AT News
Archived Issue
Originally emailed 4 October 2005

Attachment Therapy Parenting Cited at Murder Trial

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The trial of Utah residents Richard and Jennete Killpack for the death of their adopted Black daughter is in its third week. Using Attachment Therapy parenting methods, the Killpacks used forced gorging to train five-year-old Cassandra not to sneak sips of juice. On one occasion, after an estimated one to two gallons was forced down Cassandra’s throat, the girl’s brain swelled and she died.

Testimony this week revealed that Jennete employed
Nancy Thomas parenting methods and that these were later okayed by therapists at Orem’s Cascade Center for Family Growth — an Attachment Therapy (AT) center where little Cassandra was enduring a “two-week intensive” (Attachment Therapy) at the time of her demise. Thomas and Cascade have been mutually supportive over the last five years.

AT and “AT Parenting” work hand-in-glove to take AT into the home, immersing children in a 24/7 environment of pseudoscientific concepts and unvalidated treatment. AT Parenting techniques are taught to lay people (respite workers, adoptive and foster parents) and are based largely on deprivation, humiliation, isolation, and excessive chores, excessive exercise and hours of sitting motionless. “Therapeutic foster parents” employing AT parenting have been known to earn over $80,000/year.

Nancy Thomas is currently the foremost popularizer of AT parenting methods. This one-time dog groomer on the western slope of Colorado, with no professional or academic credentials, has parlayed her experience with
Foster Cline, Connell Watkins, Daniel Hughes, and other Attachment Therapists into a worldwide business of books, videos, seminars, and lecture tours on how to recognize and deal with “dangerous,” “attachment disordered” children.

Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT) has gleaned some representative statements from the publicly available writings and utterances of Nancy Thomas. Because of the likelihood that many vulnerable parents may encounter her, we have put them on a
webpage so that the public can see the essence of what Thomas promotes. The direct quotes there are by no means all that we found that is disturbing.

The website also has more information on the
Killpack case.

Caution: links may have aged since this AT News was first emailed.