this has been going on for over a decade: private residential treatment facilities claiming to use tough love on teens...and charging exorbitant tuition: only to essentially neglect and abuse many of the children sent to the programs. It' has received sporadic media attention..butt its never really caught the eye of the government.
thankfully GAO will produce another fuller report soon (this preliminary one was in oct of 07) and there has already been a congressional investigatory hearing.
DOJ has been asked to do this investigation repeatedly by the congressmen who requested this report..and has turned it down again and again...maybe this will convince them.
very interesting reading..reports and allegations based on testimony at the hearing, civil and criminal cases include deaths from neglect and malnourishment while being forced to do strenuous exercise...to forcing children to eat own vomit and use toothbrushes used to clean toilets for their own mouths.
as the GAO investigator said at the hearing..
if you start reading in the middle of the report..you'd probably think its a human rights investigation of 3rd world countries. but its actually an investigation of what thousands of "rebellious" teens go through every day here in the US.
preliminary report is here. The full report has been late for a while-maybe they are planning something even bigger.
major hub with lots of news and such on related issues at www.caica.org
One of the more startling things about all this (as explained in the reort) is that many states have no regulation of teen residential facilities (no license necessary), and the federal government, rightly to some extent, believes its the states responsibility to regulate, and doesn't regulate either.
The investigation by GAO was done at the request of George Miller (D) California.