do hundreds of push-ups, and called her a whore for “fucking her brother” because she admitted she loved him in letters she sent to him when he was in the Dominican Republic compound. For this, several men beat her brother. The beating got so bad that in order to make it stop, her brother lied that he had had intercourse with his sister.107 Under the Blossom family operation, there were alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, statutory rape, forced exercise to the point of vomiting, beatings, chaining girls to beds, and severe brainwashing at the boarding schools.108 One former staffer was arrested for fondling a girl in 1994 at the group’s Marion, Indiana facility.109

In late 2011, when Fort Wayne-based Lifeline Youth & Family Services took over the NHYM, formed the nonprofit Crosswinds, and renamed Escuela Caribe the Caribbean Mountain Academy, many saw this as damage control. Julia Scheeres’ Jesus Land, a 2005 memoir describing her abuse at the hands of NHYM staff, was a New York Times best-seller.110  There is more bad publicity to come, when Kate Logan’s Kidnapped for Christ movie debuts soon. Shot at Escuela Caribe in the summer of 2006, the movie documents the conversion therapy practiced at the school. One scene shows several men waking a homosexual U.S. teenager named David, dragging him by his belt, driving him to an airplane, and flying him to the Dominican Republic boarding school to “de-gay” him.111  While attempting to turn gay people straight, Escuela Caribe officials practice a pseudoscience (if even that) the American Psychological Association and other leading medical organizations deem harmful.

A faith-based company, Lifeline Youth & Family Services has retained some of the same staff or staff trained by former NHYM employees appearing in the movie and has refused to acknowledge that the school it took over from George Blossom had its license revoked by the state of Indiana.  In a June 2011 letter sent to an alumnus in response to child abuse allegations at the school, Department of Child Services’ James Payne (who later resigned after it was revealed he interfered with a DCS case involving his own grandchildren) said that although DCS revoked the school’s license and would no longer be sending kids to the school with taxpayer money, “New Horizons Youth Ministries is a private, religious, non-profit organization therefore they can continue to operate without our licensure.”112  In other words, if parents want to pay NHMY to abuse their kids, DCS doesn’t care. Yet, instead of publically coming out and declaring the past child abuse at the center as despicable and saying he would clean up the mess and promise to fire everyone who worked at the old school, Mark Terrell, Lifeline’s CEO who started the new Crosswinds company, chose to conceal it.

When former students started an online petition in mid-July 2012 to close the new version of the school down, a former Escuela Caribe student told me “the continuation of the same staff as trained by NHYM and from as late as 2005 indicates that the takeover was merely a fancy legal way of trying to dissociate from all the bad publicity.” In fact, it appears hardly any of the current school leaders were hired after Lifeline took over, even though the group, on its website, deceptively said in the distant past that counselor Grant Anderson has worked at Crosswinds since 2010, when the company didn’t even exist.113  Crosswinds’ new director is Scott Taylor.114 Before moving to the Dominican Republic, Taylor worked at the Summit Church in Arkansas,115 where lead pastor Bill Elliff is well associated with the Fellowship Bible Church (which gave $10,000 to support the state’s 2004 marriage amendment)116 and its former pastor Robert Lewis.  Both Elliff and Lewis teach at the Downline Ministries , along with a few others from the Fellowship Bible Church.  Robert Lewis published a book with the anti-gay Focus on the Family press and appeared on FOF’s broadcast hyping his Men’s Fraternity.117  Two other current Caribbean Mountain Academy staffers, Rachel and Jon Sawyer, are carry-overs from the NHYM school. Both also once worked at Heartlight Ministries’ teen residential treatment center in Texas,118 a program that HEAL, a leading watchdog group, calls a “money-making cult” which controls the families of kids in its boarding school and uses mail censorship to possibly conceal abuse. Heartlight’s program charges $5,000 a month and allows children to attend public school, if they earn the right. HEAL also attacks how Heartlight forces kids, under certain circumstances, to sleep in the same room as staff. HEAL also says “parents should also investigate whether or not the program is violating child labor laws.”119 Under an odd picture of kids at Caribbean Mountain Academy, Rachel Sawyer, who has worked at Escuela Caribe with her husband since 2005 and never reported any abuse to authorities, on her blog writes: “Um – WOW! Nine of our students came to know Christ as their personal SAVIOR last week. In addition, many powerful, wonderful, exciting things are happening within this ministry at this time. Never have I seen more movement amidst such utter brokenness.”120

