THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL
TRUTH CAMPAIGN

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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The Investigation                                                        

Below are our Campaign's extensive investigations into the Family School.  There are many investigations with documentation that we have obtained and published.

 

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STATE OF NEW YORK INVESTIGATES ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AT THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE FULL INVESTIGATION
Click the link above to access a full investigation into the Family Foundation School

Update: 2013
After completing a Freedom of Information Act Request, within the next 90 days, our campaign will be obtaining from the New York State Education Department over 600 pages of information involving the Family Foundation School.
    The State Education Department is the ONLY state or federal agency that licenses the Family Foundation School to operate, and only licenses them to operate as a regents charter school, not necessarily to deal with youth who have serious mental health or emotional issues.  The Family Foundation School has openly refused to license themselves as a drug & alcohol treatment facility, which is what they are, claiming they are just 'a school' for at risk youth.
     The school forces youth to submit themselves to the twelve step lifestyle, based upon the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, on a program loosely based off that of Synanon and All Addicts Anonymous.  The School, like many other abusive boarding schools has come under intense scrutiny and criticism for their past and current practices.  The Family Foundation School has refused to hold themselves or their employees accountable for abuse, neglect, and other harm they have directly caused to alumni of the school.
     We are hoping that information obtained in the 600+ documents we receive from the Education Department will shed some light on the school's documented past, or at least concerns that may have been overlooked.

 

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BOARD OF EDUCATION SUPERVISOR SPEAKS IN SUPPORT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL AT SCHOOL SPONSORED EVENT


On February 24, 2010, The Family Foundation School sponsored an event at a Manhattan restaurant for current and alumni parents, current students and alumni and school administrators. The featured speaker at this event was Thomas Hogan, the Board of Education’s Supervisor for Non-Public Schools for the State of New York. The event was held at midtown Manhattan restaurant called Bombay Palace. About 80 people attended the event, which cost about $80.00 per head and was paid for entirely by The Family Foundation School, including the open bar. The event lasted from about 6:30 to 11:00 pm and included a cocktail hour where parents, alumni parents, current students and alumni were encouraged to approach Hogan to tell him of their positive experiences at The Family School. A seated dinner then followed where various participants got up to give rousing, positive speeches about The Family Foundation School. Hogan gave the keynote address.

 

In order to make it less of a "Family School event" and more of a supporter organized event, The Family Foundation School's Richard Reeve created a Family Foundation School Parents in Partnership Society, aka "FFS PIPS", website even though Reeve is the owner and moderator of the site, not parents.  Our investigation also uncovered that Richard Reeve created the domain name on February 15, 2010...only a week prior to this marketing and promotional dinner.

 

The Family Foundation School TRUTH Campaign found out about the event when we were tipped off by a number of alumni parents and Family School insiders who are supportive of our campaign. This group forwarded us all of the information about the event. Parents were told in advance that there were certain documents that they needed to bring with them in order to attend the dinner.


The parents were told that during the cocktail hour, they were to approach Hogan and tell of their positive experiences at the school. The parents were given very specific guidelines about how to approach Hogan and what to say to him.  We obtained all the documents that invited parties received.  Below is the first official invitation to the event.



 


The Family School originally had the event planned at a restaurant called Copper Chimney but only days before holding the event, they changed venues and explained the requirements for attending the event.
The Family School required the following for attendees:
- Letters of support: Attendees were required to email Jeff Brain, one of the administrators of
The Family Foundation School, a letter supporting the school, and also required to bring it with
them to give to Tom Hogan.
- Signatures of support: Attendees were required to sign a "Declaration of Support" to further
The Family Foundation School's cause.
- Faces of support: Attendees were required to bring a picture of the family member who was
imprisoned at the facility for the use in a collage promoting The Family Foundation School
- Seeking out Hogan: Attendees were encouraged to find Tom Hogan and praise the school.
- Thoughts of Support: Attendees were encouraged to speak during a "pass the mic" session
at the event
- Images of support: Attendees were encouraged to get taped praising the school, the
Family Foundation School even hired their own videographer for the event and recorded "parent
testimonials" in the hallway of the bathroom at the restaurant.




Finally, attendees were required to sign a "MEDIA RELEASE FORM" so the Family Foundation School can use the attendee's "media" for "promotion, marketing, lobbying, or support".





The Family Foundation School billed this dinner as a marketing event for the school. Three people, who we believe to be parents or alumni parents, were the New York area coordinators for the event.

These people are:

Pamela-Leslie Singh Hux:

The founder of a New York based non- profit called Embrace Diverse Disabilities EDD, Inc. located at 276 Bowery in New York City. It is unclear exactly what this non-profit does, although it is classified by NYS for its non-profit status as providing mental health crisis intervention. It was established in 2008. Its current assets and income are both listed as “zero”, so we are not sure exact how viable this organization actually is. She is also an alumni parent.

Susan Advocate Steinhardt:

We believe that Mrs. Steinhardt is a parent of recent FFS graduate David Steinhardt.

Sherry Hammond
We are unaware as to who she is, but it is this campaign's belief that Hammond is a parent of a current or former student.

During the event we had Family School TRUTH Campaign volunteers posted both inside and outside the restaurant.  Many former students spent a good part of the evening outside smoking. One former student told us that he did not care one way or the other about the event or Family Foundation School, he just came because he was told there was going to be “free beer”. As the event started, we had volunteers posted inside the restaurant, in a lounge area adjacent to the open room where the dinner and speeches took place. We were able to hear every speech in its entirety, with a good degree of clarity.


