Why DRW's 'access to investigate' matters: study finds abuse, death in troubled-youth treatment centers

DRW updates
David Carlson
Director of Resource Advocacy

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report with specific concerns regarding the treatment youth with disabilities received at wilderness camps, boot camps, residential schools, and other therapeutic settings like the one referenced in the article about DRW’s access lawsuit.

The GAO report showed there were numerous deaths at these Residential Treatment Facilities. The report sites a lack of oversight as a major contributing factor to deaths and abusive conditions.

People with disabilities often receive services in a variety of different settings, and abuse and neglect can happen in any of them.  Due to the special access authority Congress gave them, Protection and Advocacy systems are one of the only entities that has the ability to investigate whether people with disabilities are being abused or neglected in these settings. 

If you have any questions concerns about potential abuse or neglect at a wilderness camp, boot camp, or therapeutic school that serves people with disabilities, please contact Disability Rights Washington at 800-562-2702 or [email protected].  Every state and territory has a Protection and Advocacy system like Disability Rights Washington, so if the facility you are concerned about is in another state, you can find contact information for the local agency at the National Disability Rights Network.

Freedom from abuse and neglect