Teen-brokenness brings in money, and Lifeline—to help its bottom line—seems to be continuing the NHYM tactic of recruiting youth missionaries to work at the boarding school. Hordes of missionaries are still descending upon Caribbean Mountain Academy. In January of 2012, one 21-year-old missionary named Matt wrote:

I want to share a couple of specific things with my supporters and the churches and groups which have made mission trips or are planning to make trips this year. First, thanks so much for your support through gifts, prayers and friendships. I could not have made it all these years without your support and encouragement. Second, know that Caribbean Mountain Academy is still committed to working with mission teams and ministry outreach. As I prepare to leave the ministry, I have been training and supporting our chaplain and his wife, Scott and Meleah Taylor, to take over the community outreach and mission team’s ministry.121

In 2011, volunteers from the Sagemont Church in Texas arrived to spread “love.”122 Sagemont’s pastor, Stuart Rothberg, too, describes how gays are lepers and deserve conversion therapy.123 Besides being famous for its 170 foot cross, the Sagemont Church is where Andrea Yates (a friend of Yates noted) attended a home school support group with her children, all of whom she later drowned in a Texas bathtub.124

Lifeline Youth & Family Services, the reform school’s new owner, is also politically entrenched in Indiana.125 In fact, Mike Pence recently appointed Lifeline’s CEO Mark Terrell to the Allen Superior Court Judicial Nominating Commission, a panel that selects the judges that may decide what kids to send to Lifeline’s boarding schools or its detention center, the Pierceton Wood Academy.

Lifeline’s CEO Mark Terrell says the group doesn’t perform conversion therapy like NHYM did in 2006 when Kidnapped for Christ was filmed, but his connections to the anti-gay movement is not reassuring. In 2002 and 2003, Republican Mark Souder invited Terrell to testify on behalf of George W. Bush’s Bradley Foundation-lobbied “Faith-Based Initiatives” program. In a session filled with questions about pornography, homosexuality, and wife beating, all popular topics for the Religious Right and boarding school leaders, Terrell stated that, in terms of the “community service” Lifeline does,

All of the facilitators that go in are Christians. It is amazing, the results that are happening. That is not by accident. That is truly a belief that is ordained by God that that has happened.

What would it do with the donors? We raise a significant amount of our budget outside of the contracts that we get with probation, welfare, and Department of Corrections. They give to us because they know that we are a faith-based organization and that we are hiring Christians. We are hiring people with faith. They are going to make a difference.126

In the December 2001 American Prospect, troubled-teen industry expert Maia Szalavitz condemned Souder and Bush’s faith-based initiative, exposing the president’s history of ignoring deaths and abuses in religious extremists-run camps and boarding schools across the country.  Szalavitz writes that

in 1997, after Texas regulators had tried to shut down a Christian rehabilitation program called Teen Challenge because its staff failed to meet educational requirements, then-Governor Bush responded by scuttling all the state’s training and safety regulations for such facilities. And in a speech two years later, Bush praised the fact that at Teen Challenge, “’if you don’t work, you don’t eat.’” Now that he’s ensconced in the White House, Bush intends to deregulate Teen Challenge-type programs nationwide.127

During the testimony, Souder seemed to enjoy one Illinois faith-based panel member’s statement that the reason his group became active in Indiana is because there is no regulation.