We waited anxiously for Hogan to get up to speak and made sure that all of our volunteers were present to hear the speech. We also took copious notes on his speech. Here is a synopsis of the speech:

CLICK HERE FOR THE SYNOPSIS OF THE SPEECH BY THOMAS HOGAN

OUR QUESTIONS, CONCERNS AND THOUGHTS ABOUT HOGAN’S APPEARANCE AT THE EVENT AND THE CONTENTS OF HIS SPEECH:

- From the outset, it was unclear to us exactly why The Family Foundation School hastily planned this event and seemed to pull out all stop to get parents and alumni parents to attend. Was The Family Foundation School trying to counter our campaign? Did they get wind that something might be afoot with certain State government agencies concerning their lack of licensure and the many abuse allegations now leveled against them? It was very obvious that they were really trying to impress Hogan, to an almost embarrassing degree.


- Questions abound about the correctness of Hogan’s appearance at an event like this. Hogan is a State level supervisor for the Board of Education. He is in charge of the approximately 1800 non-public school in NY state. As part of his job, he is required to make site visits to each of these schools on a fairly regular basis. His agency is in charge of giving out Regent’s Charters for all no- public schools in the State. We know that he is aware of the abuse allegations against The Family Foundation School. One of our volunteers called him during the summer of 2008 to discuss the allegations at The Family Foundation School. In that telephone call, he admitted that he was aware of the Congressional Hearings and Jon Martin-Crawford’s testimony. During that telephone conversation, Hogan also stated that he was unaware of any other investigations or reports of abuse at The Family Foundation School. These statements directly contradict statements he made in his this speech where he clearly said that he was aware of an investigation by Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS - www.oasas.state.ny.us) in the 1980s. At best, it seems that Hogan had incredibly bad judgment to attend and speak at an event like this in light of the serious allegations against The Family School; at worst, his actions seem highly unethical.


- We were shocked to hear Hogan freely admit that during “the 1980s” he was asked by Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS - www.oasas.state.ny.us) to join forces to close down The Family School. He told Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS - www.oasas.state.ny.us) that he steadfastly refused to participate in any effort to close down the school. It is important to note here, that Family Foundation School is not licensed or accredited as a therapeutic program by any state or federal government agency. The Family Foundation School only has a Regent’s Charter for an education program granted by the Board of Education. It is our understanding that State agencies like the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS - www.oasas.state.ny.us) need the help of Hogan's agency to address concerns at The Family Foundation School or close it down. If The Family School has not licensed to practice its mental health, addiction, or therapeutic “program”, there is no license to take away. The only license or accreditation to take away is the only one that they have: the Regent's Charter that was issued by Tom Hogan. By Hogan's own admission, he has now been approached two times by various State agencies to about the numerous abuse allegations at The Family School. He is belligerently refusing to participate with any investigators. He has been aware of the abuse allegations at The Family Foundation School for about 30 years now and by refusing to address or acknowledge them he has put hundreds of students in harm’s way and been an indirect participant in duping hundreds of parents into thinking that The Family School was a safe place for their child.


- Hogan freely admitted that he is a long time friend of the Agiros family. He specifically mentioned Tony and Betty Agiros, as well as Mike Agiros. Tony Argiros alone, is the subject of too many abuse allegations to enumerate here, including abuse allegations of the most perverse sexual nature. We were stunned that Hogan praised this person who has allegations of causing such harm to so many of the youth in his care. Allegations against Tony Agiros and the extended Argiros family also include: physical abuse, severe mental and verbal abuse, possible welfare fraud and violations of state child labor laws. Hogan never mentioned any of these allegations.


- In his speech, Hogan asked parents to write letters of support for the school. He gave a step-by-step outline of exactly what to say in the letters. We do not know why he was asking parents to write these letters. Is he going to present them to Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS - www.oasas.state.ny.us) if they press him to investigate? If so, it seems highly unethical that a state official at Hogan’s level would aggressively solicit letters like this.



The Family Foundation School TRUTH Campaign volunteers were outside the restaurant to give survivors of the school a voice.  Three campaign volunteers with "The Family School Abuses Children" shirts and a reference to this website stood outside and were engaged by many alumni, parents, and the administration of the school.

One of our volunteers spoke with Hogan outside the event who stated to our campaign that we should "show [him] the evidence".  Hogan also stated that he was unaware of any abuse that occurred at the Family Foundation School during the past thirty years.  When our campaign questioned Hogan on his statements about refusal to participate in a government investigation, Hogan denied making those remarks during his speech. 
(Our campaign has more information about this interview with Hogan outside the event, but due to our ongoing investigation into the Family Foundation School, we cannot release all of the findings yet.)

Below is our Campaign Volunteer questioning Tom Hogan, Director of Non-Public Schools,
who was being escorted by Pamela-Leslie Singh Hux, one of the coordinators of the event,
about his refusal to protect youth at The Family School



Our Campaign volunteers continued to speak with alumni who were interested in what our campaign was trying to accomplish.  Our volunteers continued to hear the same phrase that The Family School prides themselves on, "But The Family School saved my life".  One girl was even asked if she was ever treated abusive or even borderline abusive, and she answered the question by stating "but I'm sober now".

Mike Argiros, owner of The Family School, Jeff Brain, Family School Spokesperson, and Richard Reeve, Family School's "Non-Profit" director, then all came out of the restaurant in a hurry but our volunteers questioned Mike Argiros.  Our volunteer obtained exclusive audio from the interview.  Watch the video below to listen to the exclusive video.


