There are not many groups addressing the critical issue of abuse towards "troubled" kids in residential contexts, such as boot camps, "therapeutic" boarding schools, and often unregulated religious homes (for example: Missouri; http://www.edchoice.org/Documents/SchoolChoice/Private-Schools-Laws-and-Regulations/missouri.pdf). The scope of the problem was best demonstrated in 2007 when the Government Accountability Office found over 1600 staff members involved in abuse in residential contexts in one year. It's also important to note that 17 States were not tallied in this count and the other States were reporting incompletely (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08146t.pdf). But despite the rampant nature of the issue, very little has been done as the GAO demonstrated in follow up reports in 2008 and 2009 along with great investigative work by journalists like Maia Szalavitz and Art Levine.
CAFEY is a young organization that has had some real impact on the issue. They have helped involve and supply information to journalists, confront people actively harming kids (see petition CAFETY supports against Josh Shipp: http://www.change.org/petitions/josh-shipp-and-lifetime-television-network-stop-placing-children-at-serious-risk-of-ill-treatment-and-torture), and organize contact of politicians central to the issue, among other things, The work I have seen CAFETY board members and volunteers put into the issue has been remarkable. They put in a ton of time and effort. I think CAFETY is improving and becoming more influential and that really puts a smile on my face.
My status with CAFETY is as a volunteer.
CAFETY is playing a great role in exposing the abuse perpetrated by the troubled teen industry. Members of CAFETY testified before Congress, drew attention to the Judge Rotenberg Center (which shocked a child 31 times over 7 hours while he was tied to a four point restraint board, among many other abuses), and much more. You can see Kat's testimony to congress, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUtUiDDMUl4. Also, to show the type of thing CAFETY is fighting, watch this video (graphic/disturbing, but important): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtRGQRtwh2U.
I have watched this group since it's inception and seen them get progressively worse. They started out with the intention of helping survivors of institutionalized child abuse. Now, they seem to have lost sight of their original mission statement.
A CAFETY staff member should NEVER have approached beasinthearmy asking him to remove his review. It borders on harassment trying to induce guilt stating it's "for the kids" when beasinthearmy has a valid point.
The ED states in her response to beasinthearmy's first review that they "never endorsed or opposed a candidate". The rules for a 501(c)(3) state that an organization can not participate in an election in any way, and even lobbying activities are limited. Partisanship, posting derogatory statements or links to articles critical of the personal or business activities of a candidate during an election year are prohibited. It is a wide sweeping ban. The surest ways to lose exempt status are failing to file financial statements for three years or surpassing the political activity limit.
This is an issue that starts at the top. The ED has been seated since CAFETY became a 501(c)(3). This position never seems to come up for election. Perhaps the title of Founder/ED should be separate.
A Founder position can never be changed, but the ED position should be flexible in order to keep any organization from stagnating.
I am following up to my previous review of CAFETY.
As one of the founding members and former board member, I really started volunteering when I returned from Iraq. I spent much of my own money to get CAFETY started, the money I had saved from being shot at for a year. I continue to be disappointed with their performance, and I currently regret having spent so much of my own time and money to start such an organization.
One of the CAFETY board members, Nick Wood, contacted me asking to take down the only honest review of their organization on this website. I will let you, the reader, decide whether or not it is appropriate for someone to perform such an action. Nick Wood presented no evidence to refute any of the facts I presented in my previous review. He merely engaged in a standard "it's for the children" plea. I do not buy it, because these places have been in operation for decades and CAFETY has not done anything to save any kids.
In regards to their blatent partisanship, let's take for example, CAFETY's position on Bain Capital owning the Aspen Educational Group. Romney, as former director of Bain, is often demonized by CAFETY, as you can see from a search of their website (http://www.cafety.org/component/search/bain%20capital/?ordering=&searchphrase=all). However, there is no mention of the $417,000 that Bain Capital gave to the Obama campaign, nor the $5 million given to other Democrats (Source:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/bain-capital-donations-democrats_n_1881655.html)
After reading all the dishonest reviews, I decided to get on here and write a real one. First, this organization should be converted from a 501 (c) 3 into a PAC. They spend more time criticizing Mitt Romney for a vague and loose connection to two people who did bad things. Romney's connection to these people is less than Obama ties to terrorists like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn. Second, they are hyper-partisan, hence their campaigns like "Occupy JRC" and their affinity to protests for a day. Third, their finances are not tracked or monitored closely at all. Since I stepped away in 2009, their financial house has become a complete mess and thousands of dollars have gone missing.
