Is Florida the most dangerous places in the country for children with disabilities, behavioral disorders or the sheer misfortune to be born into abusive families? That could well be the case, based on a series of troubling investigative reports.
This is a narrative about volunteer surrogate grandparents living among teens (who are not related) in a rural, residential school setting far from the crowds of urban Southern California -- and loving it.
When Andre got off the juvenile court bus at a suburban school, the privileged students there were shocked at what they saw. He and his eight fellow juvenile offenders were wearing neckties. Some of these nine students had been violent criminals, some not.
I raced into the house and couldn't believe what I saw before me. My house had been burgled. Most of my valuables had been stolen and the place was a wreck. Presley looked strung out and hadn't even noticed things were missing.
Residential treatment centers focus on helping the child take personal accountability. Through individual, group and family therapy, residential staff work on shifting the child from blaming others for his problems to acknowledging that he is where he is because he made poor choices.
I never suspected that stopping child abuse was a partisan issue. But negotiations over the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act have ended and Senate Republicans have simply said no.