After the evening was over, our campaign volunteers were quite disturbed by the lengths The Family Foundation School will go to cover up abuse with praise of a job well done.  Our campaign firmly believes that the school is beyond reform as they have proven by their actions over the past year.  The Family Foundation School administration continues to call alumni liars, attempts to cover up negative experiences, continues to employ abusive staff, refuses to get licensed and therefore refuses to be regulated, refuses to hire only qualified staff, refuses to treat students with respect and dignity, refuse to apologize publicly and acknowledge the abuses they encouraged and participated in.

The School's promotional and marketing dinner seemed to end as just a waste of money.  The Family Foundation School's "PIPS" Foundation never got any hype and their "video testimonials" from parents are quite ridiculous, as they were filmed in the hallway to the restrooms.  Tom Hogan was exposed by our campaign as an accomplice to the abuse because he refuses to get involved in a government run investigation and refuses to take any action or look into the abuse claims from so many alumni.  Mike Argiros made it very clear that The Family School is just not ready to keep kids protected.

Our campaign continues to hear from alumni who claim they learned a lot from The Family School, but that the abuse and neglect in protecting youth rights is not okay.  We want to know when The Family Foundation School is going to stop trying to cover up the abuse allegations on our website and other internet forums with having promotional and marketing dinners along with blogs that call alumni liars and just admit what occurred, get licensed as a mental health facility, part ways with abusive staff, cut all ties with East Ridge recovery cult mentality, and start doing things the right way, while protecting youth rights at the same time.

For The Family School, the night at Bombay Palace was just another chance for them to publicly show their dedication to not taking responsibility for abusing children.  Our eyes opened that night, The Family Foundation School will go to any length to quiet the abused alumni...this made our mission so much more important in making sure that the abused alumni voices are heard and continue to make the operating philosophy, abuse, and history of the Family Foundation School public!


To contact Thomas Hogan to express your concerns for his unethical and possibly illegal activity:
Office of Nonpublic School Services
NYS Department of Education

89 Washington Street
Albany, New York 12234
Telephone: (518) 474-3879




To find out how you can help, email INFO@TheFamilySchoolTRUTH.com
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The Family Foundation School Manipulating Prospective Parents

Over the course of the last few months, volunteer investigators have gone undercover to expose the Family Foundation School's manipulative marketing tactics.  Not only does the facility have a marketing director, but the school's spokesperson Jeff Brain, has insulted alumni of the school once again.

During the course of the investigation, we wanted to understand how the school's administration deals with the bad publicity and numerous allegations of abuse throughout the school's three decade history.  Well, we can't say we were too surprised by what was uncovered.

One of the investigators emailed the general email address of The Family Foundation School.  The investigator posed as a prospective parent who was interested in the school.  The investigator is not an alumni of the school nor affiliated or connected to the Family Foundation School.  The investigator was responded to by Jeff Brain, the school's spokesperson who called alumni who allege abuse liars to a newspaper reporter.  

After some correspondence between Brain and the investigator, Brain stated that the students, referring to the alumni who allege abusive conditions at the school, are "disgruntled" and that the investigator, who Brain believed was a prospective parent, should not assume what they read is the truth.  

Jeff Brains Email



Brain also included a spreadsheet, which he called a parent reference list with over 100 parents of current and former students.  Some of the students names in the reference list are the same people who have cursed, defamed, and threatened our supporters in the discussion boards on our page on Facebook.  Brain encouraged the investigator to contact the parents on the list to hear their success stories.  It is important to note that our investigator never requested the reference list, nor for the school to volunteer any contact information of any current or former parent.

During our initial expose of this investigation, which the Family Foundation School called "deceptive" and "fraudulent", we posted the full parent reference list and only censored the current student's names for their safety and protection (and because they could not possibly have given The Family Foundation School consent to post their names). 

After some privacy concerns from some of our supporters and moderators, we have decided that it would be best for the students who have no voice, for their names not to be exposed.  Our campaign is not exposing the children who were abused or the parents who are brainwashed and manipulated by the school's ridiculous marketing tactics, but to expose the school's abusive practices.  For these reasons, we felt it was necessary to remove the reference list from the site.

On The Family School's blog postings recently, the owner of the school, Rita Argiros, said that our investigation tactics are hurting the students and families whose names were on the reference list that we made public but we feel that Argiros and her administration are the ones who are hurting the students.


The investigator also contacted some of the parents on the list and heard the same thing from all the parents of the students.  All the parents were unaware of the recent allegations of abuse and when the investigator questioned them about the alleged abusive conditions alumni are testifying to, every parent the investigator spoke with stated The Family Foundation School staff told them that an angry alumni who went to the school over ten years ago went to Congress and started complaining and whining, referring to Jon Martin-Crawford who testified in front of Congress.  One parent even stated that The Family Foundation School "had to go down to Washington DC" to counter Martin's testimony.

None of the parents spoken to are aware of admitted sex addict Paul Geer's history at the school and the numerous allegations of sexually explicit verbal and emotional abuse.  The parents spoken with also had NO knowledge of the East Ridge Recovery Center cult that the Family Foundation School founders and current owners were members of.

We were also quite disturbed that The Family Foundation School administration sent out a list with not only former student's names, but current students, some of whom are under the age of 18 and cannot consent to their names being given out publicly.  The Family Foundation School told one of our volunteers that unless he signed a confidentiality agreement while visiting the school, he would not be able to speak to any minors who were enrolled at the school.  Jeff Brain, who is the one of the top administrators at the school, had no knowledge of who the investigator was and divulged supposed "confidential" material to a complete stranger by sending out the parent reference list including current student names.  We respect the confidentiality of those who cannot protect themselves, something The Family Foundation School failed to do once again.

