Youth Foundation Success Academy CLOSED

October 11, 2013

News, Troubled Teen Industry

October 10th, 2013

According to recent reports, as of October 13th 2013, Youth Foundation Success Academy (YFSA) will be ceasing operations. WWASP Survivors has obtained an email sent to all parents by Youth Foundation Inc’s Board of Directors. This letter announces that the program is permanently closing down due to a financial crisis caused by on-going litigation with WWASP’s primary billing company, Optimum Billing LLC. known to be owned and operated by Robert Lichfield. An accompanying letter from YF Family Representative Jody Harris also mentioned alternative programs for parents to consider, including the notoriously abusive, Diamond Ranch Academy.

The complete text of the email is as follows:

Dear Parents,

As you probably know, Youth Foundation, Inc. is involved in a lawsuit with Optimum Billing Services, LLC over the collection and disbursement of funds. Youth Foundation was able to obtain a preliminary injunction allowing Youth Foundation to continue to collect all tuition payments related to its services.

However, the law requires that a bond be posted, which we are unable to do at this time. Youth Foundation has been unable to post the bond. Without the bond being posted, the preliminary injunction will not be in force.

Youth Foundation, Inc. was established as a non‐profit charity to provide support to parents and help to troubled children. Youth Foundation, Inc. intends to continue with this goal. Youth Foundation believes the School has been the best method to accomplish this goal, but unfortunately, it cannot continue under its current financial circumstances. We regret to inform you that the school will be closing on Sunday,October 13, 2013.

We apologize for this turn of events. However, Youth Foundation intends to make every effort to fulfill its purpose, even without the School, and pursue other avenues for doing so. Youth Foundation also intends to continue to pursue its legal rights as long as it can.

Sincerely,
Board of Directors

 

Apparent financial disputes caused strain between Optimum Billing and Youth Foundation and resulted in the resignation of YFSA Executive Director, Jade Robinson. In August, a letter from Optimum Billing was sent out to all parents with children enrolled in Youth Foundation Success Academy describing allegations of abuse, irresponsible management and a possible closure on the horizon. This action incited Youth Foundation to pursue legal action against Optimum Billing, including a restraining order to prevent them from contacting YF parents in the future. An eviction was issued to Youth Foundation by the owner of the building, Robert Lichfield. Acting Director Chaffin Pullan attempted to move the children to a property in Hurricane, the former site of Diamond Ranch Academy. Ongoing litigation with Optimum has left Youth Foundation bankrupted and unable to sustain their school. It is unclear what this closure means for YFSA’s sister facilities RiverView Camp in Utah and RiverView Academy, located in Thompson Falls, Montana.

Update:

Following the closing, several of the displaced YFSA students were transferred to Diamond Ranch Academy, a notably abusive school with many critics and 2 confirmed deaths of children due to medical neglect. Several other children were left to the care of Chaffin Pullan and currently reside on his personal property in Hurricane Utah.

…..

This is not the first scandal that Youth Foundation has faced. Earlier this year an incident of a student falling 60 feet down a cliff during a school field trip and a staff member being arrested and charged for showing students pornography brought Youth Foundation under fire. However, most troubling is the path that lead to the creation of Youth Foundation Inc…

Youth Foundation Success Academy’s (former) owner, Jade Robinson began working for WWASP as a low-level staff member at WWASP’s Cross Creek Manor in Utah and later Spring Creek Lodge in Montana. He then transferred to the notorious Tranquility Bay program in Jamaica before leaving to become an administrator of Dace Goulding‘s Casa By The Sea in Ensenada, Mexico. CBS was closed by Mexican officials in 2004. Reasons for it’s closure included evidence of abuse, child endangerment and the unauthorized use of a pharmacy. Many allegations of abuse arose from Robinson’s tenure at Casa By the Sea, including allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse and intentional medical neglect.

