Trails Carolina “Investigation”, situated in Brevard, North Carolina, is a program in the wild that helps young people.
Since 2008, they’ve been assisting teenagers facing emotional and behavioral hurdles. They use a mix of outdoor activities, one-on-one counseling, group sessions, and sessions with families.
Yet, Trails Carolina has faced a lot of attention and questions in the past few years. People have concerns because of stories about lousy treatment and harm. In 2014, a sad event happened when a 17-year-old boy left the program and was found 12 days later with an injured leg. He didn’t survive. Even though it was called an accident, many wondered if the program looked after the kids properly.
In 2021, a news channel named WBTV decided to dig deeper into Trails Carolina. What they discovered could have been better. They found out there needed to be more people working there, the staff didn’t get the proper training, and kids didn’t always get the medical help they needed. The state had given them fines more than once, but they were still open.
Stories of Bad Treatment
People who were once in the program and their families have shared some worrying stories about Trails Carolina. These stories include:
- Getting hurt intentionally, like being pushed, hit, or held down.
- Feeling bad inside because of mean words, threats, or being made fun of.
- Bad things of a private nature.
- Not getting basic things like food, drink, or a place to stay safe.
Some of these people also said they had to promise not to tell anyone about what happened to them by signing papers.
Probes and Legal Actions
Trails Carolina “Investigation” faced scrutiny from WBTV, agencies like the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the FBI. The DHHS discovered that Trails Carolina sometimes followed state rules. However, they still let the program run.
Many families have taken legal action against Trails Carolina. They claim the program didn’t properly care for their kids and even harmed them. In 2022, a dad said in court that a person working at the program did something terrible to his 14-year-old girl.
Looking into Trails Carolina: Steps Forward
People have discovered big worries about how safe and suitable Trails Carolina is. We must do more to protect young people from harm in programs that take them into the wild.
Making Rules Stronger
We need to make the rules for these wild programs much better. Right now, the big government doesn’t have regulations for them, and each state’s laws are different. It means programs like Trails Carolina can run with few people checking on them. If we have better rules, these programs must ensure they are safe and sound. Families will also know more about what these programs do with their kids.
One crucial action we must take is to give families the tools and knowledge to make wise choices about wilderness therapy programs. Every family should know both the good and bad sides of these programs. It includes understanding the claims made against Trails Carolina and similar programs.
Moreover, families must have easy ways to learn more about wilderness therapy programs. They should know where to voice their concerns if they ever feel worried about their child’s well-being.
What’s the Next Step?
To tackle the worries about Trails Carolina, we can do several things:
- North Carolina’s government should look deeply into the program.
- The DHHS must do more to ensure wilderness therapy programs follow the rules.
- Moms, dads, and caregivers should know about the claims against Trails Carolina and similar programs.
- We need more ways to support families and young people who face harm in wilderness therapy programs.
Always remember many wilderness therapy programs do great work and keep everyone safe. So, moms, dads, and caregivers should always learn more about a program before choosing it for their child.
Final Thoughts on Trails Carolina “Investigation”
The claims made against Trails Carolina are heavy and unsettling. This program has faced issues and has even received penalties from the state. Some people who joined the program and their families have shared severe harm claims. It includes harm that’s physical, emotional, and even neglect.
It’s critical to mention that Trails Carolina has said these claims aren’t valid. They’ve shared that they always aim to keep everyone safe and help them in the best way.
Yet, looking at everything, Trails Carolina might be a better spot for young people. Moms, dads, and other caregivers must consider all choices before picking a wilderness therapy program for their child.
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