We are appalled at The Family Foundation School's response to alumni who allege abusive conditions at the school and claim they are more damaged post-FFS than they were before they arrived.

Our Full Investigation into the Family Foundation School

The Family Foundation Schools "treatment" program is based off the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step recovery program.  From the hundreds of students we have spoken with, The Family Foundation School prides themselves on the student's who work the program.  Students have told us that regardless if they felt they were addicts, they were coerced into admitting they are in fact addicts, alcoholics, or the like.  Some students were even forced to admit that they were sexually promiscuous when they never even kissed someone

The Family Foundation School has no published end-study of alumni success rates, but reports that their success rates are upwards of 75% of graduates.  In another investigation, we uncovered that students who met with the school's psychologist within their first few weeks at the school were deemed not to be in need of alcohol or drug treatment, yet they were still forced to participate in a world recognized recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.


Recently, many alumni who are close to The Family Foundation School TRUTH Campaign have been requesting their student records.  Once a student is over the age of 18, the school is required by law to release the student's records to them when requested.  We obtained the document pictured below from an alumni who reported abusive conditions at The Family Foundation School.  The student's parent signed the document stating The Family Foundation School was simply a "high school in a drug free environment" and that the parent does not perceive that their child is in need or receiving alcohol treatment.


The student, as with all Family Foundation School students, was forced to participate in the AA 12-step recovery program for their entire stay at the school.  This is another example of The Family Foundation School's manipulative marketing tactics.  This student also was evaluated by the school psychologist and found to not be in need of drug or alcohol treatment or counseling, and obtained the exact same evaluation form that we posted in our previous investigation.  Why is The Family Foundation School still coercing kids into an adult drug and alcohol treatment program when they are deemed NOT to need any type of treatment and their parents are under the impression that they are just receiving a high school education?

As with many therapeutic boarding schools and other troubled teen facilities, The Family Foundation School is using manipulative marketing tactics to ease parent's fears while they permanently damage students. 

The Family Foundation School's history of coercing students to participate in the 12 step recovery program of AA dates back to the 1970's when the Family Foundation School founders, Tony and Betty Argiros, were members of East Ridge Recovery Center, which is a 12-step cult.  The Family Foundation School still employs staff (including the two owners) who were part of the East Ridge cult, including Rita Argiros, Mike Argiros, Mike Ducey and Robin Ducey.  The East Ridge Recovery Center is part of All Addicts Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program that believes everyone needs 12-step recovery in their lives, including people with clinical depression and anxiety.


In 2010, we are outraged and shocked that The Family Foundation School continues to use a drug and alcohol recovery program for children under the age of 18, and force the Alcoholics Anonymous program, which is supposed to be a voluntary and anonymous program, onto students who need professional and mental health treatment.  In mid-2009, two former students and the President of CAFETY met with Mike Argiros and Rita Argiros, owners of The Family Foundation School, and Rick Reeve, another administrator of FFS.  During the meeting, Rita Argiros openly admitted that the culture of The Family Foundation School's program is loosely based off Synanon, a recovery cult that was implicated in murder and other serious crimes.

During the meeting with the owners of The Family Foundation School, our volunteers reported that Rita Argiros promised that the school's website would include staff bios of all their staff, to increase transparency with the public.  To date, The Family Foundation School has yet to post one staff bio on their website.  The Family Foundation School's lack of follow through with their "commitment" to transparency can be because many of the staff have no mental health or medical degree and no professional licensure or certificates.  Many of The Family Foundation School staff qualifications only include being in 12-step recovery themselves.

From our last report in December of 2009, the Family Foundation School has only 120 students enrolled, which is less than half from their enrollment just two years ago.  From reports we received from both staff and alumni of the school, about 10-20 staff were also laid off in December.  What we are shocked to learn is that staff who are named in numerous testimonials, including Paul Geer, Mike and Roxi Losicco, Mike and Robin Ducey, and Tommy Cummings, are not included in the staff that the Family School laid off.  This is another example of The Family Foundation School's continued commitment to employing staff who are abusive and cruel to students.

We have a continued commitment to exposing the lies, manipulation and abuse at The Family Foundation School.  Keep checking back for new investigations that we post!


The Family Foundation School is hiring lawyers, but not to dispute abuse allegations

Our site recently received a letter from The Family Foundation School’s lawyers (Pictured below).  It asked us to remove a trademarked image of The Family Foundation School logo from our site, which we have.

The lawyers letter stated that they "believe that the use of our client's service mark on your website is likely to cause confusion as to the source of services and will dilute the strength of our client's mark."  We are not only exposing the true services that FFS is providing but we do think that The Family Foundation School's services are not clearly portrayed on their website.  

CLICK HERE IF YOU DO NOT SEE THE LETTER ABOVE AND IT WILL OPEN UP IN A NEW WINDOW 

It appears to us that they have paid their lawyers to scrutinize our site to find anything that might be libelous and all the lawyers found was a copyright infringement. It seems to us that they are implying that the other information on the site is true and accurate.  The Family Foundation School's spokesperson, Jeff Brain had the extraordinary bad judgment  to call alumni who have alleged abuse “liars” in a newspaper article about the abuse allegations, while The Family Foundation School's own lawyers seem to think that our site, the alumni testimonies and evidence presented here are not only within First Amendment rights, but true

Since Jon Martin-Crawford's congressional testimony in 2008 about the abusive conditions at the school, The Family Foundation School has first stated they will not "dispute" the abuse allegations, but recently told The Daily Star newspaper otherwise.