Later that same year, he opened his own program in Terra Bella, California called Bell Academy. Bell Academy never got off the ground because Robinson refused to cooperate with California’s licensing requirements. Robinson moved the students to a facility in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, re-naming it Horizon Academy.  In 2011,  Nevada CPS officials investigated and noted several student safety concerns. Allegations of physical abuse and multiple gang rapes have been reported, including an incident where Robinson himself attempted to cover up a sexual abuse case and lied to law enforcement. In 2011, Robinson fled with over 80 children to La Verkin, Utah, reinventing Horizon Academy on the same grounds as WWASP’s original program, Cross Creek Center.

At first, the facilities operated separately, but gradually began to merge. The facility operated as Horizon Academy until 2012, when Youth Foundation Inc was established and the facility was re-named Youth Foundation Success Academy. Although no official reason was announced, the change was widely suspected to be motivated by the bad press of abuse allegations surmounting against Robinson and Horizon Academy. These incidents, combined with another lawsuit being filed against Cross Creek Programs and a withering New York Times article brought unwanted attention to the terrible conditions under which detainees at the school live. Relentless pressure from the media and a number of WWASP survivor websites like this one targeted parents with this damning information, and enrollment at the school began to decline.

WWASP Survivors has received reports that Robinson may likely be working at the old Horizon Academy, now dubbed Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, NV. This facility is currently operated by WWASP’s resident psychologist Dr. Marcel Chappuis, and apparent dual family rep (for YFSA) Jody Harris. Our research confirms that Jody Harris had to withdraw her LSAC license because she was charged with “engaging in an inappropriate dual relationship with a client”. However in 2011 Harris’ license was re-instated due in part to a letter on her behalf from Dr Marcel Chappuis.

Robinson is also rumored to be working with Dace Goulding in an attempt to open another program on the property of the former Casa By the Sea, in Ensenada Mexico.

Oh… but there’s more.

Current Director, Chaffin Pullan is the former owner of WWASP’s (CLOSED) Spring Creek Lodge in Thompson Falls MT. The school was closed amid allegations of a wrongful death, in which principals of the foundation recently settled a lawsuit for $3 Million. Many allegations of abuse arose from Pullan’s time at Spring Creek, as well many continue to surmount against him as director for Youth Foundation Success Academy.

Current administrator, Jason Finlinson is the former owner of WWASP’s (CLOSED) Academy at Ivy Ridge which closed amid a $100 Million lawsuit alleging false claims of accreditations and fake diplomas being issued. Finlinson also tenured employment as administrator at WWASP’s (CLOSED) Casa By the Sea, where he has been accused of multiple serious allegations of violence, sexual abuse and vicious treatment of students. Allegations against him continue to arise in his staff role at Youth Foundation Success Academy.

Current Night Staff, Brian Vaifanua is the former owner of WWASP’s (CLOSED) Paradise Cove, in Somoa which closed amid investigations into allegations of abuse. Vaifanua was formerly employed by the Hurricane Public School District as a coach, however, after reports from his former abuse victims reached the district’s board he was subsequently fired from the district. Vaifanua was hired by Youth Foundation Success Academy as night staff, an employee with unlimited access to children at night with little to no supervision.

Many other principals of Youth Foundation Inc. have deep ties to WWASP and their spin off programs, including Mickey Manning, current president of Youth Foundation Inc, and current owner of RiverView Academy in Thompson Falls MT.

We sincerely hope that this cycle of abuse will not continue with YF’s recommendations to other abusive schools like Diamond Ranch Academy. We encourage all parents to recognize the patterns of such a scam in any program. For more information on abuse in residential programs please view our Red Flag’s list. We hope that you will make all efforts to protect your children from any further harm and refuse to place your child in the hands of abusers.

If you were abused at any WWASP affiliated facility, please help us educate prospective parents and the general public about WWASP by reporting the abuse and submitting your testimony to to WWASP Survivors by filling out the form located here. Please also consider donating to WWASP Survivors to support our mission to end institutional child abuse in residential treatment programs.

The Truth Will Set THEM Free!!

