Inside the Psychiatric Hospitals Where Foster Kids Are a “Gold Mine”

Katrina Edwards was first admitted to a UHS facility at age 12. Ash Adams

How a scandal-plagued health care giant profits off a failing child welfare system.

The first time Katrina Edwards was locked in a psychiatric hospital for children, she was sure a foster parent would pick her up the next day.

It was a spring night in 2012 when Edwards, then 12 years old, was admitted to North Star Behavioral Health in Anchorage. In a photo taken upon her arrival, Edwards wears an Abercrombie hoodie and has dark circles under her eyes, her expression skeptical. During her initial evaluation, a psychiatrist asked a battery of questions, including what Edwards wanted to be when she grew up (a police officer), what she did for fun (sports), and how she slept (poorly, with nightmares).

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