Delaware County Alert

In October, 2009 our campaign volunteers sent out about 4,000 letters to citizens of Delaware County, New York alerting the residents of the abuse that has occurred and still occurs at the Family Foundation School.

(THESE LETTERS WILL SOON BE POSTED ON THE SITE, DUE TO MAINTENANCE ON OUR SITE, THEY ARE CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE 1-27-2010)

A local newspaper in upstate New York, called The Daily Star, picked up the story and published an article about the mailing. In the article, the reporter quoted The Family Foundation School's Jeff Brain as stating "All of the allegations of abuse are categorically untrue or grossly exaggerated" and he went on by stating "those that were identified were investigated by us...and determined to be unfounded."

We find this one of the most shocking things to come from The Family Foundation School in a long time. The Family Foundation School is having their spokesperson call alumni and abuse victims LIARS. This is not only shocking and disturbing, but it is also degrading and appalling to abuse victims.

The newspaper also reported that a representative for the Social Services stated that allegations of abuse are mostly from the late 1990's, when in fact we have testimonials posted on this website, and a quote from a testimonial in the mailing that dates as recent as 2008.

The Family Foundation School is showing us once again that as soon as the money stops coming in, the administration of The Family Foundation School could care less about an alumni experience or current mental and emotional state.

 

Shame on you Jeff Brain and shame on The Family Foundation School for publicly stating that alumni experiences of abuse "UNTRUE".


MIKE LOSICCO CHRONICLES?!

This is the most appalling thing that we have seen yet as evidence of the Family Foundation School's staff not being qualified.  Student's recorded a staff member, Mike Losicco, who was also the director of The Betton House which was shut down for zoning violations (see investigation below).  Mike Losicco is a recovering METHADONE addict who was in charge of over 30 students for many years.  Mike Losicco is cited by numerous Family Foundation School Alumni as a verbal, emotional, and physical abuser.  

One ex-student cited Mike Losicco for violently restraining a student because the student would not hand Mike Losicco a notebook.  Losicco started screaming, demanding the book from the student, and when the student refused, Mike grabbed the book and violently restrained the student.  Within minutes, there were four-200 pound men on top of this non-violent 130 pound student.

The student was then placed in the isolation room and locked up for a number of days and was only fed one soy burgers for each meal until Mike Losicco deemed the student learned his lesson. 

The comment in this video by a so called "addiction specialist" is horrible.  Speaking about killing others is not funny or in the spirit of humor and should not be condoned by FFS.



Would you want this man as a legal guardian for your child?  Would you willingly put this man in charge of your children?

Watch the video below and decide for yourself


The Family Foundation School contacted the alumni who posted this video and asked him to remove it due to the contents and negative publicity that was caused by its posting BUT we still watched it and Mike Losicco stated the following things in the video:


- When the student's questioned Mike about people on death row, he stated "Kill them all and let god sort them out...they're a pain in my ass"

- On the issue of killing animals, Mike stated, "I dont have a problem killing animals for food, for belts, for whatever".  Studies have proven that animal cruelty is directly linked to being a warning sign of spousal and child abuse.

- Mike stated "I'm a dirty fighter" when questioned about having a physical fight with a fellow Family School staff member, Jan Cheripko.


- Mike Losicco was recorded stating that the tunnel from the Family School School area to the Family School eating area (Family area) is a mind control tunnel, "thats where we have all the electrodes....we're trying to change your brains."

These statements from a man who is legally responsible for the well being of children and supposedly "teaching" kids the right path is extremely disturbing!

EMAIL THE OWNER OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL AND TELL THEM THIS NEEDS TO END...THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL NEEDS QUALIFIED STAFF TO HELP THE SO-CALLED "TROUBLED" YOUTH THAT THEY ENROLL!

Rita Argiros, Owner Family Foundation School:  RARGIROS@TheFamilySchool.com


OR EMAIL US AT THE FFS TRUTH CAMPAIGN FOR MORE INFORMATION

INFO@TheFamilySchoolTruth.com

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The Family Foundation School admits to their campus "troubled youth", many of which have issues with school, drugs, alcohol, and/or behavior problems at home.  The Family School requires students to partake in the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous program.

But after intense investigation and with the help of various alumni of the school, we uncovered that although the school forces students into a recovery, and manipulates parents and the student to believe they are drug addicts or alcoholics, as early as the late 1990's the school has students meet with a psychologist during their first few days at the school.  The school's psychologist signs a document, as seen below, stating that he evaluated the student, and he has "found him/her not to be in need of alcohol or drug abuse treatment/couseling."  Although this document is signed by a psychologist, the Family Foundation School staff still force students into a life of recovery...but what exactly do students need recovery from, since they are not in need of drug or alcohol treatment!

 

THIS IS AN ACTUAL DOCUMENT THAT WAS OBTAINED FROM SCHOOL RECORDS FROM AN ALUMNI

no need for treatment


The Family Foundation School is not a licensed drug or alcohol treatment or rehabilitation center in the State of New York.  Many parents who send their child to the Family Foundation School for drug or alcohol related issues, never see this evaluation and are never alerted to the findings of the Family School psychologist.  The psychologist, Charles Moss, who recently retired from working at FFS, was employed as the school's psychologist since 1988.



