Help at Any Cost: How the
Troubled-Teen Industry
Cons Parents and Hurts Kids

A Book By Maia Szalavitz
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Also by Maia Szalavitz

Szalavitz, Maia. Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids. Feb. 2006. 320p. Riverhead, $25.95 (1-59448-910-6). 362.74.

"The tough-love tactics that have been lauded for turning around troubled teens are rife with abuse and prey on parents in this era of hyperparenting, Szalavitz concludes, after an in-depth investigation into several prominent programs. In separate sections of the book, she focuses on Straight Incorporated, based on the Synanon substance-abuse program; the North Star wilderness boot camp; the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs, six programs operating in four states and two countries; and the KIDS program, which provoked a lawsuit by a young woman held for 13 years. She details program punishment regimens that would be criticized by human-rights and prison-reform organizations, including beatings, extended isolation and restraint, public humiliation, and food and sleep deprivation. Szalavitz laments that mental and behavioral problems are underfunded, misunderstood, and underresearched and offers suggestions for parents and policy makers to guard against abuses in these programs and how to get help for troubled teens. This is a revealing, at times horrifying, look at the troubled-teen industry."-- Vanessa Bush
YA/M: Although targeted towards adults, the focus on teens' lives and the accessible, passionately argued critique may pull some older YAs. GE.
Copyright 2005 Maia Szalavitz. All rights reserved..
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