WWASP Survivors

About WWASP Survivors

As survivors of the systematic and deliberate abuse of children in the WWASP programs We believe it is our duty to advocate for the kids currently in programs today, to demand their rights to be protected from physical and mental abuse and to warn any parents considering the risk of placing their child in an unregulated "Tough Love" program. Please refer to our Red Flags list for advice on pinpointing and avoiding abusive programs.

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19 Responses to “Youth Foundation Success Academy CLOSED”

  1. Betty Davis Says:

    My husband rescued his daughter several years ago from one of the WWASP affiliated schools and we were instrumental in working to help get that school closed down. My husband`s ex wife sent her there. There was no medical care…school not accredited…children abused. Please…Do Not send your children to any of these schools.

    Reply

    • cody Says:

      I was in tranquility bay for 4 years. Worst place ever. Abuse rape starved us. Horrible. Wouldnt wish that pk ace on my worst enemy

      Reply

  2. Anon Says:

    Thank you Betty for stepping up and helping save these kids. Please help keep an eye out for these owners/administrators/staff. The Lichfield connection to this facility and it’s staff is still sketchy in my opinion. I can’t see these people forfeiting all the free labor they get from these kids working at Lichfield Ponds aka the “Ranch”. Yeah, that’s the picture they use on their Youth Foundation Success Academy website. Very interesting, IMO.

    I worry that they will start up again after the lawsuit is finally heard and the dust is settled. Right now they have four “empty” buildings in La Verkin (including the Optimum Billing office at 50 S State – which is for sale)

    Does anybody know the real ownership of Diamond Ranch Academy? Their old compound still has an awful lot of lights on at night…

    Reply

  3. Patent Says:

    I noticed how the only comments posted are the negative ones. In all fairness youth foundation academy saved my daughters life. Every child had 3 square meals a day, school 5 days a week which credits were given, and they had a nurse on site to render medical attention and dispense meds 4 times a day for those students that needed it. I realize people aren’t perfect but I know many if the staff there were there to try and help kids. It has been a very positive thing for most of the kids. You also need to remember that most all the teens have similar behavior i.e. lying, stealing, drug & alcohol abuse, disrespect, and poor academic performance with many not attending school at all. In spite of some recidivism there are many teens that are far better for having been there. STOP HATING AND GET A LIFE!!! Better yet, if you had to send your child there you must have done a crappy job as a parent but I guess it’s different that you made mistakes.

    Reply

    • WWASP Survivors Says:

      We usually post all comments, unless they are clearly written by staff or are written in a derogatory manner toward the teens coming forward with their stories. I also auto spam people who try to give me fake emails (like you did) Maybe you aren’t aware that we can easily trace your IP and know exactly where you are posting from. If you are posting from say, Hurricane Utah, it’s pretty sure bet that you are a former staff member or even Chaffin Pullan himself (based on the grammar and spelling mistakes I’d say that’s all too likely).

      However I will humor you.

      Youth Foundation did not save your daughter’s life. WWASP programs do not save lives, they simply incarcerate kids and brainwash them to say all the right things when they get home. You know how many of us left our programs under that impression? Only to realize that we were abused and our parents were conned. You know how many of our parents still have to tell themselves that they were just trying to save us just to sleep at night as soon as they learned the truth about what it was really like?… For your daughter’s sake I do hope you can ask her one of these days.

      These kids may have gotten food, shelter and a mediocre education, but what they don’t tell you is the “treatment” they got when things weren’t going well. How they were locked in empty rooms in the basement for days, how they were violently restrained until their limbs popped out of their sockets and how they were denied proper medical attention if they were injured in the process. There are plenty of accounts of abuse on this website to corroborate these claims, so I insist you do some reading before you just take the staff’s word for it that they somehow saved your kid’s life. Because it’s quite possible that they may have already ruined it.

      Most kids that go through these programs are just normal kids. It’s really rare for any teenager to have a full blown addiction problem. More often than not, kids are forced to admit things to their parents that they didn’t actually do and label themselves as addicts in order to move forward with the program. In YF, “therapy” is nothing more than bullying, and the staff are the worst of them all. So to think that any of their problems are being solved by this makes no sense… if anything it’s making any issues they have with authority worse.

