February 1, 2002
Mr. Hardy Myers, Attorney General
Attorney General’s Office
1162 Court Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97310
RE: Obsidian Trails-Bend, Oregon
Dear Attorney General Myers;
Wednesday evening we received a very disturbing phone call from the Deschutes Service for Children and Families (SCF) regarding Obsidian
Trails (OT) and how they are treating the children placed in their care. The woman we spoke with implied that OT was not caring for
the children and that the program was under investigation. She spoke about lack of hygiene and the weather conditions the children were
living in. She specifically used words and phrases that were meant to scare us. She made statements that made us wonder what SCF’s motives
The SCF representative explained that they were going to interview the children. I am not sure what they expect to hear. These are children
that are there for a reason, and I would wager that none of them are there by choice. For most of these children, including our son,
this is their last chance to turn their lives around. Like my son, they lie, manipulate people, are disrespectful, lazy, cheat, etc.
Who among them would say they are having a great time and want to stay? Who among them is willing to admit why they are there? Or, is
SCF interviewing them because they may say what SCF wants to hear in order to validate their desire to shut OT down? SCF’s accusations
Our son is at a critical point in his life. In spite of the years of counseling, tutors and home monitoring, he continued to lie, argue
with and manipulate people. He flunked out of school, smoked and drank. He refused to get a job or to help with family chores. He is
16 years old and almost out of time. Even his psychologist agreed that he was headed for a dismal future if something drastic was not
After months of research and phone calls, we chose Obsidian Trails. We spoke to references, both parents and the children that attended
OT. None of them said the program was easy. All of them said it made a positive change in their child. One child told us that it was
the hardest thing he had ever done, but he knew that OT saved his life. Is SCF going to interview him and the others that have successfully
completed the program? I would wager not. Their information will not support SCF’s motives.
Sending Cameron to OT was not a decision we took lightly. Cameron is our only child and the most valuable thing we have. Living in Ohio,
we wanted to make sure that he was in a program that reported to us regularly about his progress as well as the activities in the field.
OT makes it a point to contact the parents several times a week to keep them updated on their child’s progress. OT had informed us of
the frostbite and the appendicitis in their report several days before SCF contacted us.
Cameron entered OT on December 17, 2001. He has struggled for several weeks and is just now beginning to accept responsibility for his
actions and acknowledge the changes he must make to become a viable member of society. To interrupt his treatment now would be disastrous.
Does the SCF care what happens to him if they close OT? Will SCF have follow up interviews with him? Probably not.
We firmly believe that Obsidian Trails is a remarkable program that successfully turns a child’s life around. We, like other parents
involved in the program, are beginning to see our children progress. The time hard work and love the Obsidian Trail staff have invested
in our children is making that progress possible. We do not want to see it stopped and our children cannot afford to have it stopped.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 614-889-8573.
Ken & Beth Stalnaker