In 2004, Souder called conversion therapist Mike Haley and several other Focus on the Family adherents to the faith-based committee meetings. In response, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State’s executive director Barry W. Lynn said the “so-called ‘ex-gay’ groups are nothing more than covers for fundamentalist indoctrination programs. They don’t deserve one dime of taxpayer support. It would be outrageous if the Bush administration and Rep. Souder are seriously considering giving public funds to this sort of program.”128 Haley—who has recently accepted that he is gay–spoke at Bethel College in Indiana on September 28, 2009; Maggie Troyer, whose husband Rich Troyer was then managing Lifeline’s Center for Responsible Thinking, spoke there, too, a few days later. The Center for Responsible Thinking offers classes at Pierceton and in parent/student meetings throughout Indiana. The Troyers later sold their home, rented an RV, and started travelling to motorcycle races across the U.S. to turn people onto Christ.129

Souder, who opposed the Keeping All Students Safe Act in 2010, is also friendly with the faith-based Crossing Educational Center, which runs its own schools and whose staff works with Lifeline’s Pierceton Woods Academy. In 2008, Souder awarded Crossing’s founder and director, Robert Staley, the Appleseed Award130 and picked one of Crossing’s students to be his Washington aide,131 before the Fort Wayne lawmaker resigned because of adultery. Formed by Solid Rock Ministries, Crossing’s schools are for high school dropouts, kids kicked out of alternative schools, and others with behavioral problems. The group, with 14 facilities, has contracts with 20 Indiana school districts.  It also runs the Fresh Start program for those released from prison.  Crossing lists state Republican Carlin Yoder—who introduced the Indiana gay-marriage ban and the pro-American amendment to the Indiana voucher bill—as its director in 2010 tax records.132

In his 2002 statement before the Souder panel, Mark Terrell mentions how Lifeline’s Center for Responsible Thinking’s “Thinking Errors” curriculum is based on Samuel Yochelson’s 1970s inmate research with a heavy dose of Bible study thrown in.133 Yochelson and Stanton Samenow’s “Thinking Errors” theory is extreme, based on the belief that criminals, sex offenders, and drug users choose to be criminals, sex offenders, and drug users and that social factors, environment, bad parenting, and brain disorders play absolutely no part in how people turn out. Samenow, in his 1998 Straight Talk about Criminals, even claims sex offenders lie about having been sexually abused themselves.134 With neuroscience completely revamping psychology and criminologists finally playing catch-up, Yochelson and Samenow’s one-size-fits-all “criminal personality” theory is antiquated, to say the least.  Since Lifeline bases its “therapy” for young drug offenders, sexual offenders, or just troubled youth on bad past theories, this is a major problem.  When Yochelson died, his research partner Stanton Samenow became a conferee for Ronald Reagan’s White House Conference on a Drug-Free America, part of the anti-drug “Just Say No” crusade, a goal of which was to funnel taxpayer money to “tough-love” reform schools.135

Yochelson and Samenow’s “Criminal Personality” books are highly favored by religious leaders, chaplains, and even the Indiana government. In September 2009 at a meeting of the IARCC: An Association of Children and Family Services in Indy which also included the Indiana Department of Child Services’ director James Payne, Charles Redwine, who led New Horizons Youth Ministries for years, gave a presentation concerning Samenow’s writings, among others, and even cites them in his 2002 ministry doctoral dissertation on so-called “pastoral counseling.”136 One federal prison chaplain said, prison ministers “should preach and teach with the Bible in one hand and The Criminal Personality in the other.”137 The Indiana DOC still teaches former prisoners lessons from Samenow’s book in its Juvenile PLUS faith-based program.138 Quite shockingly, the Indiana Department of Child Services has even used a “Thinking Errors Worksheet” to train new caseworkers to deal with sexual offenders, although it is not known whether it is specifically adopted from Samenow and Yochelson or just repeating their terminology.139

