Northwestern Academy marks 10th anniversary

Oct 24, 2008 Full story: The News Item 222

"Making a dream come true." That was the unofficial theme of Thursday's ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the founding of Northwestern Academy, a juvenile justice rehabilitative facility in the ...

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Blondie

Southampton, PA

#1 Jan 3, 2009
"making a dream come true" Has anyone actually been there? Don't believe everything you read. These guys torment the kids up there. They push them ,shove them , hit them ,spit at them , call them names, they are mortified and humiliated. Is this what we think a form of punishment is for juveniles ? These kids need guidance , love and understanding. Not humiliation. trust me I have been there visiting , theses guys who are in charge are horrible representatives of what our judicial system portrays. They tell parents that they are well taken care of up there, they have 15 mins to eat, and they have to eat everything or they are punished, move there bowels in 10 minutes or they are subjected to a beating or what ever they feel is justified in there eyes. shower 10 minutes or they are punished in what ever form deemed good in theses so called OFFICERS
eyes.Whatever you do I hope your kid doesn't wind up there its awful. These kids are supposingly being disciplined and getting help......NONE OF THIS IS GOING ON UP THERE!!!!!!!! This place makes no dreams come true..Not for the juveniles or the parents!You leave there feeling like you are going to throw up.
soitis

West Chester, PA

#2 Jan 4, 2009
Blondie wrote:
"making a dream come true" Has anyone actually been there? Don't believe everything you read. These guys torment the kids up there. They push them ,shove them , hit them ,spit at them , call them names, they are mortified and humiliated. Is this what we think a form of punishment is for juveniles ? These kids need guidance , love and understanding. Not humiliation. trust me I have been there visiting , theses guys who are in charge are horrible representatives of what our judicial system portrays. They tell parents that they are well taken care of up there, they have 15 mins to eat, and they have to eat everything or they are punished, move there bowels in 10 minutes or they are subjected to a beating or what ever they feel is justified in there eyes. shower 10 minutes or they are punished in what ever form deemed good in theses so called OFFICERS
eyes.Whatever you do I hope your kid doesn't wind up there its awful. These kids are supposingly being disciplined and getting help......NONE OF THIS IS GOING ON UP THERE!!!!!!!! This place makes no dreams come true..Not for the juveniles or the parents!You leave there feeling like you are going to throw up.
My daughter is there at Building Bridges. We just saw her yesterday. In what facility is the person you visited? Northwestern Acad. for Boys or the Boot Camp or Residential for Boys of Building Bridges? I hope and pray that they arent mistreating them as you say.
Lynn

Paoli, PA

#3 Mar 5, 2009
My daughter just went to Building Bridges as well. She just got up there. I hope the female program is better than the male program. The last thing my family needs is to have her subjected to cruelty and scarring for life. I know that she will be getting outpatient help as well - the counselor called me today so I would hope and pray if anything does go on, it would be caught immediately. I am happy that she didn't get sent to one of the secure facilities......the whole system doesn't make sense to me. Parents just can't seem to win anymore. You aren't allowed to discipline them or you get into trouble and if you don't discipline them, they take them away from you....and pretty much tell you that had they had discipline, they wouldn't be going away. I feel very bad for the kids today. I just hope and pray no one ever has to go through what I had to go through.
soitis

Philadelphia, PA

#4 Mar 8, 2009
Lynn wrote:
My daughter just went to Building Bridges as well. She just got up there. I hope the female program is better than the male program. The last thing my family needs is to have her subjected to cruelty and scarring for life. I know that she will be getting outpatient help as well - the counselor called me today so I would hope and pray if anything does go on, it would be caught immediately. I am happy that she didn't get sent to one of the secure facilities......the whole system doesn't make sense to me. Parents just can't seem to win anymore. You aren't allowed to discipline them or you get into trouble and if you don't discipline them, they take them away from you....and pretty much tell you that had they had discipline, they wouldn't be going away. I feel very bad for the kids today. I just hope and pray no one ever has to go through what I had to go through.
I hope and pray your daughter will be fine..ours is doing extremely well, better than we could have ever hoped. The Building Bridges program has changed her so much for the better. I am not sure what you went through with your daughter, but I can certainly relate when you say "you hope no one goes through what you went through". We were in the same position with our daughter before she went to building bridges and it was the saddest time of our life. Her behavior was so unpredictable and lifestyle so dangerous. Don't worry, your daughter will be fine there. Prayers and Building Bridges truly saved our daughters life. And I know it will save your daughter's life as well. God bless you and your family. Trust me I know how you are feeling.
Crazy8

