VisionQuest, For-Profit Firm Tapped to House Migrant Kids in Philadelphia, Has Sordid History

Michael Daly, The Daily Beast •

After a judge ruled in VisionQuest’s favor, the city appealed and the case is pending. The speakers at a protest rally outside the facility last October included a teen named named Lilly, who had been consigned there for truancy and running away before it was shuttered. She had been just 13 and she was left with cause to wonder why VisionQuest is allowed to profit off kids of any kind.

She recalls of her weeks inside the facility: “They made me feel like a monster.”

She resumed her schooling and became a youth advocate with the Juveniles for Justice project at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

When Lilly returned to the facility to protest plans to house immigrant children there, she recounted to the crowd of fellow protesters her own experience with VisionQuest.

“I am speaking here today to send a message to the parents and leaders of Philadelphia,” she said. “My mom thought going to a juvenile holding facility would be good for me. She thought I would be safe. She did not realize that I would be abused, strip-searched, mistreated.”