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News & Views - Jun, 1996 Issue #40 

SPRING GET-TOGETHER
MINUTES SUMMARY
April 27, 1996
Albany, Oregon
Hosted by: Catherine Freer Wilderness, 541-926-7252
Sponsored by: Woodbury Reports, Inc., 208-267-5550

Lon Woodbury, Woodbury Reports, Inc., welcomed all in attendance and gave a brief introduction, explaining that the Get-Togethers are designed to share information and discuss among those in the industry new ideas, legislative and a variety of items. 

INTERNET/WORLD WIDE WEB. It was reported that the Woodbury Reports, Inc., homepage has been in operation since September 1995, with down time in April for upgrade. In that time period, there have been 5,000 accesses, which counts only those browsers who stay at the home page at least long enough to move through some of the pages. Lon reported that about 10% of the parents calling him for advice found him through the homepage. Most of the advertisers in the Woodbury Reports Newsletter report receiving inquiries from the exposure they received on the Woodbury Reports WEB Homepage. 

Darrell Lewis of Red Cliff advised their Homepage has been running for six months and have had approximately 2,000 accesses in that time with an average of about one inquiry per week. 

Bob Litchfield of Cross Creek advises their homepage began slow but seems to be picking up and believes it is coming along for the future. They have received a number of inquiries seeking more information to be sent by mail. 

Kathy Dearmin of CEDU stated they also have a site with the majority of accesses looking only to gather information. However, they just made their first enrollment from a Homepage referral. This occurred after a link was implemented from the Woodbury Reports Homepage, but didn't know if that had any relationship. 

GOVERNMENTAL ACTIONS. Lon introduced Tom Gregory of Rocky Top Academy. Tom handed out a synopsis of the situation at Rocky Top and related the incidences leading to the State of Montana closing the program and charges filed against Tom and other staff members. A defense fund has been set up Tom and Rocky Top by Ed Nagel and contributions are of course welcome. 

Lon introduced Dave Pitkin of Skyland Ranch. Dave gave a run down of events and dealings with Washington State DSHS. The State admitted the kids were not in danger. The program was shut down on items of compliance as existed in 1994. Those items were complied with, and still DSHS still overturned court rulings and closed the program down in December of 1995. Dave was so frustrated with DSHS and the uneven playing field that he has closed the program for those under 18 and now only accepts young people ages 18 and above where there is no State intervention. 

A point was made that in the 1970's there were many programs in existence in Washington State, but prior to Skyland closing, there were only two left in the State. In discussing the OK Boys Ranch fallout, the consensus was the State couldn't run a program and didn't want the private sector to be successful either. A point was made that a very big problem was that DSHS has immunity from prosecution. 

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ISCP) was discussed. Bob Litchfield of Cross Creek Manor in Utah gave a more uplifting report, a case of you can fight city hall and win. Bob related that all programs in the State of Utah received a letter the first of March 1996 advising that all programs must comply with the rules of ISCP and approvals must be gained from the State prior to any enrollment. The biggest concern with this ultimatum was that in past dealings with the State ISCP manager the approvals were usually always obtained but never came through until after the student had already been in the program and had left! Now they were asking for PRE APPROVAL!! 

Bob explained they then contacted programs in the State and inquired as to their interpretation of the new regulation and how they felt about it. Surprisingly only a few of them even knew it was about to be implemented. They then called a meeting. 15 programs attended, and they compiled information about the industry in the state: 1,000 adolescents being served, with 900 from out of state; 14 facilities grossed $24.5 million yearly; 1297 employees with gross incomes at $59 million; 6,000 family visits from out of state estimating at least $3 million in tourism. The group presented this information to the State and were able to work out a compromise, enabling the programs to accept the students, complete their paper work, and receive authorization at a later date. 

Bob explained what they found was that legislation was happening without the industry's knowledge. They have decided to form a State Association to address this problem and others. 

There was additional discussions of InterState Compact problems and solutions. One problem is the states are interpreting parents as agencies. The general consensus was that government should NOT have authority to intervene in parental decisions unless the child is under government custody. Diane Flaherty, educational consultant, encouraged the formation of an association of programs to effectively defend programs and protect rights as well as a marketing tool. There was a general consensus of the desirability of developing an umbrella association. 

NEXT GET-TOGETHER. Interest was expressed in having a Fall Get-Together. The consensus was to hold the next meeting in conjunction with the Utah group. Tentatively some time in October, probably in Salt Lake City. Cherlyne Majors of Provo Canyon and Bob Litchfield of Cross Creek tentatively believed that this could be worked out. The Woodbury Reports newsletter was offered as a means of disseminating information about details. 

Copyright 1996, 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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