KIDS of El Paso County Inc. was a controversial long-term adolescent treatment facility located in far west Texas during the latter part of the Reagan Administration when the war on drugs was front and center in American culture. During the mid to late 1980's over two-hundred teens were admitted, voluntarily and involuntarily, to the El Paso program from the United States, Canada and Mexico. The KIDS program adopted Synanon's therapeutic community as a model for treatment and the daily regimen included ultra-confrontational peer guided group therapy raps, "attack therapy," administered in a highly structured treatment milieu which lasted years in duration for most teens.
The local community initially learned of controversial practices at KIDS from teens who escaped the El Paso program and detailed specific allegations of abuse, kidnapping, floor restraints, sexual humiliation, sleep and nutritional deprivation. The developing controversy led to an investigation by the State of Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA), a state of Texas regulatory agency, who conducted confidential interviews with twenty-seven KIDS of El Paso teens. State investigation findings included coercion, abuse, neglect, false imprisonment and over fifty different state regulatory violations. Despite many diligent efforts to force the program to close, KIDS of El Paso remained open and in operation throughout probationary periods, appeals and temporary injunctions. The KIDS of El Paso program filed for chapter seven bankruptcy in 1989.
Additional information regarding the rise and fall of the KIDS of El Paso program can be found here.
If you were in the KIDS of El Paso program and/or would like to learn more please send an email to the link below.