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Congress Holds First Hearing on Abuse in Unregulated 'Troubled Teen' Industry

Statistical Assessment Service Author Exposed Quackery and Torture across America

Contact: Szalavitz, 646-322-4613

Washington, Oct. 9 /Standard Newswire/ --  Deaths from medical neglect and other severe child abuse in teen "wilderness programs" "boot camps" "emotional growth boarding schools" and other residential facilities will be the subject of a first ever Congressional hearing this week. On Oct. 10, the House Education and Labor Committee, chaired by Representative George Miller (D-CA), will hold a full committee investigative hearing.

Parents of adolescents who have died in these programs will testify and the Government Accountability Office will present its findings from a recent investigation of the industry. Seven boot camp guards and a nurse are currently on trial for manslaughter in the death of one boy in Florida.

Statistical Assessment Service Senior Fellow Maia Szalavitz helped spur this investigation with the first book-length expose of this billion-dollar industry, "Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids" (Riverhead Books, 2006), which detailed the horrifying abuse, medical ignorance, and neglect that caused thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths. It is the only book to comprehensively cover this subject. She will attend the hearing and be available to the media.

Your dog has more protection than your child

A federal law protects mule deer from harassment -- but teens held in these programs do not even have the right to contact their parents or law enforcement or be free from food deprivation, sleep deprivation, isolation, restraint and other severe punishments.

Most parents are unaware that in many states, dog kennels and nail salons are more highly regulated than the health and safety of children in these institutions.

Where state regulation exists, enforcement is lax. Anyone -- including convicts -- can open a program; no qualifications are required.

Szalavitz has continued to investigate this highly profitable industry, exposing the spurious treatment practices and abuses for STATS and other publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Reason, and the American Prospect.

What: House Education and Labor Committee Investigative Hearing on "Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse at Private Residential Treatment Facilities."

Who: Media availability, author and expert Maia Szalavitz

When: Hearing is Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Szalavitz will be in Washington DC for the hearing and available either there or in New York afterwards.

Where: Committee Hearing Room

2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC

About STATS: Since its founding in 1994, the non-profit, non-partisan Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) has become a much-valued resource on the use and abuse of science and statistics in the media. Our goals are to correct scientific misinformation in the media resulting from bad science, politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge; and to act as a resource for journalists and policy makers on major scientific issues and controversies. For more information, contact Trevor Butterworth at 202-841-2868 or visit