As a single mother, Scheff offered her daughter Ashlyn gymnastics courses and the finest and most exclusive private schools -- striving to make up for a fatherless household. But when her beloved child became a teenager, everything changed.
Ashlyn embraced disturbing beliefs and behavior, made friends with a strange and maladjusted group at school, and refused to abide by rules. At times, Scheff believed her daughter would harm herself or others, if she didn't seek professional help for her daughter. In desperation, Scheff turned to a residential treatment facility to instill discipline into her daughter while providing her with therapy and structure. The exact opposite turned out to be the case. After spending thousands of dollars and seeing troubling behavior in her child, she heard chilling stories of Ashlyn and classmates being kept in inhumane conditions, as well as of beatings, sexual abuse, forced starvation, neglect, and suicide. The daughter she had turned over to be helped by the residential treatment facility returned broken, depressed, and suicidal.
As Scheff struggled to find justice while fighting off lawsuits from the very institution that damaged Ashlyn, she found the strength and determination to found P.U.R.E. (Parent's Universal Resource Experts, Inc.), an advocacy group that draws parents together and helps them find ways to protect their children from destructive influences, educating them about the issues their particular child and family faces and creating a safe environment to revive familial bonds. Using the same criteria P.U.R.E. uses to research residential treatment centers around the world, Wit's End provides positive, prescriptive help for families who want only to put their children on the road to a safe, healthy, happy, and independent adulthood.
A chilling and fascinating journey into a damaged family and its path toward renewal, this cautionary tale, coupled with advice the author learned "the hard way" shows how one woman and her daughter found common ground again by standing up to the system and listening to their shared instincts and fought for safe alternatives for themselves and began to heal -- an example that every family struggling with trauma can relate to.