Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that has been in operation since 1992. It is one of the largest and most well-known wilderness therapy programs in the United States. Trails Carolina offers a variety of programs for adolescents and young adults, including wilderness therapy, residential treatment, and day treatment.
In recent years, several disturbing stories have emerged from former participants and their families, alleging instances of abuse and mistreatment at Trails Carolina. These stories range from emotional abuse and neglect to allegations of physical maltreatment during the program.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the allegations of abuse at Trails Carolina, and we will try to unravel the truth behind these horror stories.
Allegations of Abuse
The allegations of abuse at Trails Carolina are wide-ranging and serious. Some of the most common allegations include:
- Emotional abuse: Former participants have alleged that they were subjected to emotional abuse at Trails Carolina, including being screamed at, humiliated, and threatened with isolation or expulsion from the program.
- Neglect: Former participants have also alleged that they were neglected at Trails Carolina, and that their basic needs were not met. This includes allegations of not being given enough food or water, and of being forced to sleep outside in cold weather without adequate shelter.
- Physical abuse: Some former participants have alleged that they were physically abused at Trails Carolina, including being hit, kicked, and choked.
Response from Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina has denied all of the allegations of abuse. The program has stated that it is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for its participants. Trails Carolina has also stated that it has a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of any kind.
In 2021, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched an investigation into Trails Carolina following allegations of abuse. The investigation is still ongoing.
What do we know?
While the investigation is still ongoing, there are a few things that we do know about the allegations of abuse at Trails Carolina.
First, the number of allegations is significant. There are dozens of former participants and their families who have come forward with allegations of abuse.
Second, the allegations are credible. Many of the allegations are consistent with each other, and they are supported by evidence such as medical records and witness statements.
Third, Trails Carolina has a history of regulatory violations. In 2016, the DHHS cited Trails Carolina for several violations, including failing to provide adequate supervision and failing to report allegations of abuse.
What can be done?
It is important to note that Trails Carolina is still under investigation, and the program has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. However, the allegations of abuse are serious, and they need to be taken seriously.
There are a few things that can be done to address the allegations of abuse at Trails Carolina:
- The investigation should be completed as quickly as possible. The DHHS needs to complete its investigation and determine whether or not Trails Carolina violated any laws or regulations.
- Trails Carolina should be held accountable. If the investigation finds that Trails Carolina violated any laws or regulations, the program should be held accountable. This may involve imposing fines or suspending the program’s license.
- The wilderness therapy industry needs to be reformed. The wilderness therapy industry is largely unregulated, and there have been numerous reports of abuse at other wilderness therapy programs. The industry needs to be reformed to ensure that all participants are safe and protected.
The allegations of abuse at Trails Carolina are serious, and they need to be taken seriously. It is important to note that the program is still under investigation, and it has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. However, the number of allegations is significant, and the allegations are credible.
The DHHS needs to complete its investigation as quickly as possible, and Trails Carolina should be held accountable if it is found to have violated any laws or regulations. The wilderness therapy industry also needs to be reformed to ensure that all participants are safe and protected.
In addition to the allegations of abuse, there are a few other things that raise concerns about Trails Carolina.
First, the program has a high turnover rate for staff members. This suggests that there may be problems with the program’s culture or management.
Second, Trails Carolina has a history of financial problems. In 2019, the program filed for bankruptcy. This suggests that the program may be cutting corners in order to save money.