New rules for private troubled teen treatment
Rexford’s “Ranch for Kids,” a nonprofit of 15 years dedicated to caring for at-risk adopted children, particularly those with mental and physical debilities, was placed under the microscope following the July 23 removal of 27 children from the grounds as a result of allegations of “egregious” abuse. Allegations include hitting, kicking, body slamming and spitting on the children, 20-mile “disciplinary” walks on remote U.S. Forest Service roads, food deprivation and psychological abuse. Reacting to those counts of abuse, along with allegations from other facilities, Montana’s health department has instated rules that include new licensing requirements, protocols for reporting abuse and neglect as well as staffing qualifications, background checks and staff-to-participant ratios, reports the Great Falls Tribune. Additionally, troubled-teen facilities will be required to have a written program participant rights policy, which will include access to a Montana child-abuse reporting hotline.