Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Best intentions


We seek to expose and rectify the abuse and distress of children placed in private residential facilities, behavior modification programs, boot camps, wilderness programs, and boarding schools. We believe that no child should be abducted, incarcerated, abused, neglected, or stripped of their basic human rights for the sake of profit.

CAICA has recently expanded to include facilities for disabled and mentally challenged children. It is our goal to be a voice for all children who are abused, neglected, and who have died in residential treatment settings. Please help us to be that voice, for together, we can make a difference.


Community awareness and outreach

• we work to educate parents, judges, mental health professionals, and the general public about children who have been abducted and incarcerated into private residential facilities and forced into mental reprogramming. We work with people in our local communities to heighten public awareness, and build a network of concerned citizens who share the mission and goals of CAICA and who will help to spread the word.

Professional conferences

• we make presentations at national and regional conferences of legal and mental health professionals as well as in our local communities to enlist their support for our cause.

Investigative reporting

• we investigate instances of abuse or neglect and document patterns of child maltreatment at specific facilities.

Legal assistance network

• we provide attorney referrals to survivors who have been abused or neglected, parents who have been defrauded, and concerned family members.

Legislative analysis

• we monitor and analyze pending legislation and assist in regulating an industry that, for the most part, is unregulated. We work with the media and elected officials to assist in public policy reform.

Isabelle Zehnder, Founder and President

Isabelle Zehnder is the Founder and President of the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse, Inc. (CAICA). She is also a Professional Life and Family Coach and the Founder and CEO of Positive Family Solutions, LLC, and Parents of Teens, Unite!

She is an Active Member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and an active member of their local Chartered Chapter, the Northwest Coaches Association (NWCA).

She has researched child behavior and child development for 25 years and has authored and published a number of articles. She has also attended and participated in a series of seminars and workshops regarding families, children, teens, and child abuse & prevention. She has been invited to speak on child, teen, and family issues both on radio and at workshops and seminars.

She was awarded the TASH Award in Excellence for Public Service in 2006 and was recently asked to serve on the TASH Public Policy Committee. She has also been asked to speak at their 2007 conference.

Isabelle was a Member of the Board of Advisors, an investigator, and researcher for the Emancipation Projejct, working to promote regulation and monitoring of the “teen-help” industry.

Isabelle pursued her education in law and worked in the legal field for 7 1/2 years. Given her strong desire to continue learning, she attended a great number of legal seminars and workshops.

Isabelle was the Founder and President of Positive Solutions (1995 to 1998) providing community workshops for parents, children, and teens, including Mommy and Me, Terrific Twos, Cooking for Kids, Parents and Teens Unite (a coaching program designed to bring parents and teens together and to help them learn new ways to effectively communicate and understand one another); Babysitting Tips for Teens.

During the mid to late 90's, Isabelle volunteered at the bi-annual Summit Meeting for Teens, a program designed to teach teens effective ways to communicate with their parents and to better understand their needs as well as the needs of their parents.

Isabelle has tutored children with learning disabilities and those who needed assistance to meet their potential. She operated a licensed day care providing a safe, loving, and educational environment for young children.


What a few people who know her have to say:

I would like to take a moment to recognize the most dedicated child's advocate I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have known Isabelle for the past 8 years when my young daughter was having difficulty reading. Isabelle was her private tutor and with the most tender approach helped my struggling 2nd grader achieve miraculous advancement in her reading ability. My daughters self esteem in reading was built in whole by the patience and understanding Isabelle used in her technique. In short a wonderful relationship has been built between her and my entire family.

In terms of the teen incarceration efforts that she has displayed as an advocate for freeing both known friends and perfect strangers I have never seen such a gallant effort on any single person’s part. This woman has opened her home and heart working literally thousands of hours of her own time including evenings, weekends, and holidays even when I knew she was completely exhausted. I must also say that she has done this without a single penny of reimbursement to herself. In fact I know she has spent thousands of dollars of her own hard earned money towards this cause. I could never in this short amount of space convey to any person how deeply committed to children and their rights she truly is. What's going on in these facilities is simply horrifying! She has taken each and every child into her heart and has helped numerous families by taking the time to both explain conditions and opening their eyes to the true disgusting conditions these children are being put into.

I am so very proud to know such a dedicated human being. What she has accomplished in a very short amount of time I am sure will help thousands of children and their families. She has touched all of us with her kind actions.

Yours Truly,
Donna Rutherford


Having worked closely with Isabelle Zehnder for some time, I can attest to her deeply held convictions about the rights and well-being of children. She possesses a true zeal for this work that brings her seemingly endless energy, compassion, and empathy.

I cannot think that there are many better advocates for the countless voiceless children and teenagers that have been thrown away into behavior modification camps. She has my trust and respect, and believe that she has the fortitude to continue to work to educate parents, children, and communities about the danger and moral repugnance of these behavior modification programs.

Anthony Suter
Performance Librarian
University of Texas at Austin


In the ten years I have known Isabelle I have never known her to lie and she is always a champion of what is right, especially when it comes to the welfare of children.

I have seen her go to extraordinary lengths in this regard. When she says this needs doing, I believe her.

Judy Hill


Isabelle and I have been neighbors for almost three years. Soon after moving into the neighborhood I was in a serious car accident. She called and came over often to see if I needed anything. I knew I could count on her and from there our friendship flourished.

As a mother, grandmother, and educator of young children I recognize and understand Isabelle’s passion to protect children and their rights. As a society we tend to forget that children have inalienable rights before they turn 18.

Isabelle is trying to make a difference for children in such situations and to educate the public as to these injustices. She is a sincere, caring, trustworthy, and dependable person trying to make a difference in our society.

Friend and neighbor,
Sally Shooter


Isabelle has been a longtime hard working advocate against abuse of Children in the Justice System, and all over the World. Her tireless efforts have exposed the horrible abuse that children have been subjected too in Government, and Private Organizations. She has managed to save lives of many Children and have them released. I have never seen Isabelle neglect to return a phone call, or stay in contact with those she is working with, on problems.

Dawn Chase
Friend and Colleague


Isabelle Zehnder has done amazing work to expose the abuses of the behavior modification industry. She has demonstrated a firm commitment to young people who are being systematically abused and oppressed. What she is doing is incredibly important.

Scott Davidson
Friend and Colleague
National Youth Rights Association