Verona, NJ

#5 Mar 13, 2009
I don't know much about the girls facility, however, I wouldn't be shocked if abuse was reported there as well. Residential facilities, no matter what title they go under, are full of abuse. We, the parents and families, must remain their advocates. If you suspect something is wrong, it probably is. Trust your child and be weary of "counselors" and even "supervisors." They are smart enough to know regulations and how to protect themselves. Document all conversations and interactions with staff at these facilities, you never know when you may need it. Also, do some general google searches on these programs and programs like them, you'll be shocked to see the amount of substantiated abuse.
Dylan Ranney

Swiftwater, PA

#6 Apr 23, 2009
Yes everything u hear about north western is pretty much much true i went there, abot six months ago and was in the v-core program... it's horrible i hated every second of it, they make fun of u hit u push, they tell u to do something but they no ur not allowed to do it just so they can say they were scared s they can throw u down and make themselves feel tuff, well i wish luck to all the familys tht go there
shadedflower

Tyrone, PA

#7 Jun 17, 2009
In researching the Northwest Bootcamp, I came across this forum...is this the same bootcamp near Danville, Pa. in Northumberland County? My son will be heading there tomorrow and I was trying to find out information on what all goes on there. After reading these posts, I'm scared to death for him.

Who runs this place? Are they military drill instructors? They hit these kids? Push, spit on them? Throw them around??? My son is hardly a criminal, a good kid that makes bad choices. I don't know as the poor kid's going to make it there from what I'm reading. Sounds like he's going to come home 10 times worse and learn how to treat people like he was treated. Gee, do kids DIE in these places??? I've seen horror stories on tv about boot camps and suddenly don't feel very good about any of this.

And what about his meds, or don't they care much about stuff like that? Well, God bless all those who were there before him and all who will come after him. If this is where the law's sending him, I'll be praying every minute that he stays sane to get through along with everyone else that's going through it with him.

I guess I can pretty much expect that they're going to tell me tomorrow, or whenever I get to actually connect with someone there, that they are successful and will treat my child with dignity and respect and all that other pacifying jargon and I should BASICALLY CONSIDER IT ALL LIES??? And am I going to recognize my son when he gets out, or is going to be a shell of his former self???? If you've been in there, would you say you "learned your lesson" there? God help us all.
NHS is Hell

Wilkes Barre, PA

#8 Jun 29, 2009
I do not know about building bridges, but the boys are treated just fine.

A new director was hired over a year ago and he didn't do anything but sit in his office and drink coffee, as well as play golf with a few of his buddies in NHS. He had a 'hug a thug' mentality and these boys were getting away with murder. Staff members had to constantly worry over their own health and well being, one staff member was nearly killed as he was beat in the head with his flashlight. All hill assists were the norm and many female staff members were hit in the face with chairs and various objects. Once again, this director never did anything about it until the powers that be decided to place him with the pedophiles.

One of the problems with NHS is that there are a lot of corrupt employees and corrupt supervisors. If you are hired and they do not like you, they will spread lies around and try to get you fired. 95% of the good employees end up leaving within the first year or so after NHS drags them through the mud.

Now I will not lie, I know that when a child goes AWOL, the child will usually end up bruised and hurt. They will do whatever means necessary to catch the runner, even using the excuse "He smashed his head against a rock." if you know what I mean.

Aside from that, the kids are treated a lot better than they deserve.
dont know

Quakertown, PA

#9 Sep 6, 2009
I was in building bridges in 05-06 and my brother was in the boot camp in 04-05. it is nothing like that. my brother never got beat or hit and abused at all. of course he didnt like it and the drill instructors got loud but that is part of boot camp it isnt just a facility this is to knock sense into these kids. obviously a group home wasnt good enough for them. building bridges had only been open for a yr or so when i got there. i hated it cuz i was a kid who just wanted to act out. girls used to make up stories all the time. its been 3 yrs. and i still talk to some of the staff. they helped me and I appreciate the help. i might not have then but i have matured. some of the staff dont belong there but for the most part alot of them are just there to help.alot have been through the same troubles we have as children.
No Name