      You want to talk about hate?… I hate that child abusers exist. I certainly hate that they have been getting away with it for decades and people like you continue to pay them millions of dollars to outsource child abuse. I hate that I have spoken to thousands of kids who have been abused, some raped and nearly murdered in these programs. I was one of those kids, I was abused by the very man who ran Youth Foundation, Jade Robinson. If you think that my concern for the kids that are in the same position I was in, is hate… You are sadly mistaken. This is fear, fear for your children’s lives. This is a warning so that I can sleep at night knowing I did my part to save others from the same fate. You can call that hate if it makes you feel better, but for most parents who love their children, they read this and they choose not to put their children in the hands of abusers.

      Obviously it’s already too late for you… I just hope your child can heal and learn to forgive you in time.

      Reply

      • Frances Says:

        So then what may I ask would your organization suggest as an alternative to one of the many programs on this website that your organization deems as abusive? ALL of the programs to help troubled youth are abusive…? Maybe I missed it but what is your suggestion when all else has failed and your child may end up dead with their destructive behavior? It’s easy to say the parents screwed up….. What would your suggestion be when a single Mom has a teenager who outweighs her by 100 lbs, and a foot and a half…? When that teenager terrorizes her, and his younger siblings….? What would you suggest when a teenager says he’s going to kill you in your sleep, when he tortures your family pets? When 10 years of counseling with many different counselors, Psychiatrists, medications, school administrators, activities, church….. Our Psychiatrist diagnosed my child with “oppositional defiance disorder” and said there is no medication that will help this….he needs to be in a 24/7 program to change his behavior. We had 4 therapists tell us they did not know how to help my child. The schools had ZERO suggestions to help us. The last thing they gave us as we begged for help, for a program suggested by the school….they gave us the phone number to the local psychiatric hospital (who wouldn’t take my child during his ragint because he didn’t meet the criteria…whatever that is). They also gave us a phone # to the 1-800 suicide prevention hotline. That was the help we got with our raging, violent, 6’3, 220 lb teenager. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST AS AN ALTERNATIVE SO A PROGRAM FOR TROUBLED YOUTH? It is our responsibility as parents to do whatever we can to not turn a sociopath out onto the streets. We met MANY families who’s kids turned their very destructive ways around after attending one of these programs. Are the kids restrained? Yes, to keep them from hurting themselves and others when they are raging out of control. What do you think a hug or a conversation will stop that raging and smashing furniture over someone’s head? I wish I had someone in my house who could have restrained my child so that he didn’t hurt me and my other kids. I did not. Sending him to Cross Creek was my last effort to keep him out of Juvenile hall. Having had worked in the Juvenile system trust me….Cross Creek or these other programs are like Summer camp compared to Juv Hall where kids wake up with other kids beating in their faces for fun. These programs for troubled youth are the LAST HOPE for many kids and their battered families. Are they restrained and made to eat institutional food? yes…and so…? Guess what will be happening in prison which is where sadly, many of these kids will end up. I am sure there are kids who do not belong in this extreme of an attempt at intervention. I met some of those kids and really could not believe their parents sent them away for ditching school, or smoking pot….I think that is a WAY overreaction for those types of issues. SOME of us parents were, and still are, desperately seeking something to safely contain our kids, hopefully turn their victim mentality around, keep them from hurting others, and we PRAY that their brain will mature and they will CHOOSE a better way to live…….a way of living where do not have the desire to hurt others to get what they want. The prisons are full of those people. Please add some suggestions of alternative ways for desperate and frightened parents….to help their kids when EVERYTHING else has failed. What do you suggest? Thanks.

