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News & Views - Oct, 1993 Issue #24 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A TRANSPORT AGENCY
Joey Dusina, WEST SHIELD ADOLESCENT SERVICES
Newport Beach, California
800-899-8585

Your child is a person who may be having troubles or confusion. This may require you to get him or her some residential professional help. But, when you cannot get your child to the school or program of your choice on your own, there are some excellent transport companies that can help you. Unfortunately, along with the good ones there are some bad ones. Here are a few suggestions to make your choice a wise one.

1. Find out the type of education and ongoing training the transport company requires of the agents. It is necessary to keep educated on current approaches for the different disorders that may arise and the pertinent laws of the various states. This knowledge is necessary to increase the chances of the transport being a positive experience and to avoid legal pitfalls.

2. How long have they been doing adolescent transports, number of transports, and success rate? You need to know the experience level of the company. Knowing this can help you to determine their competency in whatever may arise in your particular situation.

3. Do they use restraints, and if so, why and how often? A good transport company uses mental powers rather than physical powers. Some agencies treat children as if they were criminals instead of troubled youths. These children do need counseling, but need to be put in the right frame of mind to go to the facility with an open mind. If at all possible, the children need to look at this as a positive event that will enable them to become individuals who can make good decisions for their future. Treating them as criminals during the transport can easily create more trauma for everyone involved, as well as reduce the potential effectiveness of the school or program.

4. How many trained staff? The variety of staff members allows the company flexibility. After doing a psychological and physical profile on the child, the company can determine the agent or agents who can best work with the child during the transport.

5. What other services can they provide? Some agencies can locate runaway children, some can hold children for a few days until the school or program is ready for them, some have private airplanes at their disposal and others have undercover agents to infiltrate various segments of society. These are all important items that may be required in handling your situation.

6. What is their availability? Being in a crisis situation, you need to know the agency's hours of operations and ease of availability.

7. Ask for references and letters from other parents. These items should be readily available to you.

8. Use your gut instinct. Is the transport company really involved in helping your child, or is it primarily after the money? Go with your instinct, and with the facts that you have gathered so you can make a good educated decision.

Copyright 1993, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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