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The Trouble With The ‘Troubled Teen’ Industry

21.1.22 Hands

When some parents or guardians are struggling with children in their care, they turn to the so-called “troubled teen” industry. These behavioral treatment programs promise they’ll help wayward children and teenagers.

But some claim these programs are harmful. Some centers or facilities create environments where abuse is possible. And the industry is lucrative. Utah’s “troubled teen” industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it government moey covered by insurance programs, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Paris Hilton was one of the teenagers sent to behavioral treatment facilities. She talked about her experience at a school in Utah, which she was sent to at 17, in a documentary about her life. In the film, Hilton says she experienced solitary confinement (the school denies this, though it said it could not comment on what happened there before August 2000, according to Allure).

What does enrolling in a behavioral treatment program entail? How effective are these programs? We explore those questions and more.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.

Avery Kleinman