If you have heard about Island View RTC and all the controversies that came along with it and would love to find out more about it, then this post is the best one for you.
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center in Syracuse, Utah, a suburb of Ogden, for teens ages 13–18. The facility was formerly known as Island View Residential Treatment Center, until it was acquired by Syracuse RTC, LLC, which does business as Elevations RTC, in 2014. Elevations RTC now shares the campus with Seven Stars and ViewPoint Assessment Center.
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is one of the leading Residential Treatment Centers offering guidance, support, and relief to students of all genders. We help adolescents 13-18 overcome challenges stemming from mental health problems, emotional disorders, learning disorders, substance use, and other underlying issues. From depression to anxiety to defiance to bullying, Elevations RTC is one of the more respected residential treatment centers in America.
Elevations RTC is uniquely focused on providing an all-gender inclusive, real-world residential environment with a combination of intensive psychiatric treatment and personalized care. We offer specialized clinical groups to address specific problems, accredited academics to ensure your teen can graduate on time, and experiential education opportunities to build confidence and resiliency.
All of this takes place in a medically comprehensive residential treatment centers environment designed to help a struggling or troubled adolescent acquire the skills and proactive mindset they need to regain their self-confidence, happiness, and reconnect with their life.
Elevations RTC is a normalized high school in a nurturing residential treatment centers environment. With have teachers who directly teach concepts instead of students having to learn through packets or assignments. Elevations RTC also offered a all gender environment.
Elevations RTC taught students practical study skills which empower them to succeed in education long after leaving this setting. They teach critical thinking, organization, note-taking, setting goals and monitoring progress, recognizing priorities, maximizing use of time, discovering confidence, and envisioning success.
Their teaching staff helped child ren learn, but also provided them with the tools to be successful in high school, college or beyond.
Opening of Syracuse Campus
The Syracuse campus initially opened in 1994 as the Island View Residential Treatment Center. Its founders were Lorin Broadbent, DSW, Jared Balmer, PhD, and W. Kimball DeLaMare, LCSW. They came together to create their own residential treatment center after leaving other failed “tough love” treatment programs.
In 2004, Aspen Education Group acquired Island View. CRC Health Group, a company owned by Bain Capital, purchased Aspen Education for $300 million in 2006. Aspen and CRC Health Group were owned and operated by the Syracuse campus until 2014.
In April 2014, Syracuse RTC, LLC acquired Island View and changed the name to Elevations RTC.
Elevations is a continuation of Island View. At Elevations, the student dress code, applications, policies and procedures, and the solitary confinement procedures are largely the same as at Island View.
Many Elevations employees also worked at Island View. These include Elevations’ executive director Judi Jacques, MEd, clinical director Jennifer Wilde, LCSW, medical director Dr. Michael Connolly, admissions director Laura Burt, program director Eric Flores, and dean of students Jen Capellen.
Elevations is a residential treatment center that works with students of all genders. The facility today caters to a large population of transgender and gender non-conforming teens.
Tuition at Elevations costs approximately $16,000 per month or $192,000 per year. According to Elevations, the average stay is eight to ten months, although students often stay there much longer.
Allegations of abuse and mistreatment
Many former residents at Elevations and Island View have alleged experiencing some form of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse at the Syracuse facility. They describe staff tormenting and abusing them, and leaving the program with more trauma (PTSD) than they came in with.
A September 2020 incident at Elevations, in which a student was rendered unconscious after hitting his head while being restrained, prompted an investigation by the Utah Department of Human Services Office of Licensing. The case is still open.
In 2018, a former resident filed a lawsuit against Elevations RTC, alleging that a staff member threw her to the floor. The girl alleged that as a result she sustained traumatic brain and nerve damage resulting in permanent disfigurement of her eye and impaired vision. Despite her headaches, nausea, vomiting, and double vision, the former resident alleged that Elevations failed to provide medical assistance for six days. Elevations settled the case in September 2019, and the court dismissed it with prejudice.
Inspections reports of the facility from 2015 through 2019 show 35 violations, including insufficient documentation pertaining to seclusion methods and repeated citations for missing paperwork related to staff training and mildew or mold in the bathrooms.
Elevations also has been accused of practicing conversion therapy. Transgender activist Lillian Lennon, told Mashable that while in the residential treatment center, she was shuttled between a boys’ dorm and an isolation quarter. She says staff refused to call her by her pronouns and dismissed her gender identity as an “excuse to be promiscuous.”
What More Havoc did they Cause?
In 2014, the Utah Department of Human Services detailed students’ claims that staff at Elevations was mistreating them, including using restraint on them too often when unwarranted and belittling them.
Around the time the facility was renamed Elevations RTC, Island View had been at the center of two highly publicized lawsuits in 2014, one with Dr. Phil, alleging that the center “maintained a prison-like environment where physical and psychological torture were used against students”, which were subsequently dismissed.
Several former residents of the center claimed in 2012 that they had received inadequate medical care during their time there, and that they had been subjected to solitary confinement and other harsh physical and psychological treatment.
In 2007, the disappearance of a 15-year-old resident made headlines after she made a short-lived attempt to escape the facility. After her parents returned her to Island View, the girl says she was punished for running away by being put in isolation for 58 days.
In 2004, a 16-year-old boy hung himself in a bathroom at Island View. The staff were unsuccessful in reviving him. Island View was cited for providing inadequate medical care to the child, placed on probation, and required to submit a plan of corrective action.
In 2002, a former resident filed a $135 million lawsuit against her father in part for having her admitted to Island View where she says she was traumatized.
Many former residents have also reported that sedatives were given at Island View to quell disobedience.
The local Syracuse Police Department has responded to 219 emergency calls at the facility’s address between January 2005 and October 2020. Many of the calls have been related to abuse, sex offenses or suicide attempts.
Breaking Code Silence
Former Island View RTC and Elevations residents, including Island View alumni actor Misha Osherovich, attended a rally held by Paris Hilton in protest of alleged abuse at Provo Canyon School and programs for at-risk youth, and spoke out about the abuse they claimed occurred. Elevation’s clinical director, Jordan Killpack, is a former Provo Canyon School therapist.
“Freaky” star Osherovich described in Them about their experience at Island View. Osherovich likened what the facility did to conversion therapy. Osherovich tweeted their support for the Breaking Code Silence movement. The American Bar Association hosted a panel with Osherovich, Hilton, Senator Sara Gelser, and the mother of a former Island View RTC resident, which explored youth being funneled into prison-like “behavior modification” centers under the guise of treatment and conversion therapy.
Other alumni have come forward alleging abuse as part of the Breaking Code Silence movement. The former students describe being held in seclusion rooms, sleep deprivation, attack therapy, and being drugged with psychotropics, amongst other things.
They officially closed its doors as of April 25th, 2014.