Provo Canyon School, with locations in Orem and Provo, Utah, has been abusing children and defrauding families for over 30 years. On January 12th, 2009, HEAL (http://www.heal-online.org) submitted a letter and online petition to the accrediting agencies and Utah officials demanding Provo Canyon School be investigated and closed.
The online petition at http://www.heal-online.org/sign.htm holds over 1000 signatures from defrauded families, survivors (self-identifying qualification of former captives), and human rights advocates. The petition cites the multiple lawsuits against Provo Canyon School (http://www.heal-online.org/provocases.htm), in which it was found guilty of cruel and inhumane treatment of children, as a public record of their wrongdoing and evidentiary basis for pursuing its closure.
There are multiple child and family advocacy organizations working to expose the institutionalized abuse at Provo Canyon School including ISAC (International Survivors Action Committee-- http://www.isaccorp.org/documentsnz.asp#provocanyon) and HEAL (http://www.heal-online.org/provocanyon.htm). HEAL has also recently created a new website at http://www.provotruthexposed.com to expand upon the allegations and judgments against Provo Canyon School.
The reasons for Provo Canyon School remaining open are reasonably speculated to be due to political pay-offs and corruption. Provo Canyon School has been endorsed by the Bush Administration (see: http://www.provotruth.com/provo-canyon-school.pdf) and directors of Provo Canyon School have been big donors to the Republican National Committee for years. During our research, we discovered http://www.domesticpredators.com which details in-depth a variety of reasons for programs like Provo Canyon School to go unchecked and unmonitored. The reasons cited by domesticpredators.com include experimentation on American children to determine effective interrogation or torture techniques. The domesticpredators.com site also gives evidence of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib-style torture occurring at behavior modification programs throughout the U.S. Two congressional hearings (October, 2007 and April, 2008 ) were held by the House Education and Labor Committee in regards to abuses at residential programs likening the methods to Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and brainwashing cults.
In 2008, the House Education and Labor Committee filed HR 6358, the "Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs Act of 2008." It has passed the House of Representatives and is awaiting action by the Senate HELP Committee. However, there are multiple problems with HR 6358 and it will not be effective in shutting down abusive programs such as Provo Canyon School. In fact, HEAL has submitted a position statement to the Senate HELP Committee opposing HR 6358 as it is now written. To view the position statement, visit http://www.heal-online.org/HR6358problems.pdf.
In the meantime, over 1000 people are calling for Provo Canyon School to be investigated and closed. HEAL sent e-mail as well as hard-copy letters to Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS), the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, the Utah Department of Human Services (Office of Licensing), and the Joint Commission (JCAHO) requesting that all licensing and accreditation of Provo Canyon School be revoked.
On January 13th, 2009, HEAL received a message from Jan Moss Courtney, Executive Director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, stating,
"As a volunteer member trade organization, NATSAP does not have the authority to impose sanctions on a facility nor do we have the expertise and resources to conduct appropriate and thorough investigations into complaints against our members."
In addition, HEAL has received responses from the NAAS and JCAHO promising nothing and recommending that victims contact the Utah Department of Human Services. HEAL has contacted the Department of Human Services as stated above. And, the victims currently held at the facility as well as those who live with the scars of Provo Canyon's history, are waiting.