Recently, an alumni who questioned the school on not keeping 'treatment' notes on file got the following answer from an administrator of FFS, Jeff Brain, who stated "There would not be any treatment notes since we are a school and not a treatment facility.  I understand, however, what you are asking for, but at the time you were a student we did not keep written notes of the interventions that you are referencing"  The interventions the alumni was referencing was that such as food being taken away at meals, students being forced to stand, sit in a corner, students being locked in an isolation room with three deadbolt locks that could not be unlocked from the inside, student being taken out of school and forced to complete manual labor, student's being stripped searched (one testimonial explains how the student was strip searched in the isolation room, which has a surveillance camera, and left completely naked on the floor for a period of time before being given ONLY a pair of boxers to wear throughout the night).

According to ex-students close to the FFS Truth Campaign, during these 'interventions', a student and/or a staff member would take notes on what was said and write down the punishments that the student's were given.  The Family Foundation School refuses to admit that these records were taken, and refuses to release these records as part of the students private school records, which The Family Foundation School is required by law to release if it is requested by the student.

Many students, after completing the school's program and being freed from the abuse at the school, often never see this document and continue to live their life believing that they were and still are in need of drug or alcohol rehabilitation and/or counseling.  This is just another manipulation that the Family School uses in their plight to continue to teach students their cult like program.  The student's at the Family Foundation School are forced to participate in a twelve step recovery program, based on Alcoholics Anonymous and Synanon, although the school's own psychologist made the conclusion the student is not in need of drug or alcohol treatment.

Sources close to the Family School Truth Campaign recently met with The Family Foundation School Administration (including Owner Rita Argiros and Jeff Brain who is in charge of External Affairs for the school) in upstate New York.  We learned that "It was openly admitted [during the meeting] that the FFS is loosely based on Synanon".  Synanon is a cult-like 12 step recovery program that was implicated in murders and tax fraud. (CLICK HERE) To read more about the meeting with FFS Administration, please visit our page on Facebook and read the discussions: Family School Truth Campaign Discussion: "The Table Topic"

IF YOU HAVE ANY DOCUMENTS FROM YOUR RECORDS THAT IS SUSPICIOUS OR MAY PROVE ABUSE, PLEASE EMAIL A COPY OF THE DOCUMENTS TO US!


REMEMBER: If requested, The Family Foundation School must provide you with copies of your records from your time at the school, under penalty of law.  If you need assistance in obtaining your school records, please email us for information and assistance: INFO@TheFamilySchoolTruth.com



FAMILY FOUNDATION INC, WHY STAFF IS RECEIVING STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP MONEY


The Lies continue....

We uncovered that The Family Foundation School (FFS) is a for profit business.  The Family Foundation School has a non-profit organization formed by the school to give grants or scholarships to students for their education and treatment at the school, the non-profit organization is called Family Foundation Inc.  The Family Foundation School created this non-profit to help at-risk youth financially with tuition fees.  The Family Foundation Inc 'scholarship' fund has roughly $100,000 in assets.  BUT ACCORDING TO OUR INVESTIGATION INTO THE NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION'S TAXES, THE NON-PROFIT GAVE MONEY TO STAFF, NOT STUDENTS

 

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE FULL 2006 TAX FORM


Below is the list of people who were given "scholarships" in 2006 from the Family Foundation Inc.

William Hazen, Kara Wormuth, Thomas Wood, Tammy Finch, and Myron Va are Family Foundation School STAFF!!!

THATS MORE THAN $10,000 in 'scholarship' money given to staff, not students!


The other names on the scholarship list have not been confirmed as staff.

According to Family Foundation Inc, their mission is to provide funds to students who are attending school and recovering from various problems such as addiction or alcoholism.  According to statements made by Family Foundation School administration, there was a flood that effected some of the staff member's homes and they felt it was necessary to help out. 


Below is the Mission Statement of Family Foundation Inc, as they are required to send in a mission statement along taxes.  It CLEARLY states that the scholarships are for student SCHOLARSHIPS

The Family Foundation School clearly states throughout their tax form that the Family Foundation Inc gives money to youth, nowhere throughout their mission statement does it say the non profit organization is set up to give money to STAFF.  The Family Foundation School, yet again, has been lying to the government and the public.


On the Family Foundation Inc website, they list reasons why you should Donate money to the 'scholarship fund':

  • The Family Foundation works to provide financial aid for qualifying families with a student placed in one of our affiliated programs.

  • Your contribution gives a student the chance they need to get the help they need.

  • The Family Foundation is a 501c3 non profit organization and your contribution is tax deductible.

 

The Family Foundation School forgot to list that they only give money to staff from the 'scholarship fund'.  We have yet to see any public record or statement from The Family Foundation School as to why STAFF RECEIVED SCHOLARSHIPS MEANT FOR STUDENTS!


 

CLEARLY THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL IS LYING AND IS CLEARLY USING THE FOUNDATION TO GIVE MONEY TO STAFF AND NOT HELP AT-RISK YOUTH.  ONCE AGAIN THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL IS CAUGHT IN A LIE, AND THE SECOND TIME THAT THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL IS PROVEN TO BE LYING TO THE GOVERNMENT.

 

When will the lies end, when will the Family School owners and administration live by what they teach - HONESTY


 

THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL, CHANGING LIVES 

WITH CONTINUING LIES?