The Indiana Department of Child Services has been in hot water lately for failing to remove children from abusive homes, many of them ending up dead.  From 2006 to 2010, 198 children died from abuse and neglect in Indiana. A WTHR TV investigation found that “in a one-year period, DCS hired 511 new case managers. Twenty-one transferred to other positions during that same time, while 280 simply quit. It created a loss of 18.1 percent agency-wide, roughly the same loss as the previous year at 18.7 percent.”140 In 2010, however, the DCS returned $103 million to the state’s general fund, announcing the money wasn’t needed.141 That same year, a Gibson County DCS official was convicted for keeping a teenager in a shelter for 30 months without a court order, and lying about it.142 In March 2012, Indiana University’s forensic pediatrician Antoinette Laskey resigned from her DCS role, saying DCS’s death-numbers it releases each year were misleading.  In fact, a recent study ranks Indiana as one of the leading states for high infant mortality.143 In May 2012, DCS took fire when Morgan County Judge Matthew Hanson, in a statement, wrote that “It would seem DCS is simply waiting around until the child commits such egregious or dangerous acts that the (juvenile delinquency) system has no choice but to file charges against a child with a mental disease/defect, and then the DCS can simply ignore any pleas thereafter to aid such a child.”144 Also, in May, when the DCS said its caseworkers could not release confidential info on abuse and neglect cases to the courts, Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull called DCS’s behavior “absurd.”145

An overwhelming large number of degree-holders from Indiana faith-based colleges like Grace College (which now sponsors the Smith Academy for Excellence charter school in Fort Wayne) and Indiana Wesleyan are employed by DCS, and some DCS people have worked for Lifeline, too.146  Lifeline Youth & Family Services actually plays a major role in DCS, with contracts in 60 Indiana counties, offering home-based services, residential care for kids removed from their families, and court testimony, the latter a conflict of interest since Lifeline representatives help determine which kids are removed from homes and could easily ship these kids to the group’s compounds in the Dominican Republican and Canada (where it just re-opened the old NHYM school).

Lifeline holds a lot of power and taxpayer money for a group which hires many of its counselors from Indiana religious colleges who have been indoctrinated with “biblical truths.” Admitting that Lifeline only hires Christians, Mark Terrell, in 2010, was paid $158,457, with an additional $18,774 in other compensation. That same year, Lifeline raked in over $11.5 million in welfare fees, almost $266,000 of school money, and only $48,527 from private fees (not the “significant” amount Terrell told the Souder hearing members). Besides the Department of Child Services, Lifeline holds contracts with the Department of Education and the Department of Correction.147

Indiana politicians have yet to do anything about Escuela Caribe now hiding under its new name, Caribbean Mountain Academy.  Although ABC Dateline is rumored to be planning a show on Terrell and the school’s history, the school has existed for way too long. Speaking at U.S. Senate hearings in January 1979, one month after Hoosier Jim Jones committed his Jonestown massacre where almost 300 kids died, the National Coalition for Children’s Justice’s Kenneth Wooden reminded lawmakers he had warned them about Jones’ dangerous child care facilities, and they refused to listen. Wooden, at this hearing, pointed fingers directly at NHYM’s Escuela Caribe boarding school as one of several putting children’s lives at risk. Having visited Escuela Caribe in 1974, Wooden wanted to know, since years earlier he had reported his New Horizons Youth Ministries findings to the State Department, why nothing had been done to close down the boarding school and why Gordon Blossom was raking in $8,360 of taxpayer money per child to abuse these kids.148

After 33 years, nothing may have changed. Lifeline has never been accused of abusing kids. Nonetheless, Lifeline’s Pierceton center must get more than a brief positive review by Indiana’s faith-based office, which it has lately.  But all of its out of country reform schools need closed now.  Hoosiers and former boarding school students also have a right to know whether Lifeline intends to use our tax money to ship more kids to the compounds in Canada and the Dominican Republic, where US laws don’t matter; or if it plans to open schools in Indiana where laws are either written to profit adults at the expense of children or don’t matter at all, if you know the right people.