Beas, As CAFETY's Director I take your assertion that "thousands of dollars have gone missing" and that our "financial house has become a complete mess" very seriously. At the time you were a board member, up until 2009, our fiscal affairs were administered by our fiscal sponsors at the National Youth Rights Association. Then, like now, our finances were tracked closely and may be found at link below. Your assertions are not based in fact and I'm actually not sure why you would ever present them as such, but should you have such concerns I advise you file a complaint to someone who can verify the accuracy of your allegations. Having personally worked along side the CAFETY Board in monitoring our finances closely and worked closely with our Administrative Director to ensure we meet our fiduciary duties, I am incredibly disappointing to see you make public comments of fiscal malfeasance or nonfeasance which, given the choice of forum, appears to be a decision not at all based on an interest of accountability, but an interest in undermining our hard work. http://www.cafety.org/component/content/article/817 Your other concerns appear to be simply strategy choices CAFETY has made that you don't agree with. However, again, you make serious allegations that are simply untrue. Contrary to your claims, our activities would never qualify as those activities permissible only to a entity formed as a PAC. We are not and have never been a partisan organization. We have never endorsed nor opposed any candidate running for office or any particular political party. We greatly value and welcome the need for external systems of accountability - both of us and of residential programs. Facts give us something to work with. Rumor and innuendos do not. If you are indeed acting in good faith, please take a moment to file the details of your concerns with the proper authorities. We would be happy to publish their findings.
I recently became aware of this organization through professional connections and have found the information they share, the discussions they foster and advocacy work they do incredibly important and often overlooked by other organizations. Children and adults both with and without disabilities voices are often silenced in policy and practice discussions that directly impact them and that cannot continue to happen.
when i was sent to a baptist troubled teen school that looked like a real residential treatment center and degraded and told i should pray away my gay i after a few years i left so confused and believed them. a few years later i was still anxious and had nightmares. that was when i found CAFETY. kat took a lot of time to speak with me and gave me then confidence to listen to myself and what that anxiety and nightmares were trying to tell me. that place was not treatment it was psychological torture. i struggle still and can't contribute to the cause as much as i would like because i am often too depressed, but i am grateful to know CAFETY exists and will be there to help me become an advocate for myself and for other kids that are imprisoned as residents when i am in a better emotional place. i will never forget the gift this organization gave me. the gift of support in discovering my truth hidden under the lies of the school and their so-called therapy.
Beasinthearmy has presented the clearest picture of how corrupt the house of CAFETY has become, and obviously many support Beasinthearmy's depiction of CAFETY over what he calls "dishonest reviews". As a founder, former board member and treasurer, his views carry weight and deserve a better response than feeble denials and being directed to the "proper authorities". Kat is fond of directing whistleblowers to the IRS, but not the proper agency. The IRS form to download is www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13909.pdf This is form 13909, the Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral), and it is an interactive PDF that you can fill in and print for mailing, or email/fax it. You will need CAFETY's EIN#: 26-1196770, and most current address: P.O. Box 1319, New York, NY 10163. The form asks for details of violations - include all documentation and screenshots, too. Line 5 asks for your personal information, and includes a box to be checked that states: "I am concerned that I might face retaliation or retribution if my identity is disclosed". Check it, given CAFETY's reputation for speculation and seeking vengeance even when they are completely at fault. You will receive a confirmation letter from the Director of EO Examinations in Dallas, along with a phone number to call for account services. This is the number to call as soon as CAFETY harasses you.
Beasinthearmy is right, as a 501 (c)(3) CAFETY is prohibited from being involved in a political campaign, and the prohibition is wide-sweeping:
IRS Revenue Ruling 2007-41:
"...organizations described insection501(c)(3) may not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
"Even if a statement does not expressly tell an audience to vote for or against a specific candidate, an organization delivering the statement is at risk of violating the political campaign intervention prohibition if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate. A statement can identify a candidate not only by stating the candidate’s name but also by other means such as showing a picture of the candidate, referring to political party affiliations, or other distinctive features of a candidate’s platform or biography."
"If an organization posts something on its web site that favors or opposes a candidate for public office, the organization will be treated the same as if it distributed printed material, oral statements or broadcasts that favored or opposed a candidate.
