Since reports of abuse at Trails Carolina are becoming more numerous, calls for an official investigation have become more prominent. Allegations range from emotional neglect to physical mistreatment of participants in this program.
Though the program maintains that its staff receive extensive training, former employees have reported several troubling allegations: including reports that staff often arrive to work while impaired and engage in inappropriate relationships with participants.
Parents enrolling their teens in wilderness therapy programs often expect transformative results; however, they have an equal right to be informed of any associated risks. Program operatorss must follow stringent protocols and be upfront with parents about any concerns that might arise while prioritizing participants’ safety at all times.
Trails Carolina “Investigation” maintains that these allegations are misconstrued or due to misinterpretations of context. Furthermore, it pledges its cooperation in ongoing investigations while reviewing its operations for ways to promote participant safety and emotional well-being.
Recent state inspection reports have identified several violations, such as staff failing to communicate effectively with the family of a 17-year-old who died following an excursion. According to Department of Health and Human Services investigators, staff should have provided more details about his location so rescue crews could locate him more quickly. Unfortunately, deaths during wilderness excursions have become all too frequent; more regulation must be applied.
The Trails Carolina investigation brings to light the need for greater transparency and accountability within the troubled teen industry. While some participants claim transformative experiences, any allegations of mistreatment or neglect must be fully investigated by regulatory bodies and independent investigators.
Former participants of New Leaf’s program have reported numerous allegations, ranging from emotional neglect to physical abuse. Many were left in harsh wilderness conditions without access to food and water and staff ignored their pleas for assistance.
One incident highlighted by Trails Carolina was when a teenager attempted to scale a tree but fell, breaking his leg, remaining alone for up to 12 days in the wilderness before rescue crews found and assisted. Trails Carolina could have made a difference by providing more details of his location to rescue teams; similarly, its investigation should serve as a warning sign to parents considering enrolling their adolescents into wilderness therapy programs; research should always come first when considering enrollment; any investigation by Trails Carolina must focus on child safety first and foremost.
Trails Carolina staff has been accused of emotional and physical abuse against former participants and their families, such as using restraint and isolation as discipline measures and emotional manipulation techniques. These allegations demonstrate the need for increased transparency and independent oversight in wilderness therapy industry.
Hyde believes the staff at his program lack training and often receive subpar compensation. While they must attend sessions on first aid, nutrition, suicide prevention and crisis de-escalation trainings they don’t believe that this provides sufficient preparation before working with participants in the wilderness.
Trails Carolina staff reportedly used alcohol or drugs during work sessions and engaged in inappropriate relationships with participants – particularly vulnerable adolescents in remote locations – which is alarming. Furthermore, one former employee claims she witnessed staff using Trails Carolina staff drinking or using drugs at work sessions and engaging in inappropriate relationships with them as well as drinking during sessions themselves – this was especially concerning regarding adolescents in these settings. Furthermore, one sheriff who assisted in searching for one dead teenager says Trails Carolina could have provided more details regarding where his body lay so rescuers had better chances of finding him alive.
Trails Carolina may have changed some families’ lives, while for others it has left lasting emotional scars. Former participants and their families have accused Trails Carolina of physical and emotional abuse including using isolation as punishment. Such accusations have sparked calls for stricter regulations in wilderness therapy industries like Trails Carolina.
Critics have also faulted this program for lacking medical training that could increase health risks in remote locations. Furthermore, it has not been accredited by any reputable independent organization dedicated to wilderness therapy and thus lacks oversight and accountability found with other programs in this industry.
Trails Carolina has categorically denied allegations of abuse and mistreatment against their staff and maintains that students’ safety comes first. Furthermore, many allegations made are out-of-context or caused by miscommunication; additionally they have pledged to improve transparency with parents as well as make changes within their program.