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NEW RULES: PROPOSALS FOR WILDERNESS PROGRAMS NOW GO TO DIRECTOR OF HUMAN SERVICES. DETAILS WILL BE RELEASED LATER.

SHARE NEW RULES: PROPOSALS FOR WILDERNESS PROGRAMS NOW GO TO DIRECTOR OF HUMAN SERVICES. DETAILS WILL BE RELEASED LATER.

New licensing requirements for wilderness programs for troubled youths were to be completed and presented to Department of Human Services Director Norman G. Angus Friday.

"Specifics could change some," said Ken Stettler, Human Services licensing specialist responsible for adolescent treatment programs. "But we've been working on it all week and we basically have it shaped."The programs have captured public attention following the deaths of two teenage girls in separate programs in the past two months.Michelle Sutton, 15, Pleasanton, Calif., died of dehydration in May while participating in the St. George-based Summit Quest program. Kristen Chase, 16, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., died June 27 while hiking with the Challenger Foundation program in southern Utah. An autopsy report released to Kane County Sheriff Max Jackson Thursday said the girl died of heatstroke. (See accompanying story on A1.)

Representatives from Human Services' Office of Licensing and the Attorney General's Office met late Thursday afternoon to "hammer out details," according to Terry Twitchell, public information officer for the department. Media will have access to the mandates after Angus approves them, probably next week.

Stettler said the proposed regulations include minimum age and training levels for staff members. The state has a list of requirements, like use of equipment, safety and emergency medical assistance that must be part of the training, which must also include a field course.

Programs will be required to create a special form to be used by doctors giving physical examinations prior to admission to the program. The forms must "clearly state the physical demands that will be placed on participants, and the environment."

Screening exams will include urinalysis, blood count, a test for infection, electrolyte screening and an endurance stress test based on the participant's age and weight and the environment in which the program takes place. The physical form - which describes the program - must be signed by a licensed physician no more than 30 days before participation.

There are also provisions for psychiatric evaluation in certain cases.

In the meeting between Human Services officials and the nine wilderness therapeutic programs operating in Utah, program operators agreed to ban hiking by participants between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. when temperatures are 90 degrees and higher. They also promised to closely monitor water intake during periods of exertion. During a meeting Monday, those program operators asked Licensing officials to make the hiking ban part of the regulations.

The 1990 Legislature gave Human Services' Office of Licensing authority to license all youth wilderness programs, including those that do not accept adjudicated youth. Licensing requirements were supposed to be in place July 1.