Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Aspect program collects big money from foreign kids to see America, but where's the oversight?

Exchange student scandal spurs calls for reforms
Sarah Hofius Hall
Jun. 7, 2009
The Times-Tribune

The alleged neglect and financial exploitation of 12 Lackawanna and Luzerne county foreign exchange students revealed a glaring lack of oversight...The call for stronger oversight was spurred by the complaints of a dozen students placed in area homes by Scranton resident Edna Burgette, area coordinator for the San Francisco-based Aspect Foundation. Students reported being placed in filthy homes which were later condemned and being shuffled from home to home, including living in one with ex-convicts. At least one required medical attention for malnutrition...

Numerous requests for an interview with an Aspect representative have been denied...

The students -- who are between the ages of 15 and 18 and come from countries including Nigeria, Denmark, Vietnam, Norway, Tanzania, France and Colombia -- paid Aspect for placement here. One mother reported paying $12,000 for her son to experience life in an American family...

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