This problem of abuse in residential treatment centers is not limited to the United States of America. These abusive methods have been exported to
many countries in the world.
The World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools still
operates overseas in spite of numerous investigations into their abusive
practices, leading to shut down of many of the international facilities. Immigration authorities, health and
educational regulatory agencies overseas have filed numerous investigative
reports of abuse of children and teens in these facilities leading to many
being closed. Yet these facilities still
spring up again in another place sometimes in another country.
KIDS program has been transplanted to Alberta Canada as The Alberta Adolescent
Recovery Centre (AARC).[i] The Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre[ii],
or AARC, is a drug
rehabilitation clinic for teenagers and adolescents in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and is still operating an
abusive program there. AARC has been the
subject of controversy in Canada over allegations of physical, emotional, and
sexual abuse made by former patients; this has led to widespread protests
against AARC, and calls for a government inquiry by Alberta's provincial New Democratic
US citizens had been transported over
international boundaries and taken to facilities in Mexico such as Abundant
The children were found to be abused there.
Mexican immigration officials of the Instituto National de Migracion
(INM) raided the facilities and deported the children back to the U.S.A. Mexican authorities cited immigration
violations for the clients but also immigration violations related to the staff
of these facilities. There was a lack of
proper municipal licensing of these facilities and they had not obtained the
requisite approval of health and education authorities in Mexico. In addition the teen “clients” of these
facilities described habitual mistreatment while being kept illegally detained
without access to communication with the outside world. In 2004 the Mexican government rounded up 590
US teenagers who were placed in institutions throughout Mexico without proper
immigration paperwork. These children
were considered “troubled teens” by their American parents and were sent to
these locked facilities for problems with behavior and parental authority.
The Assemblies of God Church
runs Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge is an outreach of the Assemblies of God church which has
its own centers in numerous countries. Teen Challenge alone operates
two organizations that are
international in scope – Teen Challenge
U.S.A. International and Teen Challenge Global. Teen Challenge Global is in 82 countries and
has over 1,000 centers worldwide.
Currently Teen Challenge International USA is headquartered in
Teen Challenge Global is headquartered
in Columbus, GA. Teen Challenge USA had
grown to include 231 locations in the United States, including residential
programs and evangelical outreach centers. Teen Challenge USA
International also has its own programs overseas as well and operates in a
variety of countries including the Bahamas, Nauru, and the Philippines.
Teen Challenge is run by the Assemblies of God
which also runs its own Credit Union which is located in Missouri. The
Assemblies of God Credit Union has 13,883 members as of 2011 and reports assets
of $93.3 million. It opened in 1951 and has 32 full time employees and 9
part-time. This is a state chartered natural person credit union.
These are the countries
where Teen Challenge Global runs programs:
American Samoa, Angola (3 facilities), Argentina (2), Aruba, Australia (9),
Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus (2), Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil (14),
Cambodia, Canada (24), China (3), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic (3),
Denmark, Dominican Republic (2), Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland,
France (2), Germany (20), Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, Guinea-Bissau,
Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland (6), India, India (7), Ireland (2), Italy,
Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan (16), Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia,
Latvia, Lithuania (5), Macedonia, Mexico (5), Moldova, Nepal, Netherlands (2),
New Zealand, Norway (2), Pakistan (3), Paraguay, Poland (4), Portugal (8),
Romania, Russia (14), Serbia (3), Singapore (4), Slovakia (3), South Africa
(11), Spain, Swaziland (8), Sweden, Switzerland (3), Trinidad-Tobago, West
Indies, Uganda, Ukraine (7), UK, Wales (8), UK, England (8), UK, Scotland (4),
Uruguay (2), Venezuela
Teen Challenge is directly connected with Assemblies of God Church – both
through management and also through financial connections even though they
attempt to hide this association when trying to recruit clients for their
centers. Jerry Nance is President and C.E.O.
Teen Challenge Global is divided into seven
regions with a director or representative for each region.
America and Caribbean
- Duane Henders; 1,250 beds in 102 centers in 17 countries.
Europe - Tom Bremer; 892 beds in 58
centers in 28 countries.
Africa - Doug Wever, 1,034 beds in 14
centers in 9 countries.
Asia Pacific - James Lowans; 357 beds
in 51 centers in 9 countries.
Northern Asia - 30 beds in three
Eurasia - Kevin Tyler; 11,600 beds in
370 centers in 14 countries.
North America - Jack Smart, 7,536
beds in 223 centers in 2 countries.
[i] CBC News Canada.
Alberta drug rehab centre abused us, former teen patients allege.
Executive director calls them 'liars', February 13, 2009, CBC News, Feb. 13,
2009, The CBC’s The Fifth
Estate uncovered the allegations during an extensive investigation. Plagued
by reports of alleged beatings and weird rituals, New Jersey authorities raided
Newton’s centre in 1989, finally shutting it down in 1998. New Jersey lawyer
Phil Elberg successfully sued the centre for $18.6 million Canadian in 1998
claiming malpractice on behalf of former patients. Newton had wanted to expand
his program to Alberta and started AARC in Alberta. Former patients of the Kids
of Bergen County New Jersey went on to work at AARC as counselors despite
having no formal training. The program
receives $400,000 a year in provincial funding. It was originally reported that
it had received $4 million in provincial funding since 2002. CBC.Ca, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2009/02/13/abuse.html
[ii] The Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center, 303 Forge Road S.E. Calgary, AB T2H0S9 403.253.5250
[iv] Guadalajara Reporter, Immigration Busts Lakeside Area
Boarding School for Troubled Teens, Friday December 17, 2004, GuadalajaraReporter.com,
Abundant Life facilities in Guadalajara Mexico are busted for immigration
violations. Twelve boys and five girls,
teens 14-17 years of age and all US citizens are sent back to the U.S.A. One 17 year old who was interned in an
institution in Ajijc area, reported in lengthy testimony, abusive treatment by
staff members, penned after he escaped and finally took refuge with an
expatriate couple living nearby.
Guadalajara Reporter +52 (33)
3615-2177 and+ 52 (33) 3615-0606.
[v] The Assemblies
of God Church has its’ headquarters in the State of Missouri and also its
Credit Union is located in that state as well.
Just to give you an idea of the strength and numbers of their membership
of the Assemblies of God Church in Missouri and elsewhere. There are 467 churches in the Missouri
Assembly of God Church Directory in the state of Missouri (This is just the
listing for just one state.)