I had five amber alerts called on me. I kept on running away with my boyfriend. He’s 26. Sure I was sexually abused when I was younger. I have a pretty violent relationship with my parents. My parents are divorced. I’m adopted. Almost all the kids here were adopted. It’s weird.

I used to live in Philadelphia but I guess I am from here now since I have been at Cross Creek for 14 months. I’d like to go to Annapolis and be the first woman General. [I point out that the Naval rank equivalent would be Admiral.] I wanted to join the Marines, but thought that would be too difficult. I guess I haven’t quite thought out my goals. I’m adopted, part of a blended family. My Mom places doctors with pharmaceutical corporations. I think she is sort of a headhunter but different.

–P.B. Age 18

 Cross Creek in La Verkin, Utah, was opened in 1988. It is licenesed for 431 kids, but the population was around 220 at the time of visit. It is co-ed, and the boys and girls are kept very separate. Cross Creek is a Residential Treaetment Center, a lock-down facility but they don’t like using that term. The minimum stay here is 12 months, but most stay 16 months. The cost per month is around $4495 and insurance pays for none of it. Cross Creek is oneofthe less expensive programs. Utah is considered to be a more “parent friendly” state, as opposed to California, Oregon and Washington which are deemed more “kid friendly” states. Cross Creek has some critics who want it to be brought under federal control. Cross Creek feels that their program design allows parents and families to be involved big time. When parents are invested and involved financially they are more involved in the process. They feel that taking public sector kids would result in less parent involvement and more involvement with a criminalized section of the juvenile population.

Most of the kids are brought to Cross Creek against their will. Most of these kids are not “hard-core.” If they were runaways, it was probably to a friend’s house. The decision to send a child to Cross Creek is an intervention before the child is criminalized or destroyed. The state system waits until the kid is in trouble.

The program is structured with seven hours of school every other day (to alternate boys and girls in the classrooms). The other days are busy with mental and physical health treatment programs or community service. Kids received individual therapy as much as 3-5 times a week or once every two weeks as needed. Group therapy is five days a week for all.

Leave a Reply