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Are Overseas Programs Safe?

If there is one warning that parents should heed when deciding on a program for their struggling teen, it is, "Beware of programs overseas." Why is this?

Regulations and Accountability

Programs in other countries only have to abide by that country's rules. They are not bound by any rules or regulations set by the United States government.

Other common-sense issues to consider are: will you have difficulty retrieving your child from a foreign country? What laws will protect you should you have problems retrieving your child? What laws will protect your investment in such a school if you decide to un-enroll your child?

Make sure you investigate any overseas program thoroughly and discuss your choice with other parents online at such discussion forums as StrugglingTeens. Sometimes the price of such programs is what prompts parents to send a child to them. However, this should not be the sole determinant for choosing a program. Your child's safety and well-being are the most important considerations. A thorough background check on the owners of such programs should be done. Some have byzantine management structures that make it difficult to trace the program back to the true owners, which may be someone who has faced criminal charges in the past due to complaints and violations at their programs in the United States. There is a reason someone opens their program in another country. Make sure you know that reason.

Read a formal statement on overseas behavior modification programs issued from the U.S. State Department.

"Military-style boot camps have been haunted by abusive staff members, even as they were being touted as cheap, effective prison space-savers and politically tasty." David J. Krajicek, MSNBC, December 23, 1999.

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