My daughter, Michelle, died in a Utah wilderness therapy program in 1990. Since that time, I have worked tirelessly to try to right a terrible wrong in an out-of-control, self-regulated industry.
Had I been aware of the long-talked about controversy regarding these programs I would have never encouraged my daughter to enroll in one. I had no knowledge that, for the most part, this industry is SELF-GOVERNED and SELF-REGULATED!
I also had no knowledge of their "window of loss," meaning "we may have lost 'ONE,' but we are saving many." What kind of mentality is that? Especially since this LIST proves that far more than 'ONE' child has died, a list that continues to grow as investigations into these deaths continue.
In an effort to save others from going through what I went through, "BUYER BEWARE" became my crusade.
I then established the Michelle Sutton Memorial Fund, Inc. Our Mission and Goal is to improve the quality of care in this out-of-control, lucrative industry, while seeing to it that a level of expectation is in place, and more importantly, enforced. My daughter's death was completely preventable. I have often said, "I could not have done TO My Michelle what was done TO her and walked away a free person." Yet, this out-of-control, lucrative industry continues to do just that as they inflict mental and physical abuse upon children in the name of "treatment." And continue to get away with it. It is time that those who choose to continue abusing and killing children be held accountable to the same level of care we are responsible to give our own children.
Because of what I have personally experienced through the loss of my Michelle, I know "what to look out for," and as such, would like to share my knowledge with parents who are considering turning to this industry for help with their childs needs.
Before you make the decision to send your child away from home for treatment, please contact me and I will consult with you, free of charge. I have compiled a wealth of information over the years that I am willing to share with other parents so another child does not have to suffer or die in the name of treatment.
Please be aware that I will provide the resources about the industry, but that I am NOT a referral service and therefore, will NOT recommend any program for your child. Information provided is intended for "parent awareness" purposes only.