NOTES

102.  Keith J. Fennimore, Faith Made Visible: The History of Floyd Starr and His School, Albion, Michigan: Starr Commonwealth School, 1988. 

103.  Kathryn Joyce, “Horror Stories from Tough-Love Teen Homes,” July-August 2011 Issue, Mother Jones,

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/new-bethany-ifb-teen-homes-abuse?page=4.

104.  Kenneth P. Vogel, “Romney Makes Florida Play with Key Fundraiser Hire,” March 10, 2011, Politico,

         http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51039.html.

105.  Tara Ketola, Alumni Questionaire, The Truth about New Horizons Youth Ministries, http://nhym-alumni.org/alumni/ketola_tara/.

106.  Ibid.

107.  Kerri (Griffin) Santarlasci, Alumni Questionaire, The Truth about New Horizons Youth Ministries, http://nhym-alumni.org/alumni/griffin_santarlasci_kerri/.

108.  This entire section draws from various internet sources and personal interviews with students, now adults, who went through the horror of these boarding schools.

109.  State of Indiana vs. Robert D. George, Affidavit for Probable Cause, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Class D Felony, Case No. 27DO2-9408-CF-45, August 19, 1994, http://nhym-alumni.org/documents/lawsuit_rg.pdf.

110.  Julia Scheeres, Jesus Land: A Memoir (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint; Revised Edition, 2012).

111.  To witness this scene from Kidnapped for Christ, visit http://www.kidnappedforchrist.com/.

112.  James D. Payne, Director of Indiana Department of Child Services, email to Tim Schipper, June 14, 2011, groups.yahoo.com/group/Escuela_Caribe/message/12805.  For Payne’s resignation, see Tim Evans, “DCS Chief James Payne Fought His Own Agency over Family Matter,” Indianapolis Star, September 24, 2012, http://www.indystar.com/article/20120922/NEWS/209230308/DCS-chief-James-Payne-fought-his-own-agency-over-family-matter.

113.  After my research on Lifeline’s Crosswinds was picked up by the HEAL watchdog group and blasted across the internet, officials from Lifeline/Crosswinds revised their website pages to try to conceal things I had pieced together.  You can find the original bios of Crosswinds employees still online at the Wayback Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/20120702125121/http://www.crosswindsyouth.org/index.cfm/about/staff/.  Much of this info is drawn from that site.

114.  http://www.heal-online.org/nhym2.htm

115.  For proof that Scott and his wife were associated with the Summit Church, see http://www.thesummitchurch.org/test_main/event/932/. http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Child-Behavior/Sexual-thoughts-in-a-6-year-old-child/show/731248.  Looks like Summit Church members are now traveling to see kids and Taylor at the Dominican Republic compound.

116.  See Follow the Money’s “The Money Behind the 2004 Marriage Amendments, Arkansas,” http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=236&ext=8.

117.  Robert Lewis, “Raising Sons to be Godly Men (Part 2 of 2),” Focus on the Family, April 10, 2012, http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={61B3FC1A-19F3-4A72-B3F2-68E66EF5BB14}.  Lewis’ book with Focus on the Family is entitled Raising a Modern-Day Knight.

118.  Jon and his wife worked at the NHYM school since 2005, as this staff bio from the Wayback Machine attests to: http://web.archive.org/web/20080110112827/http://www.nhym.org/ec_staff.shtml http://www.heal-online.org/heartlight.htm. For proof of their work at Heartlight Ministries, see http://web.archive.org/web/20000124141309/http://www.heartlightministries.org/leadersh.htm and http://web.archive.org/web/20000124204148/http://www.heartlightministries.org/support.htm.

