In April 2019, a riot at a southern Utah youth residential treatment center spilled out onto the street. Fifty police officers, some outfitted in SWAT gear and AR-15s, responded to chaos that left kids and staff members hurt. After the riot, I examined the facility and found a troubling prevalence of staff assaulting and belittling teens they were supposed to help.
I’ve spent more than three years investigating the teen treatment industry in Utah, where more than 20,000 kids from across the country have been sent for help since 2015.
If you’re a subscriber, you’ve likely seen my articles and the impact the reporting has had on Utah policy. This is information that’s not just critical for Utahns — but for the communities where those tens of thousands of young people come from. They should know whether Utah authorities are ensuring that their children are being kept safe.
Following years of Tribune reporting and the passage of a law to strengthen regulations, state inspectors are looking more closely than ever before at teen treatment programs. They’re finding more violations, and recently handed down sanctions to multiple Utah programs in a single week.
This reporting has made a real difference, and it couldn’t be done without the support of our subscribers. We can’t continue this important work without you.
This year, we partnered with KUER and APM Reports and took this work to a wider, national audience through our podcast, “Sent Away.” It tells the story of Utah’s repeated failures to hold programs accountable when teenagers have been hurt.
This type of deep investigative work and innovative partnerships would simply not have been possible without Tribune subscribers and donors. Please consider continuing your donation so I can continue this important reporting.