Idaho’s publicly funded “troubled teen” system ignored extensive abuse of girls, grantee finds; Legislature looking into oversight

Emily Carter and Kieria Krieger now live together in Portland where their home is buried in documents from their yearslong fight. (Leah Nash/InvestigateWest)

A new report in InvestigateWest, with support from the Fund, found extensive evidence of rape, sexual assault, race-based harassment and attempted suicide in a publicly funded residential facility for vulnerable girls and young women in Idaho – and a lack of oversight of the company that owns the facility. Girls ages 11 to 17 live in the facility; most have been through extreme trauma and are in foster care. Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare, which has oversight for these teen homes, did not cite any instances of suspending licenses or shutting down children’s residential facilities in the state. Reporter Wilson Criscione reviewed state records and internal corporate messages and conducted interviews with former employees of Cornerstone, the private company that runs the facility. The staff had little experience or training, despite state mandates. When InvestigateWest published its report, Idaho lawmakers said they will look at increasing oversight of children’s residential facilities. Rep. Marco Erickson, R-Idaho Falls, said if he had the power, he’d “fire and replace every one of the administrators” at the facility in the story.