The youths were "cold and dirty" when found, but otherwise appeared unhurt, said Shirley Tiernan, chief of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services child and family services division.
"We've notified the parents, and we're waiting for them to come pick up their children," she
The teens, who Tiernan
said range in age from 13 to 17, apparently were camping on land near the small town of Ramsay, west of Butte.A neighboring land owner called authorities earlier this week after noticing the kids had been there for a number of days with only makeshift shelters from the cold and rain.
Social workers who visited Wednesday reported the kids had very limited food, some of which had spoiled, Tiernan
said.Most of the kids also did not have proper clothing for the weather, she
added.All were taken into custody early Thursday morning, she
said.Two counselors who were with the teens were not detained.
The youths all were enrolled in the High Peaks Wilderness Program, based in Roosevelt, Utah.
Authorities in that state on Thursday won a court order shutting the operation down for alleged violations of licensing and safety requirements.