Whisper Ridge Now Jefferson Trail

A public service announcement: Whisper Ridge, née Brown Schools, née Millmont Center, has changed their name again, presumably to escape their reputation, which is why they’ve done it every time before. They’re now The Jefferson Trail Treatment Center for Children. Every couple of years they’re caught for some sort of reprehensible abuse of the children in their care. (For examples, see any of these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.) For the record, I called this 21 months ago.

And as long as I’m reminding people about disreputable companies with new names, remember that Lethal Wrecker is now Cavalier Towing, a name that I only now realize is as intentionally ironic as their old name.

38 Responses to “Whisper Ridge Now Jefferson Trail”


  • well put! you crack me up :)

  • I noticed this yesterday when I was out for a lunchtime walk. I was thinking they could save money and print the next name change on the back of the sign, and when the time comes to change it again…it’s already there!

  • I always thought “whisper” was an odd choice for a word in the name of a facility that treats troubled youth. To me, in this context, “whisper” evokes “shame” and “gossip,” which I would think you would NOT want to evoke when you’re talking about troubled youth.

  • Thanks for the update. The Jefferson Trail Treatment Center for Children has a nice enough sound to it, evoking visions of peaceful trails through the woods. But now I know better.

  • They claimed the residents picked the name Whisper Ridge at one point, unfortunately there is another Whisper Ridge owned by the same company, Psychiatric Solutions in another state, or there was I should say, probably changed their name too….

    For more on Psychiatric Solutions and its problems all over the country, check out Pro Publica,Christina Jewitt did a great investigation of them. Sorry I don’t have the link at hand but you can google Pro Publica and it’s a great site for all kinds of news, grant funded investigative journalism.

  • It’s a privatized juvenile prison, as far as I can tell. The residents are low-income and have been sent there by the courts for committing crimes. Probably started as some worthy idea of “diversion” for mentally troubles teens criminal charges. And some unworthy idea that every state function which can be privatized should be.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but that is what I gather, from reading the news and talking to a few people who worked there. They had no psych or social work or teaching credentials and received zero training, by the way.

    I guess if you have money you get to go somewhere better. Thanks Judge!

    But maybe I am wrong.

  • No, it is not a privatized juvenile prison. Some kids go from CCCA to there and have no criminal records at all, in fact WR or JJT or whatever is not supposed to accept teens with a record of violent behavior under their license. They unfortunately do not follow the rules and at least in the past have continued to admit teens they are not supposed to admit, have not had the staff ratio they agreed to, have not done the training they are supposed to do of new staff, etc. But this is common in Psychiatric Solutions facilities, lack of staff, lack of monitoring, put any group of teens in a locked environment without supervision and mix kids with mental illness in with kids who have more let’s say complicated histories and you are going to have trouble.

    What all these teens have in common mostly is being wards of the state through their parents either losing custody or dying or whatever put them in Social Service’s care. In other states, parents pay good money to have their kids neglected by Psychiatric Solutions…. I don’t usually promote my blog as it is in bad taste, but if you go to it you will see the link to the Pro Publica article on Psychiatric Solutions and more on Whisper Ridge.

    you are correct that if these kids had parents with money in this state they would probably be in a nice non-profit residential facility with much better services and care–we have several in this area. Or they wouldn’t be out of their homes at all but getting help at home.

  • Thanks for the info. I guess we’re paying for this through Medicaid, not Justice. So even less money for health care as these sharks steal it. What do you want to bet the money is in an off-shore account, and nobody actually working there is getting a leg up into the middle class.

    By the way, my garbled typing was supposed to say “for mentally troubled teens facing criminal charges,” if it matters.

  • Hello–I am the NEW Dir. of Bus. Devel. at the NEW Jefferson Trail Treatment Center for Children. If anyone would like to have a tour of our facility and an in-depth visit and education about what really goes on at Jefferson Trail, please feel free to contact me at 434-566-7820 or our NEW CEO Brian Hemmert at 434-977-1621. We welcome any and all questions, observations, and inquiries. The best way to know what is really going on it to educate your self, and we are happy to open our doors to visitors who would like to form their own opinions. I look forward to speaking with you. Dr. Brenda Ratcliff

  • Does your new CEO own/run Liberty Point in Virginia also?

  • Can you please help me? I respect values such as free speech and the like, but I don’t recall a current crisis just prior to this name change. I am a critical thinker and I read and watch local news. I also talk to people in the community.

    In speaking with people in the community, I can tell you that you might be among the last of those who are bitter about this facility. There are apparently many new faces there and almost all new leadership. I am also hearing that they added new programs to meet unmet needs of VA.

    Is is possible this expansion of services is more likely the reason for the name change? I also agree with Cecil, “Whisper” is a horrible choice of words for a program that likely treats abused children. For that reason I am pleased they finally changed the name. Perhaps there really is no more “whispering” at 2101 Arlington Blvd. and just good transparent treatment going on. Lastly, to suggest that the name change was to avert some crisis, without telling us what that might have been, is irresponsible reporting.