        Reply

        • WWASP Survivors Says:

          This is a great question and one we do receive quite often from parents upon finding this website. The short answer is that yes, all “tough love” programs that operate a similar program model to WWASP programs are by many standards considered abusive and should not be considered an option for treatment… especially in the case of a mentally challenged or emotionally disturbed child. However that does not mean that real treatment programs do not exist, it’s just that they don’t look anything like a WWASP Program.

          I would suggest to any parent struggling with their child’s behavior to do a few things before considering residential treatment.

          1) Seek a professional diagnosis. Consult with a doctor, psychiatrist or mental health professional through a reputable hospital. Try to get to the bottom of your child’s behavior and determine if it is being caused by a mental disorder, emotional issues or if it could be considered typical teenage “acting out”.

          2) Seek help from community resources. Extended family members, community therapy groups, school counselors and after school programs can offer support and a needed reprieve from a stressful situation at home. Also, getting involved in extra curricular activities can help to blow off steam and inspire teens to devote their energy to positive activities. (like paintballing, or photography)

          3) Before considering long term treatment try a short term family therapy program, like a retreat or family wilderness experience (emphasis on family involvement). In cases of drug abuse, seek a sobriety program or rehab within the community. Consent is required, If a program claims to admit your child whether they consent or not, this is a red flag, do not enroll your child into any treatment without their consent.

          4) Do your research. Consider our site’s Red Flags List as well as the warning signs described by other youth advocate sites. The signs of an abusive program may be hard to tell from the outside and you are likely to be lied to when asking questions but usually the tell is in their contracts. If they ask you to sign away your custody, consent to “restraints” and “disciplinary action” at the sole discretion of the staff and to “any extent necessary” and if they ask you to sign away any and all liability to psychological damage, injury and death, these are all signs that there is more going on behind closed doors than they lead on. They will also tell you that your child is a liar and will manipulate you to get out of the program, this is a red flag because a policy that demonizes the patient is unethical and leads to significant issues with staff/ patient relations. It is also a sign that medical neglect is commonplace. Any program that makes you waive your rights to access your child for any period of time and only provides you with supervised communication/ visits is more than likely practicing intimidation tactics on your child to prevent them from telling you the truth about the way they are being treated. Any program that operates with policies that aim to “break down” and indoctrinate a child into acceptable behavior is not providing your child with any form of clinically approved treatment. Real treatment does not coerce or intimidate patients into getting better, it rehabilitates through evidence based scientific methods. If the program you are considering does not staff a full house of licensed professionals (not just the one therapist they see once a month) Do not enroll your child. If you are going to pay the amount of money these programs cost, make sure you are paying REAL professionals to treat your child, not just unqualified staff under the advisement of someone with a degree in social work.

          The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a miracle cure for adolescent behavior, as well, treatment of psychological issues takes time and more importantly active participation of the family. You cannot just send your child away to have them fixed. This intention may be well meaning but it often serves to make the problems worse causing more psychological issues and resentment. Not to mention you will have wasted thousands of dollars having not made any real changes to your child’s behavior. Some parents might think their children were saved by these programs, but the long term effects like PTSD, anxiety and anger can lead to much more serious issues in the future.

          Your best bet is to keep in mind that although your child’s behavior may seem extreme at the moment, in time and with your dedication as a loving parent, your child WILL grow out of these tumultuous teen years. Even in the case of serious mental disorders, keeping your child at home and sticking with community based treatment can and will make a difference as your child matures. In some cases the answer can be as simple as asking another family member or even a family friend to step in and take a co-parenting role. Our best advice will always be to TRY EVERYTHING to keep your child at home, bring in reinforcements, circle the wagons and above all else do not send your child away when they need you the most.

