Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC)

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Current status Open
Detainees.gif Capacity ?
Checked April 16, 2011
Open.gif Opened 1999

Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC) is a behavior modification program marketed as a drug rehabilitation program.

It is based on the program philosophy as used by Straight, Incorparated

It was found around 1999 [1]

Program structure

Drug and alcohol abuse treatment facility. AARC claims to be a day program utilizing volunteer host recovery homes. Recovery homes are the homes of clients in Level 2 and beyond. Newcomers are the direct responsibility of the oldcomer clients. Oldcomer parents only supervise newcomers if the oldcomer client is dealing with a problem with another newcomer.

Level system

The program consist of 4 Level/stages during the programs and a fifth aftercare level

Level Description
1 Newcomer - no contact with parents, unless earned "talks". Reside at Host Recovery Homes under the control of oldcomer clients. All areas of life controlled, movement, speech, no reading other than material provided by AARC.
2 Homecoming, oldcomer training week, oldcomer brings newcomers home and are directly responsible for newcomers, regardless of the circumstances.
3 Can return to AARC school/work
4 Continue in school, slight more freedom, much more responsibility
5 When they reach the fift level they graduate and move to aftercare
While they live on their own or at their original family and can work or study as they like, certain tasks are expected from them:
- to continue to attend meetings through the Alumni at private residences
- "Give back" by becoming a peer counselor
- continue with the AARC belief system, continue to give back and stay in good standing

If they don't remain committed to the expectations, they are cut off from the aftercare system.

Daily Schedule

Up at 6am. First rap starts at 8am. Rap sessions all day long.

Weekday Duration
Monday 8am - past 7:30pm
Tuesday 8am - past 11:30pm
Wednesday 8am - past 7:30pm
Thursday 8am - past 7:30pm
Friday 8am - as late as 3am (Whenever the open meeting is over)
Saturday 10:30am - past 7:30pm
Sunday is spent in the Host Recovery Home with oldcomer and oldcomer's family


Communication with parents / other

  • No private communication with parents until homecoming.
  • No eye contact.
  • Client earns "talks" - A meeting with parents includes newcomer, newcomers family, oldcomer, oldcomers family. Client tells parents an instance of drug/alcohol use. Oldcomer "relates" and tells a similar story. Parent/siblings hug clients say "I love you" and the meeting is over.
  • On graduation nights client may have "free talk" with parents to discuss other things. Very strained communication as it is strictly supervised by the oldcomer. If the conversation veers in a direction not acceptable to the oldcomer the meeting is ended and the client is taken away. Unacceptable conversation includes: the date, current affairs, what the client does all day, requests by the client to their parents for anything.
  • Letters are opened, read, and kept by staff. Clients do not get their mail until the 4th level at which point they are given directly to the client.
  • Phone use restricted until further in the program and then to call other oldcomers.
  • Suggestions given to parents from program on communication (Dont trust, manipulation etc...)
  • Parents are told their children are manipulative little liars, parents are told not to trust their children. Their children are bad, they have hurt them and they will lie about abuse or anything to try to get out of the center. The parents are told there is no communication allowed because parents are weak and may believe their child even though the child will lie.
  • Parents are told to ignore the process of their child's treatment and to "work their own program". Parents are told they are more sick than the client child, and need to focus on their own treatment.


AARC has a school, with 2 Calgary Board of Education employees. Clients do not attend the school until reaching level 3.

Accredited as a "Community Based Program" through the Canadian Accreditation Council on Human Services.

  • COULD be accredited as a day program for drug treatment, but didn't meet the standards.
  • COULD be accredited as a residential treatment facility, but didn't meet the standards.

Program has a registered nurse - states this nurse has an "addictions certificate". Nurse is the mother of a former client.

Legitimate government agency such as local board of education or regional accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education diploma mill - which mill?

Executive Director Dr. F. Dean Vause obtained PhD. from the Union Institute. Same as Virgil Miller Newton.

Staff Qualifications and training

All staff not including clinical counselors and peer counselors are former clients or parents of former clients.

In the news

February 2009 CBC fifth estate broadcasted a program about AARC, which gave accounts of abuse against former participants in the program [2]

The television program made politicians aware that something needed to be investigated [3]

A protest against the program were scheduled to June 4, 2009 [4]

External Links

Info pages

Groups on community networks

Message boards