THE BETTON HOUSE SCANDAL - Lies from the beginning


Betton House was a wholly owned subsidiary of FFS. It opened in 2005 but was in existence much earlier and was located in Scranton, PA. Betton House billed itself as a “sober dorm” for college aged kids leaving the FFS. Betton House's name implied it was a “house” when in fact it was located on part of a floor of a dormitory owned by Lackawanna Community College. Lackawanna leased the property to Betton House. The Family Foundation School does not prepare students for life in the real world outside the school and the Betton House was going to act as a 'halfway house' where the school can still charge students large amounts of money for 'treatment'. Betton House was run by two former FFS 'leaders', Roxanne (Roxi) and Michael (Mike) Losicco, who are cited as mental and physical abusers at the Family School by ex-students.


 

Mike and Roxi Losicco


This is Roxi and Mike Losicco who ran the Betton House. Mike Losicco is an admitted Methadone addict.  Both Mike and Roxi are cited by ex students from the Family School for verbally and mentally abusing children.

RIGHT FROM THE START, BETTON HOUSE BEGAN TO LIE


Betton House printed glossy brochures and made a fanciful website. Images showed smiling, 'all-American' kids. It was implied these kids attended Betton House, when in fact, these kids were models, for the photo shoot...none of them attended the school. 

The School took students from the Family Foundation School and Models and had them take pictures at the Betton House for the brochure.  Posted here is a later version of actual BH Students.




Shortly after it was opened, Betton House was sued by the city of Scranton for violating the city zoning laws. To read two court cases pertaining to this legal action CLICK HERE.  Betton House LIED about itself to both Lackawanna College and to the city of Scranton. The city planning board caught Betton House in its lies and they successfully sued the Betton House out of Scranton.



MEDICAL STAFF...No, that was a lie


When trying to sell the Betton House program to parents and to the community surrounding the facility, Betton House and The Family Foundation School advertised on their website that there would be a FULL-TIME medical staff living in the dorm. This was an obvious ploy to gain trust of parents and trick them into thinking that their kids would be safe and helped by medical professionals. In fact, Betton House NEVER had any kind of medical staff on the premises. The court called Sidney Parham, husband of Rita Argiros (Owner of the Family Foundation School), to testify in court. In court documents, Parham admits that the Betton House and FFS lied about having medical staff on premises.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TESTIMONY ON Page 8.

THIS IS PART OF THE COURT HEARING WHERE IT IS STATED THE BETTON HOUSE LIED ABOUT HAVING MEDICAL STAFF:




Affiliations...No, that was a lie too


Betton House's website advertised that they were “affiliated” with a number of local colleges including Keystone College, Lackawanna College, and Penn State. All of these 'affiliations' proved to be lies.

Below is the section of the site with affiliations that were all LIES.

We found out about these lies and fraud from a Scranton based CAFETY volunteer who saw some kids (students of the Family School) handing out Betton House brochures. This volunteer had been the victim of abuse in a school very similar to FFS. The volunteer contacted administration at each of the “affiliated” colleges listed on the Betton House website and alerted them that Betton House was using their college names on the Betton House website. 

The colleges were appalled, some stating they never gave Betton House or The Family Foundation School permission to use their names. KeyStone College even stated in a letter we received that they "have never had any type of affiliate relationship with Betton House." Some of the colleges NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL OR BETTON HOUSE!

WE HAVE OBTAINED AN ORIGINAL LETTER TO ONE OF THE COLLEGES AND THE COLLEGE'S RESPONSE... 



CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LETTER FROM KEYSTONE COLLEGE WHERE THEY DENY ANY AFFILIATION WITH BETTON HOUSE

Officials at the 'affiliated' colleges were disgusted when they learned that FFS was cited in federal investigation for INSTITUTIONALIZED CHILD ABUSE.  


Thanks to the hard work of concerned citizens and community members, 

BETTON HOUSE WAS CLOSED DOWN IN AUGUST OF 2008!!!


NO MORE LIES, NO MORE ABUSE.  


 

RESCUE DOGS OR RUNAWAY CATCHERS?


THE INVESTIGATION BEHIND FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOOL OWNER RITA ARGIROS



RITA ARGIROS and her “Search and Rescue” dogs – The Family School is not trying to understand the runaway problem and stop it but instead are trying to figure out a means to find the run away students quickly...

SOMETHING IS OBVIOUSLY WRONG IF SO MANY KIDS ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE SCHOOL THAT THE OWNER HAS TO TRAIN SEARCH AND RESCUE DOGS...keep reading to find out more about our investigation...


In an article written by Owner of the FFS, Rita Argiros, on January 30, 2009 she stated the following about a situation with a runaway student:

- “We had notified the State Police and faxed them all the information they needed to start a file.  Last night an officer stopped by to take a report. That is also routine. The police have picked up many of our students in the past. Our relations with them are just “OK.”  They saw us as something between a nuisance and something to do to fill up a slow shift.   A few times, when I have dealt with the officers directly they have asked why I don’t put a fence around the campus.  Andwhen I explain that that we see ourselves as a step down from that sort of facility. They give me a strange look."

Unfortunately, the FFS is viewed by the general public as a facility.  According to information from parents of former FFS students, the FFS admissions office encourages parents to hire 'escorts' to bring their child to the school. These escorts usually come in the middle of the night and often handcuff and leg shackle students. Some former students and parents refer to the escorts' procedures as KIDNAPPING.  According to one student's admission to another at the FFS, he was also on a leash tied around his stomach and walked through the airport. Then, once at the school the kids are stripped, literally and figuratively, and searched...like inmates in a jail.