  • http://www.propublica.org/feature/where-things-stand-troubles-with-private-mental-hospital-conglomerate-1231

    Pro Publica did an investigation of Psychiatric Solutions, the owner of Jefferson Trail/Whisper Ridge and has followed up since but the above is the best link with stories from families, lists of Psychiatric Solution owned facilities, descriptions of common problems in these PSI owned facilities etc. This is not a Charlottesville specific problem. I find Pro Publica, a non-profit investigative journalist group to be very responsible, as I have always found Waldo Jacquith to be also by the way….

  • Joseph, I suggest you read the linked news articles. Whisper Ridge’s name is mud. Again, I said in June of 2007 that that they’d change their name to escape their reputation, marking the fourth time that they’ve done that in the past eight years. And, of course, they’ve done it. So I see two possibilities here. The first is that a pattern has been established, and I was able to see as easily as anybody else what would come next for them. The second possibility is that I’m psychic.

    Which do you think is at work here, Joseph?

  • Do you see dead people Waldo? :)

  • What do I think? I think it is 2009 and not 2007. A lot can happen in two years. I also don’t think that makes you Nostradamus. I predict there will be a new restaurant opening in C-ville within the next two years.

    I did read the linked articles and it is very sad what had transpired there several years ago now. That said, I also read the local papers and I speak to social workers all over VA who report the place is different and is actually growing and expanding services to meet needs that were not met in VA in the past. I would ad that in your condescending and cynical reply you continue to fail to point me to a CURRENT article that would be the basis for the name change under your bitter and old theory.

  • http://www.propublica.org/special/map-problems-at-psi-facilities

    You will have to click on Virginia on the map and then don’t go to the other Whisper Ridge in Virginia, pick the Charlottesville one, go to the far right and you will see the judge upholding a very large fine against Whisper Ridge/C’ville version for providing inadequate treatment on 7/9/2008. The other links in Virginia are not several years ago either for the most part, nor are the current problems in other states in facilities run by the same compamy, Psychiatric Solutions.

    Social workers have a very hard job and have a hard time placing as many children and teens as they need to, Psychiatric Solutions may be less stringent in their screening of potential residents or they may not, but they were in the past, than other facilities that are not being fined. Just a guess.

    I feel almost as if I am reading promotional literature for Whisper Ridge/Jefferson Trail Joseph when I read your comments. How do you manage to talk to social workers all over Virginia? There are so many of them and I don’t think they have a lot of time to talk to random folks to give their opinion about Psychiatric Solution owned facilities?

  • I did take the time to actually read to propubica articles which I see are written with a bias against for-profit health care and solely with that framework (simplistic ideology: for profit bad, non-profit good). If it were true non-biased journalism it would reflect a comparative analysis of non-profit counterparts.

    In addition, if you google search terms such as “abuse in residential care” or even “deaths in residential care” you would see it happens with far more frequency in the for profit sector. Now I a not naive enough to suggest this proves that for profit is better and safer and I am not cold enough to suggest any abuse is okay.

    Moreover, and again, the articles do not reference any current problems at Whisper Ridge/Jefferson Trail. While I am not sure what line of work you are in, but the propublica information is not that there was poor treatment provided on 7/9/08, but that there was a medicaid fine levied and an appeal was started in October. Again, irresponsible and biased journalism with no follow up on the status of the appeal. Anyone who works in health care knows that medicaid (and any insurance or entitlement program today) is seeking to get back as much money as they can and this issue could be as myopic as WR/JT needing to submit treatment records to have the fine removed. I don’t really propose to know why or what happened with that because I could not find the status of the appeal anywhere, but medicaid wanting money back does not equate necessarily to bad treatment or abuse.

    If you feel more comfortable taking digs at me and suggesting I work for the marketing program at WR/JT, then to show me non-biased research or reporting, then I guess that is fine. To be clear, I am an LCSW in the state of VA and I have no affiliation with WR/JT or Psychiatric Solutions. I am not vested in weather they fail or succeed. I am, however, constantly trying to educate myself and make our field better and employ the basic tenants of critical thinking in all that I do. It is a habit that I was raised with (there are at least two sides to every story Joe) and was honed in graduate school.

  • Sometimes there are 12 sides to a story, sometimes there is only one, I would say this is the latter but you of course will think as you wish. I don’t think Pro Publica would appreciate your digs at them but I am not Pro Publica and do not work for them. As for me, I really don’t care what a stranger with no last name has to say about me :). Sorry to disappoint…….

  • My apologies, I had not considered that encouraging people to consider other possibilities and view points and to apply critical thinking over bitterness and bias was a dig.

