Teen Escort Company
Teen escort company also called a youth transport firm is a term used in the United States and Denmark to describe a firm that specializes in escorting teenagers from their home to various facilities.
As an option of transport, parents in the United States are able to hire teen escort companies to transport their children from home to teen residential programs, wilderness therapy programs, boarding schools, boot camps and behavior modification programs.
The contract between the escort company and the parents include temporarily assigning parental rights and authority to the company for the duration of the transport from point A and point B. Though there are some escort companies that are legitimate and that do not abuse children, there are those that use less than appropriate tactics. The business is unregulated in the U.S. <Ref>Teen escorting as a safety precaution, Caica, referral organization</Ref>.
Until recently such companies did not exist in Europe due to stricter child protection laws.
Due to a cutback in social services, these firms first began to appear a couple of years ago. Unlike the American firms they aren't allowed to use stun guns and pepper spay due to stricter weapon laws, but unlike the social services, they may use mechanical restraints as they do no have to answer to the law about the use of force against minors.<Ref>Private virksomheder redder unge fra bander (Private firms recue youth from ang envirnment), by Caper Dall, Mrten Frch and Søs Lykke Sloth, Berlingske Tidende, March 24 2008 </Ref><Ref>Kapitel 21, Magtanvendelse, Børn og unge (Chapter 21, Use of force, juveniles)], Service law, law number 764 of 08/26/2003 </Ref> However the existence of these firms has met opposition in the Danish parliament.<Ref>S vil have SSP-lov (The Danish Social Democrates wants new SSP-law), by Casper Dall og Morten Frich, Berlingske Tidende, March 24 2008 </Ref>
Arguments for the use of escort firms[redigér]
The decision to use a teen escort company in the first place can often be stressful for the parents; the use of the service should either reduce or eliminate the worry about their children at least until the child returns home, decides to emancipate themselves, or reaches the age of majority.
Parents may use a transport service if they believe their child needs the help of an out-of-the-home treatment facility, that the child will not willingly travel there with their parents. Some programs offer teen escort as a package deal which include pick-up of the child to ease the stress.
- The service inquiring about the child's issues, and also about their interests and hobbies, and favorite foods, to establish a rapport with the child and to try to make the journey as non-confrontational as possible.
- When possible, making the pickup in the night or early morning hours, to take advantage of initial disorientation and to minimize confrontation and flight risk
- Introducing the child to the escorts, then leaving the area, or even the home, once the introductions are made and quick goodbyes are said.
- Reputable services will use a maximum of patience, firmness, and respect, combined with the (unspoken) intimidation factor of two large adults, to obtain compliance whenever possible (see below for reported abuses)
- In some cases, once they are in the car the child (or children) are given a letter from parents telling the child how much they love the child and that they are doing this for their own good
- Some services will also obtain information and literature on the destination program in order to provide it to the child and less the anxiety concerning the destination.
- Update phone calls to the parents during the transport, and upon arrival at the destination.
Risk of the use of escort firms[redigér]
The typical procedure kids have reported being followed by aggressive and sometimes abusive escort companies include:
- If the parents are allowed to wake the child themselves and introduce the child to the escorts, they have to leave the room when they have done that, so they don't become unwilling witness to the confrontation and fight between escort employees and the child.
- If the child resists they are shown handcuffs, pepper spray, or sometimes both, and are then told they can do this the easy way or the hard way. However, some companies has a security policy of using handcuffs in every case regardless of the behavior of the child <Ref>(3) Are restraints used during the intervention and transport process?, Touchdown Inc.</Ref>
- Many children have reported they were handcuffed and/or pepper sprayed when they resisted or cried <Ref>Taking Nature's Cure, Do expensive wilderness therapy camps help or hurt troubled teens?, By Betsy Carpenter, US News and world report, 6/18/95</Ref>.
A common slang expression for the use of this kind of service is "Goober-napping" <Ref>Inside The Academy, by Vic Vela, Canon City Daily Record, March 7 2007 (reprint from Coalition against institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA), referral company)</Ref>.
- Info: WANT YOUR KID TO DISAPPEAR?, by Nadya Labi, Legal Affairs, July 2004
- Info: Teen Escort service members charged with assault, News10, march 2004
- Info: Is teen escorting a kind of abduction?, Caica, referral organization
- Info: Teen escorting as a safety precaution, Caica, referral organization
- Info: H.R. 1738: End Institutionalized Abuse Against Children Act of 2005, George Miller's (D-CA) bill, April 2005
- Info: Troubled teens hauled off to foreign discipline camps, The Associated Press, June 13, 1999, By Michael Ray Oritz, transcript on project Nospank)
- Info: The Exploitation of Youth and Families in the Name of “Specialty Schooling:” What Counts as Sufficient Data? What are Psychologists to Do? by Allison Pinto, Robert M. Friedman, and Monica Epstein, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. American Psychological Association, CYF Newsletter, Summer 2005 (file dated 9/28/2005). Page 3.