Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for adolescents and teens struggling with behavioral or emotional difficulties. The program is located in the North Carolina mountains and offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and backpacking, in conjunction with individual and group therapy.
Wilderness therapy programs have become increasingly popular in recent years, as parents and therapists have sought out alternative treatments for troubled youth. However, there have also been growing concerns about the safety and efficacy of these programs, particularly Trails Carolina.
Allegations of Abuse
In recent years, a number of former Trails Carolina participants and their families have come forward with allegations of abuse and neglect. These allegations include:
- Physical abuse: Former participants have alleged that they were hit, kicked, and choked by staff members.
- Emotional abuse: Former participants have alleged that they were subjected to verbal abuse, humiliation, and isolation.
- Neglect: Former participants have alleged that they were denied adequate food, water, and shelter.
- Sexual abuse: There have also been a number of allegations of sexual abuse against Trails Carolina staff members.
In 2022, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched an investigation into Trails Carolina following allegations of abuse and neglect. The investigation is still ongoing, but DHHS has already found some evidence to support the allegations.
In addition, the FBI is also investigating Trails Carolina for possible violations of federal law, including child abuse and sex trafficking.
Impact on Survivors
The alleged abuse at Trails Carolina has had a devastating impact on survivors. Many survivors have reported experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Some survivors have also had difficulty adjusting to life after Trails Carolina, struggling with relationships, school, and employment.
The allegations of abuse at Trails Carolina are serious and disturbing. It is important to note that these allegations have not been proven in court. However, the fact that so many former participants and their families have come forward with similar stories suggests that there is a real problem at Trails Carolina.
The ongoing investigations by DHHS and the FBI are a welcome step forward. However, it is important to hold Trails Carolina accountable for its alleged crimes. Survivors of abuse at Trails Carolina deserve justice.
Uncovering the Truth
In order to uncover the truth about the abuse at Trails Carolina, it is important to listen to the stories of survivors. Many survivors have shared their stories online and in interviews. These stories provide a firsthand look at the horrific abuse that took place at Trails Carolina.
It is also important to investigate the business practices of Trails Carolina. Some survivors have alleged that Trails Carolina is more interested in profits than in the well-being of its participants. This may explain why Trails Carolina has a history of hiring unqualified staff members and failing to report allegations of abuse.
Finally, it is important to hold Trails Carolina accountable for its actions. This may involve legal action, regulatory oversight, or public pressure. It is important to send a clear message that abuse at Trails Carolina will not be tolerated.
What Can Be Done
There are a number of things that can be done to address the abuse at Trails Carolina and other wilderness therapy programs. These include:
- Strengthening regulations: Wilderness therapy programs should be subject to stricter regulations. This could include requiring programs to be licensed and inspected by state agencies.
- Improving oversight: State and federal agencies should increase their oversight of wilderness therapy programs. This could involve conducting regular inspections and investigating allegations of abuse.
- Educating parents: Parents should be educated about the risks and benefits of wilderness therapy programs. Parents should also be encouraged to do their research before choosing a program for their child.
- Supporting survivors: Survivors of abuse at Trails Carolina and other wilderness therapy programs need access to support services. This could include mental health counseling, legal assistance, and financial support.
It is important to remember that the survivors of abuse at Trails Carolina are not alone. There are people who care about them and want to help. If you or someone you know has been abused at Trails Carolina, please reach out for help.
Resources for Survivors
If you or someone you know has been abused at Trails Carolina, there are a number of resources available to help. These include:
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
- Childhelp USA: 1-800-422-4453
- The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): 1-800-656-HOPE You can also get help online at RAINN’s website: https://www.rainn.org