An organization has control over whether it establishes a link to another site. When an organization establishes a link to another web site, the organization is responsible for the consequences of establishing and maintaining that link, even if the organization does not have control over the content of the linked site"
This link on CAFETY's page is only one example of trashing Romney, and there are still questions whether Romney was with Bain during the AEG acquisition: http://www.cafety.org/privately-funded-programs/911-romney-profits-from-bain-owned-health-company-facing-wrongful-death-neglect-allegations- pretty damning of Romney and his business dealings during an election. CAFETY should be following Kat's suggestions: "I advise you file a complaint to someone who can verify the accuracy of your allegations - Facts give us something to work with. Rumor and innuendos do not. If you are indeed acting in good faith, please take a moment to file the details of your concerns with the proper authorities". As a 501(c)(3), CAFETY is prohibited from engaging in this kind of political activity. They can lobby as much as they can afford to, but even that wouldn't meet the standard test.
I've accumulated many examples of CAFETY "showing a picture of the candidate, referring to political party affiliations, or other distinctive features of a candidate’s platform or biography." I've sent CAFETY screenshots including a picture of Romney and Mel Sembler with Kathryn Whitehead's comment: "Melvin Sembler and Mitt Romney together in a recent pic - we need to step up the publicity of their connection regarding child abuse centers across America! Please read and pass on - program watch". http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_biON--PW5oJ:pt-br.facebook.com/CAFETY/app_53267368995%3Ffilter%3D2+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a Later that caption was changed to the article title "Mitt Romney's Big Drug Problem". Great article - not appropriate for a public charity prohibited from intervening in a political election. And this jewel of Mitt-bashing: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151074045006816&set=a.10150566639796816.372904.90524391815&type=1
That should influence some of your constituents to vote against Romney. Romney is evil - CAFETY should try to at least rise above his level. CAFETY is a 501(c)(3), not a 501(c)(4).
The questions CAFETY's bookkeeping raises are too many to list here, and I've delivered them to the "proper authorities". No sense in bringing it to CAFETY - they know. One thing stands out the most - the first (and apparently last) Annual Benefit in 2010 - here on Guidestar, you mention no dollar amount raised. On CAFETY's Accomplishment page, http://www.cafety.org/cafetys-accomplishments the event is listed under 2010: "CAFETY's 1st Annual Benefit ( Raised over $60,000! ) - Special thanks to artist Jim Hodges- NYC - Yale Club - Featuring work by artist: Jim Hodges - November 18, 2010. Raised over $60,000? CAFETY's 990-N does not reflect that, nor does the recently posted 2010 financial data. $14,000 being spent on a paper to be delivered this fall, travel and conference expenses that were extravagent. This is for the IRS, though. It would make the IRS job easier if there were one consistent method of record keeping. CAFETY is no longer "ethical" and has wandered far from their original mission statement, as was evidenced in the profane exchange between CAFETY's National Outreach Director and a 13 yr. old boy. Even knowing he was addressing a 13 yr. old, the CAFETY Director encouraged the boy to engage in illegal sexual activity while cursing and belittling the young man.
I found CAFETY in 2006 after having firsthand experience with the "Troubled Teen" industry. I had been sent successively to a Wilderness Program and a Therapeutic Boarding School. I would describe both experiences as traumatizing. After searching online, I came across CAFETY, who perform several important functions for the benefit of people like me. CAFETY advocates for the rights of teens imprisoned by this industry, educates the public on the workings and dangers of TBS's (and other like institutions), and acts as a resource and support community for families (parents, teens, etc.) and others who have been affected by this destructive industry. After finding CAFETY, I was able to begin my healing process knowing that I was not alone, and that people were working to protect others from the same experiences that I had as a "student" of one of these programs.
This organization has done many things to help people who have been in my situation ( persons who have been abused in residential programs). Those who work for CAFETY have taken time to make sure that I am doing OK when I have had no one else. When I am not doing well they make sure to keep in constant contact with me and offer support. Additionally this organization was one of the first organizations I came into contact with when I left Provo Canyon School the residential programs where I was abused. They gave me others to contact who I was able to relate to so I would not feel so alone in my situation. They have also opened my eyes to the world of activism and always update me on important information pertaining to residential programs
CAFETY has helped me with my own issues of being a victim to this troubled teen industry...AND helped me learn to just keep talking to and educating anyone that will listen. Separating the family unit is not a way to mend the issues, in my opinion. Torture is not treatment or therapy. There needs to be a checks and balances for EVERY residential treatment center in America, and CAFETY is working towards this round the clock. Regulation is key to these kids having their human rights not being violated or totally dismissed. Thank you CAFETY for all your hard work, dedication, late nights, time spent educating yourselves and others...you're more than an inspiration, you're helping change the lives of youths/families all over the U.S.
CAFETY's role in saving youth from institutional abuse is vital, especially since laws don't do nearly enough to prevent it.