Youth boot camps under scrutiny

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal probe finds youth boot camps and their referral services are using deceptive marketing practices when trying to convince parents of troubled kids to try the programs.

One GAO investigator plans to tell a House panel Thursday of a referral agency that warned an investigator posing as a father that his wife might "freak-out" about sending their daughter to a boarding school with "screwed-up" people. In prepared testimony obtained by The Associated Press, he says the investigator was told to tell the mother that it was a college prep boarding school.

The programs have been under congressional investigation for about a year for their marketing practices and for instances of abuse and suspicious deaths.

It's estimated that at least 20,000 U.S. teens attend such facilities.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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