Pathway Family Center

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Checked October 18, 2010 | }} Opened | }} 1993 | }} | }} Closed | }} 2009 | }}

Pathway Family Center was a drug treatment center for teens aged 13 to 18. It is based in Detroit. It worked on the basis of Straight,Inc., which was closed in 1993 due to the burden of lawsuits and allegations of abuse.

It was founded in 1993 by Helen Gowanny.

Based on a statement by an employee the drug treatment model was based on the model from Straight Inc, which closed down after lawsuits in 1993.

It shared techniques with Kids Helping Kids, which also had the same origins.

Around 2007-8 they opened a new department located on 425 Sand Creek, Chesterton Indiana.

Program structure[redigér]

Main Agenda[redigér]

The basics in the model were:

  • A five-phase model
  • Use of the old 12-step model
  • Confrontational therapy by peers
  • Putting clients into host "families"
  • Isolation from family
  • Isolation from society in general like school

Length of stay / Level system[redigér]

From the homepage of the treatment cult:

Pathway Family Center provides a residential-like treatment setting for adolescents from the ages of 13 to 21. The program addresses the developmental needs of adolescents and involves a client-focused, five-phase model
The 12-step model is used to educate each participant on utilizing the steps in their daily lives. The length of stay averages 12 to 14 months.

The five phase program was structured so teenagers, who are on higher levels control teenagers on lower levels.

Lower levels were not allowed to wear shoes.

Phase 1 2 3 4 5
Living conditions Lockdown Host family Host family Host family Host family
Wearing shoes No Yes Yes Yes Yes

The lockdown was known as the "Phaser room"


Some of the rules accordíng to an interview with a parent were <Ref>Interview with a pathway client, International Suvivors Action Committee, 2003</Ref>

  • Clients on lower level were not allowed to wear shoes due to the flight risk
  • Family were not allowed to talk with client alone in the process
  • Clients in lower levels were always followed by clients on higher levels.


<youtube v="X7Czw48JmEI" />

A former client and her mother had made complaints about the fact that the program left them in worse shape than before they started the treatment <Ref>Straight to Pathway - Teen drug program has troubled roots, NwiTimes, Januar 2007</Ref>.

International Survivor Action Comittee investigated the program and on their website they state that the program installed teenagers in foster homes, which had no license <Ref>International Survivor Action Comittee about Pathway Family Center</Ref>

A 2003 investigation by ISAC revealed that Pathway was placing children in host/foster homes even though they are not licensed by the state to do so.
"As a result of our investigation and subsequent report, Pathway Family Center was placed on probation by the Council on Accreditation (COA)."

It is mentioned in an article about the history of the behavior modification industry <Ref>Romney, Torture, and Teens, The former governor's connections to abusive "tough love" camps, by Maia Szalavitz, Reasons Online, June 27, 2007</Ref>

July 2008 survivors organized a peachful protest <Ref>Straight, Inc. and KHK survivors protest locally, by Media Release, The Cintinnati Beacon, July 15 2008</Ref> <ref>July 11, 2008 Pathway Family Center Protest in Milford Ohio</Ref>. This specific site has also used for protests when the facility was marketed under the name Kids Helping Kids in november 2007 <Ref>Protest coverage, Survivors of abusive programs</Ref> <Ref>Survivors Protest Kids Helping Kids, by The Dean of Cincinnati, The Cintinnati Beacon, December 2 2007</Ref>.

A petition was started in order to close it down <Ref>Sign Petition To Close Pathway Family Center (PFC) (MI, IN, & OH)!</Ref>.

July 2009 International Survivor Action Committee reported that Pathway had closed yet a facility <Ref>Pathway Family Center Closes Third Location, International Survivor Action Committee</Ref>. According to protesters they settled out of court with the landlord <Ref>PFC SETTLES OUT OF COURT, a thread on Fornits webforum</Ref>.

July 2009 is was reported that the last center was reported as shut down. The sentences on the webpage was changed to past tense <Ref>Controversial Treatment Center Shuts Down, by Hagit Limor, I-team report -], July 31 2009
I-TEAM report: Pathway Shuts Down, a thread on Fornits webforum</Ref>.

External links[redigér]

Info Pages[redigér]

Survivor Groups[redigér]

Message Boards[redigér]