    I almost did put a last name, but I considered this is the web and I am glad I didn’t; lest there be some blog about me created with false or misleading information.

  • A lot can happen in two years. I also don’t think that makes you Nostradamus. I predict there will be a new restaurant opening in C-ville within the next two years.

    I call bullshit. I made a very specific prediction. Your comparison is specious.

    I would ad that in your condescending and cynical reply you continue to fail to point me to a CURRENT article that would be the basis for the name change under your bitter and old theory.

    Joseph, it’s precisely the same company. This is their fourth reformation (in name only, clearly) after being publicly shamed. A company is a legal person. So lets pretend that this is a person. He raped somebody, went to prison, and was released. He molested somebody, went to prison, and was released again. Then he abducted somebody, went to prison, and was released again. What you’re telling us is “hey, it was two years since he was last convicted of something.” Is that a guy you’d pick up hitchhiking?

    There’s a point at which there’s no point in giving people—legal or actual—any further benefit of the doubt. Jefferson Trail long long ago reached that point.

    I almost did put a last name, but I considered this is the web and I am glad I didn’t; lest there be some blog about me created with false or misleading information.

    Your implication being that I’ve written something “false or misleading” here? Do me the favor of naming a single fact that I wrote in this blog entry that is false or misleading. While you’re at it, do us the additional favor of telling us whether you have any relationship—by blood or money—with Jefferson Trail, Psychiatric Solutions, or any of its immediate business associates. I’m pretty sure I know the answer.

  • Waldo dear, the very premise of your entire post and existence on this issue is a specious accusation and blatant assumption that they changed their name to avoid some trouble they found themselves in. When I asked for clarification on what currently has happened there at PRESENT to cause the name change and to genuinely seek clarification, I was attacked for even suggesting critical thinking. Then, as my case and point that you only see and read what you want into things, even after I pointedly and bluntly deny that I am in any way affiliated with the place, or with the parent company, you continue to ask and suggest that to the readers here. Your entire existence on here is both bitter and hostile I mean you even complain about a towing company. Is this what you use this forum for? Irresponsible and reckless journalism? There are many good features of this site, but c’mon let’s not allow you to use it to promulgate your own agenda of reckless allegations without backing yourself up with current and salient information.

  • What’s that mythical creature that lives under bridges that we are all supposed to ignore? :)

  • Joseph, give it up. These people are bitter and living in the past. I go to UVA and I live right by the place and I see the residents and staff at meetings I attend in town. They are well behaved and motivated to work on their treatment. The staff are professional and respectful of the kids and have great professional relationships with them. I also know that they recently had a choir that sang in a local church. Yea, terrible place – are you kidding me? This place is probably the only hope for some of these kids and they do good work.

    Joseph, you are pointedly correct, Waldo Jaquith , has always used this forum to “promulgate” (great word for it) an individuals agenda void of fact checking and full of misleading information. It’s just how it is so deal with it.

    Whats worse is these people will drag down and demonize anyone who supports the concept of a place changing and downright demonize the whole field of psychiatry and social workers. It has been posted here, before and in the local papers, that the place has all new leadership right up to a new CEO. To compare a repetative criminal to a place that is operating with totally different staff than it was before is simply ignorant. It IS NOT the same thing and to suggest it is means you don’t even value treatment to begin with because you don’t believe things or “people” can change – since you think a program is a person and a person can’t change. THen in a bitter tyrade, you suggest social workers put kids in a bad program simply because they are busy and that is mocking of the values of that profession. Social work exists to protect children and it always has.

    If something happens at the hospital here at UVA, we don’t say close the place down. They sure have made their share of mistakes (med errors, missed medical problems, you name it), but they don’t just give up…they investigate, modify, fire people if necessary, and improve things on an on-going and constantly evolving basis.

    Before you bash me, I don’t work there but I honestly would if I was qualified to and had the time. To close on a light hearted note, I hope they change the name again just to piss you off.

  • What’s that mythical creature that lives under bridges that we are all supposed to ignore? Seems there are 2 now.

  • Thanks Ryan, you are correct. I’m glad things are going so well at Jefferson Trail now. I did actually laugh out loud when you suggested they change the name again. Too funny.

  • Waldo dear, the very premise of your entire post and existence on this issue is a specious accusation and blatant assumption that they changed their name to avoid some trouble they found themselves in.

    Joseph “dear” I asked you a very specific question, and you failed to answer it. Let’s try again. I’ll rephrase it, so that there’s nothing unclear about this. This is exactly the same company that has been charged many times, over the course of years, with criminal behavior. Your point is that it’s been a couple of years since they were last caught doing anything. My specific question is, again, if an individual had been convicted three times over the past decade of rape, child molestation, and abduction, but was released from prison 18 months ago and hadn’t been convicted of anything since, is that somebody who you would pick up hitchhiking?