119.  See HEAL’s take on Heartlight Ministries at http://www.heal-online.org/heartlight.htm.

120. Sawyers in the Sun (blog), http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OmyLLia1CZI/TX4mLfHwsiI/AAAAAAAAa5w/cDM-jZymfPE/s1600/DSC_1037.JPG.

121.  Matt in Jarabacoa!, “Answered Prayers and Changes,” January 11, 2012, http://mattinjarabacoa.blogspot.com/2012/01/answered-prayers-and-changes.html.

122.  The Sawyers mention a Sagemont mission trip in a March 27, 2011 entry on their blog at http://sawyersinthesun.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html.  Rachel says she went to high school with the leaders of Sagemont and they blessed her .

123.  Jeremy Hooper, “Video: And This Year’s Holy Week Leper Analogy Comes from Houston’s Sagemont Church,” Good As You, April 20, 2011, http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2011/04/video-and-this-years-holy-week-leper-analogy-comes-from-houstons-sagemont-church.html.

124.  Alan Bernstein, “Mom of Drowned Kids Painted as Private, Caring: A life Unraveled: Mom Depicted as Private, Caring, but Burdened by Hidden Problems,” Houston Chronicle, June 23, 2001, http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Mom-of-drowned-kids-painted-as-private-caring-2042465.php.

125.  Mitch Daniels, too, is well aware of Lifeline. In 2007, while a non-profit management major at Christ-centered Huntington University, Adam Shoemaker was picked to be the youth member on Indiana’s Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) board, a new office started by the governor.  In 2010, Daniels selected Shoemaker, while he was employed with Lifeline, to be a commissioner with the Indiana Commission on Service and Volunteerism (ICCSV), a program now in the hands of Indiana’s OFBCI.  In 2009, OFBCI awarded Lifeline a grant through its Good Works Indiana Initiative. Shoemaker, who now works with the Indiana Youth Institute, was Lifeline’s Family Consultant from 2008 to May 2011.

126.  Faith-based Perspectives on the Provision of Community Services, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources of the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Eighth Congress, First Session, August 25, 2003, serial no. 108-101, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington: 2004, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-108hhrg91692/html/CHRG-108hhrg91692.htm.

127.  Maia Szalavitz, “Why Jesus is Not a Regulator,” American Prospect, December 19, 2001, http://prospect.org/article/why-jesus-not-regulator.

128.  Rob Boston, “Straight Eye for The Queer Guys?: Congressional ‘Faith-Based’ Panel Hears From ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion Ministry,” Americans United.org, March 2004, https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2004-church-state/featured/straight-eye-for-the-queer-guys.

129.  Kayleen Reusser, “Fort Wayne Couple Launches Ministries Aimed at Teens, Motocross Racing World: Couple Feel Called to Evangelize Nationwide from RV,” News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN), May 18, 2011, http://www.newssentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20110518%2FNEWS01%2F105180302.

130.  “Goshen The Crossing’s Rob Staley Honored with Appleseed Award,” Elkhart Truth, January 13, 2008,  http://www.elkharttruth.com/article/20080113/NEWS01/301139939.

131.  Jesse Davis, “Rep. Souder Tackles Issues of Education, Energy Woes,” Goshen News, March 29, 2008, http://goshennews.com/local/x395808825/Rep-Souder-tackles-issues-of-education-energy-woes/print. AAUW Elkhart Branch, Clubs and organizations: News from Elkhart County service clubs and other groups, Goshen rotary club, Elkhart Truth, September 14, 2011, http://ehedit.sx.atl.publicus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110914/LIFESTYLE/709139978&template=printart.

132.  See page 7 of Crossing’s 990 Form for 2010 at http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2011/260/588/2011-260588186-07e3a0cb-9.pdf .

133.  Innovative Approaches to Preventing Crime and Rehabilitating Youth and Adult Offenders, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources of the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, March 22, 2002,Serial No. 107-165, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington: 2003, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-107hhrg85124/html/CHRG-107hhrg85124.htm.

