GAO Report: Residential Programs Selected Cases of Death, Abuse and Deceptive Marketing Apr 2008 – In the eight closed cases GAO examined, ineffective management and operating practices, in addition to untrained staff, contributed to the death and abuse of youth enrolled in selected programs. To identify case studies, we reviewed numerous closed criminal or civil cases in which a court or state agency was asked to decide whether a private residential program was responsible for the death or abuse of an enrolled teenager. We also reviewed administrative cases where state agencies made rulings regarding the death or abuse of a teenager. When identifying cases, we specifically excluded public programs such as state-sponsored foster programs, juvenile justice programs for delinquent youth, or programs that exclusively treat psychological disorders or substance abuse in a hospital setting. We also excluded cases related to the programs we examined for our October 10, 2007, testimony. We focused on deaths or instances of abuse between the years 1994 and 2006 to illustrate the long-standing issues presented by private residential programs. We limited our cases to closed criminal cases and, thus, did not include ongoing cases from the last several years. We selected eight cases—four cases of death and four cases of abuse—based on several factors including the victim’s age, the program location, the type of program the victim attended, and the date of death or abuse. We then examined, in more detail, the facts and circumstances of the case. To validate the facts and circumstances, and to the extent possible, we conducted interviews with related parties, including current and former program staff and officials, attorneys and law enforcement officials involved in the cases, and the parents of the victims. Further, we reviewed available documentation to support the facts of each case including, but not limited to, marketing materials, police reports, autopsy reports, and state agency oversight reviews and investigations.