Shut down the abusive Provo Canyon School

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Provo Canyon School in Utah has a horrific legacy of abuse and mistreatment toward the youth they claim to be supporting. It’s time to shut the school down to ensure the safety of the children at this school now and prevent future generations of survivors. 

After years of suffering silently, Paris Hilton opens up in her YouTube documentary This is Paris about the institutional child abuse she suffered as a teenager at Provo Canyon School (PCS), a notorious residential treatment center in Utah that still operates today. The abuse she suffered which includes but is not limited to a forceful escort in the middle of the night to the facility, solitary confinement, mandatory prescribed medication, and verbal abuse led to a lifetime of nightmares, PTSD, trust issues and more. 

Provo took away her childhood along with thousands of other survivors, as early as 9 years old. While this movement is so personal to Paris, it is much bigger than her experience so we urge you to help us make sure no more children suffer at the hands of this systemically abusive institution and the countless others whose doors are open today

Hundreds of teen treatment programs that operate under the guise of therapeutic boarding schools, behavior modification centers, wilderness programs and more operate today in the United States with no real oversight to protect the children’s human rights and safety. Despite policy and advocacy efforts over the past decade, reform has not happened and these facilities continue to profit off youth that deserve adequate and effective support services. 

In 2007, The Government Accountability Office found thousands of allegations of abuse as well as significant evidence of ineffective management and neglect which played a significant role in the deaths at these facilities. And in 2015, it was reported that 82% of these residential facilities were still actively using traumatizing tactics such as seclusion and restraints. In addition, violence and abuse are gravely underreported and there is a severe lack of national data which makes it difficult for families to make informed admission decisions as they get manipulated by the school’s deceptive marketing tactics.

And don’t be fooled - although Provo changed ownership in 2000 and refuses to take responsibility or comment on operations and patient experience prior to that time, police records and patient testimonies prove that these actions and experiences still persist today. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that there have been 341 investigations into Provo by the Utah Department of Licensing in the last 5 years and only 27 of those investigations were substantiated. And yet, PCS nor their owner, Universal Health Services, have been held accountable. This facility stands both as a keystone and major influence in this corrupt industry, and it's closure would not only be highly symbolic but help to shift attitudes about child treatment programs as a whole. Holding the industry accountable for the very existence of a program like PCS would help to create a chain reaction of similar accountability across the country.

The documentary is shining a bright light on the efforts of advocacy organizations that have been working to reform this industry for decades. We are working with these organizations on a comprehensive strategic plan and putting together a task force of leaders in the advocacy, political, psychology, and legal fields. While we don’t have all the answers yet, Paris has dedicated herself to working with the other survivors for as long as it takes to raise mass critical awareness, encourage others to share their stories, federally reform these schools to prevent future abuses and require all such facilities to provide qualified, professional, evidence-based treatment for youth

This is just the beginning.

So join us, and stand against institutionalized abuse alongside the survivors. With your support, we will address this national crisis as a community and work to enact measurable change to ensure no child experiences physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the hands of these facilities. To survivors and supporters, let’s prove that our community is stronger than these “treatment” centers. Share your stories, letting each other know #ISeeYouSurvivor as we together aim at #BreakingCodeSilence by uniting with Paris to shut down Provo Canyon School and prevent future generations of survivors.


Paris wants to hear from you. If you were a survivor, family member, or employee at one of these facilities please fill out this form with your experience and any pertinent information you may have.   

Feel free to email with any questions or feedback as well.