The news around Love In Action — which runs the Refuge programs Zach’s parents are forcing him to attend — keeps getting more and more interesting. The lastest is that the state of Tennessee is launching another investigation of LIA, one that sounds decidedly more serious than the previous one.
The state of Tennessee continues to probe Love in Action, the Memphis facility that has drawn protests since a 16-year-old known as “Zach” blogged that his parents were sending him there for treatment intended to change his sexual orientation.
The Tennessee Department of Health has sent a letter to Love in Action notifying the group that it is suspected of operating illegally, according to Andrea Turner, communications director for the department.
Turner said that if the program is strictly faith-based it would not require licensing by the state, but that according to the group’s Web site, Love in Action has licensed counselors and provides services related to alcohol and drug addiction on site.
“If this is the case, they are required to be licensed as a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Tennessee,” Turner said.
If employees there are providing counseling on homosexuality, it is possible that they are operating outside their area of expertise, Turner added.
I noted in a previous post that LIA has one license counselor, but that he may be licensed only for drug and alcohol counseling. If he’s involved in their “reparative therapy” program, that could be the key to further problems for LIA. This is from the previous Blade article about the close of the last investigation.
Danny Cobsy is the only staff member listed on the Love in Action Web site who is licensed by the state of Tennessee as a counselor.
Cosby is an alcohol and drug treatment counselor and works directly with the clients at Love in Action.
Cosby said that adolescents and adults are treated together as a group and that in addition to the two teenagers who are currently in the program there are between five and 15 adults. Cosby said that the presence of adults in the group is critical in helping teenagers “not glamorize the lifestyle.”
The question is whether Cosby participates in the “reparative therapy” practiced at Refuge, and if so just what problems does that cause for the facility. I’m not an expert, but having a staff member participating in therapy he’s not licensed to do sounds like a pretty serious problem. It also sounds like Cosby’s presence would require them to be licensed, which they’re not. Again, sounds like enough of a problem to warrant some sort of action on the part of the state
One thing’s certain, none of this would be happening if people hadn’t picked up this story and blogged it until it got wider notice, and people started taking action. We basically made it impossible for people in positions to do something to ignore this story.