Although some kids were not the best of kids, they are definitely not hard core criminals who need to be shackled. Kids with problems need to be dealt with in an understanding and ethical way. This use of escorts contributes to the school being viewed as a facility, especially if students are forced and escorted to the school in chains. Why can't the school be an open environment where students are welcome to check the school out, regardless if they are experimenting with drugs or not doing well in school.

The Family Foundation School encourages use of escorts because experience shows that the child would not voluntarily go to this facility that is under investigation for Child Abuse.  Instead, parents should be encouraged to allow the child's input or bring them there instead of being kidnapped from their homes in the middle of the night.

The Runaway Problem

The Family Foundation School has had a runaway problem for a long time. Rita Argiros is the president of Eagle Valley Search dogs. Rita Argiros states on the EVSD website the reason the teens run away from the school is because "many suffer from poor impulse control". Rita also states that she was looking for an alternative to "turning the school into a detention center". 

Unfortunately the school has not found a way to have student's want to stay.

According to Rita's own statement in an article on the search dog site, FORTY (40) or so students runaway each year!!! 

This extremely high number when compared to the 250 or so students (at the time the article was written) enrolled at the school reflects negatively on the school and shows a high percentage of students willing to risk their health and safety for freedom from the abuse. It's time to find a solution to the problem which will encourage kids to stay and not risk their own safety to get away.


STUDENT ENDS UP IN HOSPITAL AFTER RUNNING FROM SCHOOL AND "SEARCH" DOGS

According to Rita Argiros' article on the search dog site, on January 17, 2009 the weather was no more than 17 degrees and two FFS students ran away at 10:00AM. The students ran 9.5 miles. One student suffered frostbite and had to be hospitalized. The site also states that when staff asked "him what he learned from his misadventure, he said, that he learned to wait until warmer weather."


Obviously the FFS has not figured out that if the frostbitten student is willing to run again, something is wrong with the school - not the student.  According to reports, Rita Argiros started training these dogs to search for elderly people who are missing, but it seems as if the dog training had a personal and professional agenda as well - to re-capture runaway students.

Please email Rita and tell her to stop training dogs to chase run aways and instead do something to make the run aways want to stay at FFS

RITA'S EMAIL:   INFO@THEFAMILYSCHOOL.COM

Just like the school's program teaches, its not curbing the problem, its identifying a problem and changing it.


 



  The Family Foundation School and NATSAP


The FFS lists on their website The National Association of Therapeutic School and Programs (NATSAP) as an affiliate. Sidney Parham, Rita Argios' (owner of the FFS) husband, is listed on the NATSAP website as a board member.

Unfortunately, upon information we received, there is no enforcement of the NATSAP "ETHICAL PRINCIPLES" guidelines that, according to the NATSAP website, all NATSAP members aspire to:

  - Be conscious of, and responsive to, the dignity, welfare, and worth of their program participants.

  - Take reasonable steps to ensure a safe environment that addresses the emotional, spiritual, educational, and physical needs of their program participants.

  - Fully disclose to prospective candidates the nature of services, benefits, risks, and costs.


According to NATSAP's "PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE" it states the following:

2.1.3.4 The mission statement of a Therapeutic Boarding School will include:

     * The school will provide an intellectual environment that promotes participant freedom of inquiry and in which participants are encouraged to express individual points of view, develop independent critical thinking and to examine and debate all sides of a subject in a rational mature manner. 


THE FAMILY SCHOOL does not promote participant freedom and does not encourage participants to express individual points of view. The Family Foundation School forces participation in their program and agreeing with the schools point of view and ideals. Students are not allowed to openly express themselves as they wish.  Students who do not participate or view an alternative view are usually punished. 

Upon information and belief, the FFS also violates the NATSAP Employment screening process as described here from the NATSAP website: 

3.1.2 Upon extending an offer for employment, the program/school will obtain: 

     * A criminal background check including driving history. 

     * A minimum of two professional references (written or verbal). 

      • Proof of professional credentials. 

     * A medical examination or statement signed by the employee assuring fitness to execute the physical and mental requirements delineated in the job description. 

     * If the employee is required to drive a company vehicle, or is asked to transport program participants in his/her own car, the Department of Motor Vehicle will be contacted to determine that the respective employee has a valid driver’s license.

Upon information we obtained from ex-students and contributors, some staff at the FFS are admitted sex addicts and some have criminal records.  For example, one family group leader who LIVES ON CAMPUS, Paul Geer is an admitted sex addict and he is in charge of one family group which has 30 or so students.  Paul Geer is also the Chorus director at the school.  According to some private allegations, sexual abuse may have taken place at the school by staff, although no student has yet to publicly report sexual abuse because of shame or fear of retaliation.  Keep in mind that students at the school have NO ACCESS TO TELEPHONES to report abuse!    Although a background check may have been performed, was it considered and taken into account is the question to ask.


Under the NATSAP Participany Rights and Responsibilities is the following that the family school violates:

  6.1.3 The expectation of a safe environment with respect of human dignity.

  6.1.10 A diet that is nutritionally sufficient for age and activity level.

The FFS violates many NATSAP guidelines. With the school having a staff member on the board of directors, these guidelines should be followed and monitored very closely, as the FFS should be setting the example. These guidelines are available on the NATSAP website (natsap.org), also on the website you will see Sidney Parham listed under the Board of Directors.

 

To date, there is no federal regulatory or enforcement agency for facilities such as the Family Foundation School.  Help us put an end to institutionalized child abuse at facilities like The Family Foundation School!