Aspen Education Group (AEG) was formed in 1997 as a spin-off of College Health Enterprises. In late 2006, Bain Capital acquired Aspen Education Group for $300 million and became a subsidiary of Bain Capital’s CRC Health Group. In the 2009 timeframe, Aspen closed six programs. In March 2011, Aspen announced its intention to close five programs and consolidate three others citing “reduced demand for therapeutic schools and programs in today’s economy”. The closed programs include Bromley Brook School, New Leaf Academy of Oregon, NorthStar Center, Aspen Ranch, and SunHawk Adolescent Recovery Center. In addition, the program at Aspen Achievement Academy merged into Outback Therapeutic Expeditions. Youth Care of Utah merged into Island View Residential Treatment Center, and Passages to Recovery moved to the SUWS Adolescent Program to expand the services offered there. In July 2013, Aspen announced that five of its programs (Academy at Swift River, Stone Mountain School, Talisman Academy, Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, and SUWS Adolescent & Youth Programs of Idaho) would close later that summer.
Throughout the years, Aspen Education Group received press and media attention due to various affiliations with Mitt Romney (Bain Capital) and Dr Phil.
Allegations of abuse have plagued Aspen Education Group through the years. To date, at least seven teens have died while enrolled in Aspen programs. While the majority of former Aspen Education Group programs are now closed, there are several that are still active and most are a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).