134.  For a good overview of Samenow’s theories, go to Dr. Cecil E. Greek’s Florida State University’s criminology page at http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/crimtheory/samenow.htm.

135.  Samenow’s connection with Reagan is not surprising, given that many “troubled-teen” programs were spawned out of the Nancy Reagan-supported Straight, Inc., started during the anti-drug and anti-gay crusades of the 1980s.  Read Maia Szalavitz’s frightening book Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (New York: Riverhead, 2006).

136.  For the flyier on the event, see http://www.insource.org/pdf/2009_IARCCA.pdf.

137.  Kendall Hughes, “USP Leavenworth Chaplain Offers Insight on Lack of Effectiveness in Prison Bible Studies and Observations on Thinking Errors,” Truthought.com, http://www.truthought.com/learn-more/usp-leavenworth-leaders-offer-insight-into-the-lack-of-effective-prison-bible-studies-and-observations-on-thinking-errors.

138.  Stephen T. Hall,Indiana Implements a Faith-and Character-Based Housing Program,” Corrections Today, Month 2008, page 65, http://www.correctionalchaplains.org/Hall.pdf.

139.  See page 12 in Indiana University School of Social Work and Indiana Department of Child Services, New Family Case Manager Training, Indiana Department of Child Services, Training Overview.  http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/New_Family_Case__Manager_Training_Overview_080610.pdf

140.  Sandra Chapman, “State Continues to See High Turnover of DCS Case Managers,” WTHR.com, April 3, 2012, http://www.wthr.com/story/17324970/state-continues-to-see-high-turnover-of-dcs-case-managers?clienttype=printable.

141.  Joanna Massee, “DCS Under Fire for Returning Millions to State: Director Defends Decision to Spend Less,” Indy Channel 6 News, September 2, 2011, http://www.theindychannel.com/news/dcs-under-fire-for-returning-millions-to-state.

142.  Associated Press, “Indiana Child Welfare Supervisor Convicted of Perjury,” Washington Times-Herald, June 11, 2010, http://washtimesherald.com/statenews/x1358979281/Indiana-child-welfare-supervisor-convicted-of-perjury.

“Lead Indiana Child Death Investigator Resigns: Says New Law Not in Line with What Experts Nationwide are Doing,” South Bend Tribune, March 19, 2012, http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-lead-indiana-child-death-investigator-resigns-20120319,0,215830.story.

143. You can read Laskey’s resignation letter to Mitch Daniels at http://www.indystar.com/assets/pdf/BG186687317.PDF.  The study mentioned is discussed at Vanessa Renderman, “Health commissioner: Indiana infant mortality rate is ‘horrible,’” Northwest Times of Indiana, August 6, 2013, http://www.nwitimes.com/business/healthcare/health-commissioner-indiana-infant-mortality-rate-is-horrible/article_1e6b99d9-e6d8-5ffa-b569-4ff83b613223.html.

144.  Eric Bradner, “Legislative Study Committee Reviewing Child Deaths in Indiana,” Evansville Courier & Press, May 23, 2012, http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/may/23/no-headline—ev_committees/?print=1.

145.  Rebecca S. Green, “State Ends Dispute over Child Welfare Testimony,” Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, IN), May 25, 2012, http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120525/LOCAL03/305259890.

146.  Not everyone receiving a degree from a religious institution is an extremist.  Actually, Oral Roberts University has its own LGBT organization.  I, personally, have met many highly-qualified and professional therapists who have went to faith-based universities. Questions concerning Indiana’s DCS, nonetheless, need raised, as does the need to expose how people getting degrees in pseudoscience are “counseling” our children.

147.  See pages 7 and 9 in Lifeline’s 2010 990, http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/351/167/2010-351167389-07773c0f-9.pdf.

