Therapy ranches are popular options for patients who are struggling.
Some ranches throughout the country cater specifically to children.
Two Wyoming-based ranches are under fire.
Teenagers have accused the establishments of inflicting a tremendous amount of harm on them.
(NewsReady.com) – Therapy ranches are supposed to be safe places. Those who run the organizations generally do so in order to help people who are struggling with addiction or mental health issues. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Two ranches in Wyoming are facing a possible class-action lawsuit after patients claim they were mistreated.
Parents paid $6,000 to have their children cared for at the Trinity Teen Solutions ranch. The organization’s website claims the residential treatment center provides a “Christian-based approach for troubled girls, ages 12-17” and empowers them to have “successful and healthy futures.” That is not what some of the patients have said they experienced there or at the sister facility for boys, Triangle Cross Ranch.
According to allegations made by 22 women, life at Trinity Teen Solutions was horrible. They were allegedly subjected to hard labor and suffered injuries from the harsh treatment. NBC News obtained first-person accounts and reviewed court filings, including frostbite, torn ligaments that had to be surgically repaired in one case, and cuts to various parts of their body. The women accused those at the ranch of forcing them to carry 50-pound bales of hay, building barbed wire fences, and were sent all over the place to clean rec centers and churches.
Patients who spent time at Triangle Cross Ranch have been complaining of alleged abuse for years. In 2019, the Wyoming Department of Family Services released a report that found the organization let children clean guns inside of a building, possess knives, and use bows and arrows. State rules require weapons to be locked away in a place that is not accessible to kids.
The state’s complaint also revealed boys were left without supervision, but allowed to help the owner get dressed and help him off the toilet. A person who did not pass the required background check was also hired. Counselors at the ranch reportedly would not allow kids to report alleged abuse to authorities and forced the kids to undergo harsh discipline state officials called “unacceptable.”
Lack of Regulation Contributes to Issues
Wyoming Children’s Law Center Director Donna Sheen told NBC the state “doesn’t do a good job” of regulating facilities that provide services to troubled youth. While Wyoming residents enjoy the small government in their state, the downside is that people are able to “take advantage of the lack of regulation.”
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