New Leaf Academy

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New Leaf Academy is the name two behavior modification facilities placed on 2075 N. Rugby Rd., Hendersonville, North Carolina and Bear Creek Road, Bend, Oregon [1] [2]

The facility in Oregon was founded in 1997 and can detained 63 girls. The facility in North Carolina was founded in 2005 and can detain 50 girls.

It is a program targeted for girls, who are between 10 and 14 when they are enrolled. The main aspect of the treatment is isolation. First homevisit is after a year and communication with the local social network is strictly controlled by the custodial parent [3]. The length of the program is 20-24 month, but it is based on individual performance so stays up to 30 months have been reported [4]. The strict control on communication means that the facility often is used as a tool to secure loyalty toward the custodial parent in case of a divorce [5].

Program description

Personal development

The program consist of three levels called StarStep. The facility claims that the program is based on the work of the criticized German developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Homburger Erikson (1902 - 1994).

Sun step is where the detainee are forced to accept boundaries and rules, assessing strengths and weaknesses, relating well with the other detainees, and being of service to others. Communication is very limited. The detainee can phone the custodial parent once a week. Communication by letter is the only other method allowed.

Moon step is about teaching skills of friendship, healthy self-expression, and becoming responsible for their behavior. They learns how and why they makes choices, the real consequences of those choices and the behavior that follows. The detainee are taught that they is still a children and that it is appropriate that adults are in charge of major decisions in their life. They learn that structure and rules benefit them [6].

Star step is reached when the detainee accepts the lessons learned during the two previous levels. The detainee has to visit her home every six week as a kind of probation where the staff and the parents - taking the roles of a probation officer - can evaluate when the child is ready to graduate.

Each step is expected to take no shorter than six months. During a typical week there are two to three group therapy sessions and also individual session in order to evaluate the progress through the StarStep system. Also a lot of times are labeled "Quiet-time" intended for self-reflection, writing, and introspection.

Living conditions

The detainees lives in a bedroom with connecting bath which is share with three to five girls. A "Room head" detainee from the upper level acts as a houseparent. They have to clean the room and bathroom themselves.

Parental involvement

The custodial parents have to participate in education Seminars twice a year, and on-site family Counseling six times per year.


The facilities are not accredited by the United States Department of Education.

Instead the Oregon facility is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. It is a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).

The North Carolina facility is accredited by the North Carolina Non-Public Schools Association and is in the progress of being licensed for special educationthrough the Department of Public Education/Special Needs Division.

External links

Info pages

Survivor groups

Message boards

Watch organization status