Chester Springs, PA

#10 Oct 3, 2009
I wouldn't believe anything you hear from this place. I spent 14 months of my life in Northwestern Academy Secure and open sides. In my eyes, the place is run all for a "paycheck" and will do anything to make their pockets fatter. We never had to clean the buildings or anything until county tours or "higher up" people came. Then they would make us spend almost 12 hours on our hands and knees making sure their place looked "presentable" for them and the tour. They put almost every kid on exessive medication so they are like walking zombies throught the day. Whenever we try to speak up on our rights, they disciplince you, hold meetings with you and your family and probation and basically lie to their faces. It is all very corrupt in my eyes. and yes, an inmate died when i was there. I was in the same room when he said his last goodbye to his father 1 day before he died. and apparently he died from to much medication in his system. I pray no one has to go through what I and others have up there. It is truely a living hell
dont know

Quakertown, PA

#11 Oct 4, 2009
No Name wrote:
I wouldn't believe anything you hear from this place. I spent 14 months of my life in Northwestern Academy Secure and open sides. In my eyes, the place is run all for a "paycheck" and will do anything to make their pockets fatter. We never had to clean the buildings or anything until county tours or "higher up" people came. Then they would make us spend almost 12 hours on our hands and knees making sure their place looked "presentable" for them and the tour. They put almost every kid on exessive medication so they are like walking zombies throught the day. Whenever we try to speak up on our rights, they disciplince you, hold meetings with you and your family and probation and basically lie to their faces. It is all very corrupt in my eyes. and yes, an inmate died when i was there. I was in the same room when he said his last goodbye to his father 1 day before he died. and apparently he died from to much medication in his system. I pray no one has to go through what I and others have up there. It is truely a living hell
I was there when that happened and I do believe if was from too many meds. I never thought of that place to be that bad though compared to some places I have been in. I understand where you are comin from because I was on alot of medication too and I think that might be why I acted out the way I did at times. Alot of things happened while I was there. I was in the girls part in Building Bridges and you probably heard stories about up there. I regret causing drama while I was there but sometimes I think if they would have paid better attention I wouldnt have been able to get away with it. I overdosed on my medication while I was there.( my own choose) I cheeked my meds for several days and eventually took them all together. If they were to pay more attention to detail I wouldnt have been ably to do that. They had an ambulance there and rushed me to the hospital and I was in intensive care for about a week. I dont know if you heard bout that but it was true. I also ran away from there. I do believe that some of the people are there to help better you. but then alot of the good staff get fired for working against the rules to help.
Brandon

Trenton, NJ

#12 Oct 6, 2009
yea it's awful i was there for about 2 months and there was a kid who had a hip problome and because he refused to get on his knee's and scrub the floor because of his hip they made the whole unit get into a circle and the staff slammed him on the ground and cursed at him and said scrub and then the staff dipped hi in the mop bucket and dragged him on the floor
No Name

Chester Springs, PA

#13 Oct 12, 2009
yeah "DONT KNOW" i was there when building bridges was havning all those problems, but then again, so was every other building. and Brandon, what you described sounded more like what they would do when it first opened, What year where you there?
londonbridge

Coatesville, PA

#14 Oct 26, 2009
I have read all the commments and I hope my little nephew isn't gonna be mistreated...I will be viewing this log on a regular basis and if I feel he is in danger I will go to our Local state represenative for a follow up so please as you visit tell what you have experienced so that I will no what kind of place they the authorities have sent him to
londonbridge......
shadedflower

Philipsburg, PA

#15 Nov 2, 2009
My son finally was placed in Northwestern on 10/22/09. I did just currently read a newspaper article online, while researching the place, that a child was found dead in his bed in April of this year...was this the child that died due to overmedication? I am a nervous wreck about my son being there, although he is place in the CAS program. His counselor told me the bootcamp is no longer operational??? Is this true? He said it got shut down for 3 years for "something that occured there that was not their fault" and didn't elaborate any further. I also found a newspaper article about a child dying there while being restrained back in 2005 (I believe that's the year the article listed.) Doesn't make me feel too hopeful sometimes, 2 kids in 4 years IS NOT good odds in a mother's eyes, no matter what reason they give for these poor children's deaths.

So far, londonbridge, I cannot say anything bad about Northwestern from what I saw when visiting my son yesterday, but he's only been there 10 full days. He's lost some weight and is NOT the same kid that left home, but I'm going to observe his manner as time goes on to see if the change in his demeanor is from being there or what. I'll post here accordingly and update as to what I hear, see, etc., I am very concerned that he is going to benefit from all this, though in the mental health profession they will tell you that your child's success is only as great as his willingness to want to change. Which program is your nephew in there? I know they have a VCorp program still in place; there were boys with military style clothing on in the hall where we visited.

God bless all you children who have been there and will be placed there, and I will pray daily for all the children currently there, that they become changed, stronger children and that they are well cared for in the appropriate manner while they are there.

