KIDS of El Paso County, Inc. was a long-term adolescent treatment facility located in El Paso, Texas during the mid to late 1980's. Approximately 221 people from twelve to twenty-three years of age were admitted to the El Paso program from the United States, Canada and Mexico. KIDS adopted Synanon's therapeutic community as a model for treatment with a regimen that included immersion in an ultra-confrontational type of peer-guided attack therapy in a group setting for twelve to sixteen hours each day. Treatment duration spanned multiple years in most cases.
The community first learned of controversial practices at KIDS of El Paso from teens who escaped the program and detailed specifics of blackmail, abuse, kidnapping, floor restraints, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation and lack of adequate nutrition. Complaints led to a formal investigation by the State of Texas who conducted confidential one-on-one interviews with twenty-seven KIDS teens. Findings included coercion, abuse, neglect, false imprisonment and fifty-six state regulatory violations. The State of Texas waged a very public battle to close KIDS of El Paso County, Inc., however, the program remained in operation until it filed bankruptcy in 1989.
Additional details regarding the rise and fall of KIDS of El Paso County, Inc. 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.