          I would also like to mention that if in the worst case scenario, and you must find residential treatment outside of your community, under no circumstances should you send your child to Utah, Montana, Arizona, Nevada or any state that provides lax regulations to these programs. States like California, Oregon and Washington generally adhere to a stricter set of laws and ethical policies and are better regulated. (This does not mean that all programs in these states are not abusive, just that the government at least attempts to do their job efficiently)

          For more information please see our research page: Research

          Reply

        • Stacey Says:

          I don’t believe that any of the articles are meant to be condemning of anything beyond the programs that clearly have not only taken advantage of desperate parents but abused the power given to them. Dr. Phil is a good source for good programs that can be trusted. I as a Cross Creek parent felt as though I did my due diligence to send my child to a place that I could trust and fully understand being a parent who feels overwhelmed and at the end of the road of options for an out of control child. I think I speak for every parent who has been down this road and wishing that there had been more info, warnings and options. I believe this article like others are just provided as information so that future parents can make more informed decisions than before and think that it should be kept positive by all. Until someone walks in the shoes of someone else there is no way that you can know or understand the experience of that person. It is so easy to cast judgement and label people but in the end it has no basis in creating change or prevention.

          Reply

          • WWASP Survivors Says:

            Stacey,
            Thank you for your kind words, it’s certainly our goal to make sure parents have all the information available to make better decisions for their children. However I don’t think I can agree with you that Dr Phil is a good resource for non abusive programs. In fact he has in the past referred children to WWASP programs and more recently has been referring kids to Aspen Education Group owned programs. Aspen has just as long and controversial of a history as WWASP programs… Including several deaths. Dr Phil was recently sued by a family he referred to a “tough love” program because one of the staff members broke the girl’s arm. Dr Phil and TV personalities like him (Including Dr Drew) get PAID to refer to these programs, so their interest in sending kids off is not really in the child’s best interest. They also don’t have the knowledge or experience with these kinds of programs to do a proper investigation/ inspection before they endorse them. This is the main issue we have with most educational consultants. Once they are getting money from a program their ability to be unbiased and critical about the program goes out the window. If a parent is looking for info on a program all you need is Google and Facebook. If a program you are looking into is abusive there are usually bad reviews from past alum somewhere. I strongly believe that this is evidence that should not be ignored. If the program you are looking into is new, it’s likely that there aren’t a lot of students talking about it yet (sometimes it takes years to come forward) but as a rule of thumb, you should use our Red Flags List as a checklist for questions about potentially abusive policies. If the program you are looking into seems to have many of these policies in place, the risk for abuse is too high and that program should be avoided.

    • melanie Says:

      Patent says…..”STOP HATING AND GET A LIFE!!” Then continues to say “…you must have done a crappy job as a parent” if you had to send your child there.

      Hmm……..aren’t you one of those crappy parents that sent your child there?

      Glad your daughter survived. Too bad you can’t appreciate the torment delivered to others that were there. Shame on you!

      Reply

  4. Jess Says:

    Lol funny when parents post things telling us to stop hating …WERE YOU THERE…NO!!!!

    Reply

  5. Anon Says:

    Some of the displaced kids are now living with Chaffin Pullan in his home in Hurricane, Utah. I wonder how much he charges these parents who have chosen to abandon their kids to a man who has managed to lose two separate facilities in two separate states and takes NO responsibility for either one.

    Reply

  6. Haldur Estrup Says:

    I noticed that one of their former employees has been put in jail for sharing photos of himself without clothes to the students.

    Youth counselor gets 120 days for showing kids porn (The Spectrum)

    Reply

  7. Mike DAgostino Says:

    I was in spring Creek lodge and graduated h.s. there 2001 does anyone know how in the hell I’m suppose to get my transcripts I’m having the worst time trying to get them an u need them to start schools March 3rd an doesn’t look like its going to happen..

    Reply

    • Stacey Says:

      Mike,

      I do believe that records must be kept regardless of whether the school closed or not. It may take some calling, perhaps if you can find the attorney who represented them in recent litigation. There website should have some POC that can be contacted for records also. If you have been here done this perhaps you can explain the situation to the current schools you are registering for and they can offer other suggestions.

      Reply

  8. desiree Says:

    ms jody harris was an amazing person she helpd me threw so much she was an amazing family rep and this said about her isnt true i love ms jody she got me to back to church sh eis a morman and all this said can be said but god knows the truth

    Reply

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