Hmmmmm, I see several mentions regarding medication posted above...I'll be keeping my eye on that, too. God bless you all, have a good day.
loved999

Reading, PA

#16 Nov 10, 2009
soitis wrote:
<quoted text>
My daughter is there at Building Bridges. We just saw her yesterday. In what facility is the person you visited? Northwestern Acad. for Boys or the Boot Camp or Residential for Boys of Building Bridges? I hope and pray that they arent mistreating them as you say.
all i can say is that i spend 11 months and 3 weeks up in B.B.
The staff are violent to the females up their , some of staff
up in B.B that are their to help your children but most of the staff
treat your kid like a bum out on the street. I did have ma favorites but
all out in the truth your kids are getting treated bad
and when you as the parent go up there and see your children
look at what is behind the staff lying and insource faces
because they know how to manipulate you into beliveing in them.

Thannk You...
loved999

Reading, PA

#17 Nov 10, 2009
No Name wrote:
I wouldn't believe anything you hear from this place. I spent 14 months of my life in Northwestern Academy Secure and open sides. In my eyes, the place is run all for a "paycheck" and will do anything to make their pockets fatter. We never had to clean the buildings or anything until county tours or "higher up" people came. Then they would make us spend almost 12 hours on our hands and knees making sure their place looked "presentable" for them and the tour. They put almost every kid on exessive medication so they are like walking zombies throught the day. Whenever we try to speak up on our rights, they disciplince you, hold meetings with you and your family and probation and basically lie to their faces. It is all very corrupt in my eyes. and yes, an inmate died when i was there. I was in the same room when he said his last goodbye to his father 1 day before he died. and apparently he died from to much medication in his system. I pray no one has to go through what I and others have up there. It is truely a living hell
Wow you is right dat funny because when you want to right agrevence on the staff your wrong
and with the Probation and C.Y.S workers it a hole lot of B.S excuez ma language..
But dont get me wrong the oppertunites that they gave me was for ma health but the way they treat them young adults and men also the young women.. No body shuld be treated like that
Boris bedinuff

Sunbury, PA

#18 Dec 15, 2009
Never trust ANY private juvenile facility. They are all full of incompetent, low life employees. Kids are miostreated and usualy get no real benefit from their time.
Kay

Bethlehem, PA

#19 Dec 22, 2009
loved999 wrote:
<quoted text>
all i can say is that i spend 11 months and 3 weeks up in B.B.
The staff are violent to the females up their , some of staff
up in B.B that are their to help your children but most of the staff
treat your kid like a bum out on the street. I did have ma favorites but
all out in the truth your kids are getting treated bad
and when you as the parent go up there and see your children
look at what is behind the staff lying and insource faces
because they know how to manipulate you into beliveing in them.
Thannk You...
I am getting very nervous as I am reading all of this. My son is going back to court tomorrow and is being sent to the vcore program. Now I am getting nervous as I read all of this and hear about the abuse. If I hear any word of this happening to my son, I will raise hell with any one that I have to.(our state Reps., the Dept. of Public Welfare, etc). This is the last thing my son needs. Discipline through means of routine and respect are one thing, but not through any means of abuse, whether it be physical, verbal, or mental!!
David98

Pottsville, PA

#20 Jan 23, 2010
A dream come true? How quaint...and cute.. if only it WERE true! That place is a nightmare. The way that it is run, quite honestly is a joke. Some of the supervisors are the biggest dipshits to walk the earth and some of the staff members are even bigger dipshits. Now this does not apply to all, but a good bit. I have been employed there for a short while and honestly, I do not think it will be much longer. The nonsense that you have to put up for the low rate of pay you get is almost criminal,(even with some of the staff I know with Bachelors Degrees from accredited universities). Some of these kids get away with murder and they have almost no respect for staff,(even some of the staff that do not have any qualms or chips on their shoulders with these kids) and in many cases, these kids do not even have much respect for themselves.
You get physically assaulted, cussed out, have things thrown at you, and get told you're going to get beat the fuck up for no reason. This is present in any detention type facility, but it's more and more apparent depending on your dorm. The training you receive is half assed and not adequate at all. These private detention centers do not offer the best treatment at all, and these kids are more then likely going to recidivate and end up back there, or in state prison anyhow. They do not have much fear, or concern for what may happen to them down the road. You can tell this by just watching the way some of these kids act, and what their attitude is like. And they then wonder why the turnover rate is so high? HAH! This type of behavior is to be expected in a job such as this, but the pay, compensation, and some of the training you receive is VERY inadequate.

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