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The Troubled Teen Industry in Indiana

Impact Report

2022

Impact Report

2022

Introduction

The ‘troubled teen’ industry is a network of residential programs that claim to provide treatment for the behavioral and developmental needs of youth. The industry’s lack of transparency and accountability has led to widespread abuse of youth, resulting in hospitalizations, prolonged trauma and death.

Today, there are an estimated 120,000 – 200,000 minors in residential programs across the United States. These youth are placed each year by state child welfare agencies, juvenile justice courts, mental health providers, refugee resettlement agencies, school districts’ individualized education programs, and by parents.

Many of these youth have trauma histories, which are only exacerbated by being removed from their communities and institutionalized. Youth with lived experience describe these programs as being carceral, harsh, and abusive.

An estimated $23 billion dollars of public funds annually are used to place youth in residential programs. Daily rates for residential treatment ranges from $250-$800, costing up to $292,000 per year, per child.

It is overwhelmingly clear that our communities and agencies are over-relying on residential placements that are negatively impacting the youth they serve.

Introduction

The ‘troubled teen’ industry is a network of residential programs that claim to provide treatment for the behavioral and developmental needs of youth. The industry’s lack of transparency and accountability has led to widespread abuse of youth, resulting in hospitalizations, prolonged trauma and death.

Today, there are an estimated 120,000 – 200,000 minors in residential programs across the United States. These youth are placed each year by state child welfare agencies, juvenile justice courts, mental health providers, refugee resettlement agencies, school districts’ individualized education programs, and by parents.

Many of these youth have trauma histories, which are only exacerbated by being removed from their communities and institutionalized. Youth with lived experience describe these programs as being carceral, harsh, and abusive.

An estimated $23 billion dollars of public funds annually are used to place youth in residential programs. Daily rates for residential treatment ranges from $250-$800, costing up to $292,000 per year, per child.

It is overwhelmingly clear that our communities and agencies are over-relying on residential placements that are negatively impacting the youth they serve.

Indiana Statistics

$37+

Million Dollars

Indiana spends every year placing youth in Residential Facilities despite evidence indicating that these facilities are ineffective.

$478

Per Day Per Child

Indiana pays facilities on average $478 per day per child. This increased nearly 14 percent since 2018.

7,624

Children Under 12

placed in residential facilities through Child Welfare programs in 2019

1,155

Juvenile Justice Youth

placed in residential facilities through Juvenile Justice programs in 2019

  • 783 minors were committed to a residential facility as part of a court ordered disposition
  • 333 minors were detained in a residential facility while awaiting a court hearing, adjudication, disposition or placement elsewhere
  • 27 minors were voluntarily admitted to a residential facility in lieu of adjudication as part of a diversion agreement

Indiana Statistics

$37+

Million Dollars

Indiana spends every year placing youth in Residential Facilities despite evidence indicating that these facilities are ineffective.

$478

Per Day Per Child

Indiana pays facilities on average $478 per day per child. This increased nearly 14 percent since 2018.

7,624

Children Under 12

placed in residential facilities through Child Welfare programs in 2019

1,155

Juvenile Justice Youth

placed in residential facilities through Juvenile Justice programs in 2019

  • 783 minors were committed to a residential facility as part of a court ordered disposition
  • 333 minors were detained in a residential facility while awaiting a court hearing, adjudication, disposition or placement elsewhere
  • 27 minors were voluntarily admitted to a residential facility in lieu of adjudication as part of a diversion agreement

An Indiana Problem

A team of researchers reviewed 230 studies of residential treatment facilities from around the nation and found there was no evidence that they were effective.

In 2019, Indiana was home to 1,567,974 minors, including 18,026 minors in foster care.