    Yes or no?

    let’s not allow you to use it to promulgate your own agenda of reckless allegations without backing yourself up with current and salient information.

    And, again, a question you failed to answer. One more time: Name a single fact that I wrote in this blog entry that is false or misleading. Just one.

    Can you?

    What’s that mythical creature that lives under bridges that we are all supposed to ignore? Seems there are 2 now.

    Actually, good news—there’s just one troll. Joseph and Ryan Johnson are the same person. Their posts are coming from the same IP address, a residential DSL located, oddly, in northern Virginia.

    Joseph—or “Ryan,” or whatever you want to call yourself—please limit yourself to a single identity. Or, if you just want to have a conversation with yourself, do us the favor of taking it off-line. I suggest e-mailing yourself.

    On the other hand, if you have a psychiatric disorder that causes you to manifest multiple personalities, I think I can suggest an appropriate mental health facility.

  • There you ago again, Waldo Jaquith, with your misleading and false statements and your nasty tone. I can’t speak for Ryan because I am actually not him. I am also in a cable internet connection and not DSL. I am also not in Northern VA, but maybe the cable internet I have is routed through there – who knows and who cares.

    I did answer your questions, but you AGAIN choose not to see it. Again, the whole premise of your article suggesting that the name change was prompted by an incident without citing the incident is MISLEADING. Let me repeat, the whole premise of your article suggesting that the name change was prompted by an incident without citing the incident is MISLEADING.

    Your other question is moot since it is not the same “people” running the place. But if it pleases you, I would not pick up any hit hitchhiker as that is simply not safe and probably illegal. I do believe people can change though as I am an LCSW and that is a core belief.

    I also just love how you show your cards and mock Psychiatric Disorders. That is just nasty and shameful.

  • As the most annoyingly P.C. person I know about this issue, I laughed for a full minute at Waldo’s joke, I don’t think he was mocking people with psychiatric disorders, I thought he was mocking you/yous/all of you? Not sure what prounoun to use… Alison Hymes of Disabilty Civil Rights and Prejudice Watch so you don’t have to google my name to find me, actually you could have just clicked on my name to get to my blog…

  • Joseph I told you these people are bitter so leave it alone. They will just attack you and not the real issue. I don’t even think the folks at Jefferson Trail care what is said here other than to offer a tour and educate people on what really happens there. I saw the website, the inside of the place is pretty nice.

    It is also possible we are coming from the same IP if you go to UVA, but I am not on DSL either so Waldo knows even less about computer than he does about healthcare.

  • Ryan is this the point you were trying to make:

    There’s a place in the world for the angry young man
    With his working class ties and his radical plans
    He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
    He’s always at home with his back to the wall.
    And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost,
    And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
    And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

    [Lyrics truncated. See below note. -Waldo]

  • Hahah…YES! Is that a song?

  • Again, the whole premise of your article suggesting that the name change was prompted by an incident without citing the incident is MISLEADING.

    That would be misleading, if it were true. But I cited six incidents.

    I also just love how you show your cards and mock Psychiatric Disorders. That is just nasty and shameful.

    No, I’m just mocking you. Are you disclosing that you have a psychiatric disorder?

    It is also possible we are coming from the same IP if you go to UVA, but I am not on DSL either so Waldo knows even less about computer than he does about healthcare.

    No, UVA doesn’t NAT any addresses, and they’re all from UVa’s two IP ranges, as assigned by the American Registry for Internet Numbers. Your IP, also ARIN-assigned, belongs to Road Runner. They have assigned it to a specific subnet, which belongs to a grouping of addresses in a specific town upstate.

    Read this blog entry of mine on the topic of internet anonymity. Now, having read that—and I really, really recommend that you actually read it, so that you know what you’re getting into here—I’ll give you three choices, Joseph-Ryan:

    1. Go away.
    2. Agree to stop posting under multiple usernames.
    3. Agree to permit me to post here all IP addresses and all server records generated in association with your comments. (Though I don’t actually need your permission in any legal or practical sense, it is against my practices and own sense of ethics to do otherwise.)

    Finally, your posting of copyrighted lyrics is a civil offense and, since they’re on my website, I’m potentially liable. (I have received takedown notices for lyrics from copyright holders before; this is not hypothetical.) As such, I have removed all but the first stanza as per section 512 (the “Safe Harbor Provision”) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    I’m quickly running out of patience for your behavior.

  • Restricting freedoms. Amazing.

  • I would not surprised if you did post made up IP information and tried to link me to Joseph considering the fact you have made up stuff to start this threat.

  • Yeah, well, I lobbied against the DMCA, so take it up with your congressman.

    You’ve got one more chance to pick one, before I pick for you: Door 1, 2, or 3?

  • Obama would be so disappointed you don’t believe things can change.

  • JosRyan’s vigorous defense of WR/JT is not helping the facility’s credibility much.

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