148.  Kenneth Wooden’s testimony can be found in Abuse and Neglect of Children in Institutions, 1979: Hearings Before the Senate Subcommittee on Child and Human Development of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-Sixth Congress, First Session on Examination of the Problems of Abuse and Neglect of Children Residing in Institutions or Group Residential Settings, January 4, 1979, San Francisco, California, January 24, 1979, Washington, D.C., May 31, 1979, Los Angeles, California (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,  1979).

 

 

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A Walt Whitman scholar, Doug Martin is the author of the upcoming Hoosier School Heist to be published this year by Brooks Publications. His teaching experience has covered K-graduate school. His exposures of corporate education reform have appeared or been referenced in Diane Ravitch's Blog, Washington Post Answer Sheet blog, the Associated Press, Schools Matter, Parents Across America blog, Charter School Scandals, Susan Ohanian's Testing Atrocities and Outrages, @ The Chalk Face, The Huntington Teacher, KochWatch.org, Peg with Pen, the NPR/State Impact Florida, NPR/State Impact Indiana, the Pulp (Broward-Palm Beach New Times), Big Education Ape, School Matters (Indiana), A Teacher's Fight, Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education blog, NUVO, the Indianapolis Star, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Scathing Purple Musings, Terre Haute's Tribune Star, the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Post-Tribune, HoosierEd.com, and Firedoglake, among others. Doug currently blogs at Jim Horn's Schools Matter (http://www.schoolsmatter.info/). You can find more of Doug's writings at: http://my.firedoglake.com/dougmartin

4 Responses to “Extreme Thinking Errors: Tough-Love Christian Boarding Schools and the Indiana Department of Child Services” Subscribe

  1. Pam Zich July 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    Unfortunately, children have no guarantee to civil rights in this country. I was reminded of this at a meeting of the Northern Virginia chapter of the ACLU last year when I expressed concerns about the way I saw children of immigrant parents being treated in public schools. First, a lawyer from the Department of Education reminded me that students surrender many of their rights when they walk onto a school campus. I reminded her that I was talking about children with the extra protection of special education services. That’s when another lawyer suggested I take my message to a Hispanic/Latino group. They moved on to the next item for discussion, which was a letter from an incarcerated man who wanted conjugal visits from his wife. Children whose parents put them in places like you described are even less likely to find someone to advocate for them. Thanks for taking the time. Now, if only someone out there would listen. If we do not care how children are treated, what does that say about us as a nation?

  2. tom white July 3, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    Nice job on the article Doug. I took the opportunity to write to Crossroads. Told them that if they are abusing children (or worse), then God has some very bad news for them when they get to the gates of heaven (this I know is true). That they may be able to hide the things they do from man, but they cannot hide from God. In fact, abusing children while professing to be ministers of God multiplies the penalty exponentially.
    Chimos are the worst of the worst. Let them think they’re so smart they can get away with it. They won’t.

  3. Theresa July 3, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    The State of Indiana has failed to monitor and set guidelines for Christian therapy programs and in addition seems to enjoy the revenue Christian therapy programs generate by encouraging educational facilities that train and license such practices. The state of Indiana accepts known abusive programs & has a long history of failing to sufficiently monitor abuse that was successfully identified in shut down by the State of Michigan as well as Haiti. If Haiti is able to identify abuse & monitor it’s facilities & abuse better than the State of Indiana, acceptance of the states failed practices is in itself self imposed negligence. The State of Indiana is just as negligent for permitting abuse as these facilities. The use of your federal tax money for these abusive facilities calls into question the role of our Federal government in operating as ministries.

  4. Deirdre S. July 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    For more than forty years students at this school have been abused in the name of treatment. When I attended the school in 1990, it was named Escuela Caribe. It had two other names before that—names changed because of allegations of abuse (unreformed.blogspot.com). It’s very disturbing to hear of yet another name change, especially when the same staff have been rehired. The Indiana Assembly and the US Congress need to immediately open a full investigation of Caribbean Mountain Academy. Children are in danger.

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