KIDS Back In Business For Now
El Paso Herald-Post
KIDS of El Paso County Inc. opened its doors Friday. ***, chairman of the board of directors for KIDS, said the center was allowed to open at 4:40 p.m. because of a court order modifying a temporary restraining order issued earlier this week which had forced the closing of the facility. "KIDS of El Paso County can open the facility and provide services for which it is licensed until the conclusion of a hearing on the temporary restraining order," *** said about the modification issued by a court in Travis County. The meeting on the restraining order could be held late next week, he said, adding that the facility will remain open until then. He said many of the patients forced to leave the center Thursday night returned Friday. On Thursday, KIDS complied with a court order issued at the request of the state attorney general's office this week and closed down. Late Thursday night, about 90 clients of the drug rehabilitation program went home with their parents. District Court Judge **** of Travis County issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday to shut down KIDS after reviewing allegations about the program. The allegations stemmed from a nearly year-long investigation into the program by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The program's license was revoked earlier this month as a result of an investigation that revealed 56 deficiencies, mostly dealing with client abuse. The program treats mainly teenagers who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse and behavioral problems. It follows some of the same techniques used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of the complaints against the center, at 6500 Boeing Drive, were that counselors were abusing children, kept patients against their wills, denied patients' privacy and denied mail or telephone privileges. KIDS officials admit some of their methods are tough, but they said it's necessary in order to get the teens to stop using drugs and alcohol.
KIDS to stay open
Center still faces hearing on license
El Paso Herald-Post
KIDS of El Paso County Inc. can remain open for now a district court judge ruled today. When state District Court *** denied the request by the state attorney general's office to temporarily shut down the drug-rehabilitation program, the courtroom packed with parents from El Paso erupted into pandemonium. Some parents burst into tears and embraced each other while others rushed to telephones outside the courtroom to notify their relatives of the decision. The program can remain open until the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse determines whether the center can keep its license. No date has been set for an administrative hearing on that matter, said ***, of the commission. The decision came after 2 1/2 days of testimony. "I don't take lightly the state enforcing it’s obligation to license these places, but I don't believe the state has produced enough evidence to shut down the center immediately,” *** said. ***, attorney for KIDS, and ***, who represented the clients of the program and their parents, argued that the state was attempting to close the center before KIDS had an opportunity to appeal the revocation of its license. *** said that closing the program before the license hearing would deny KIDS due process. Also today, ***, whose son, ***, was sentenced in 1983 to 35 years in prison for murdering his mother, ***, testified that KIDS is the only program that has given *** hope for his drug-addicted children. Not only *** had a history of using drugs. *** also says he has battled his other children's drug problems for more than 20 years. ***, 23, the youngest of *** children, signed himself into the program as recently as two months ago, *** testified. *** began using drugs when he was 11 years old, his father said. The younger *** would break windows tear down doors and rip the furniture in his father's home when under the influence of drugs, according to testimony. He was recently arrested for possession of drugs and jailed for two weeks. He later was admitted into the Thomason Hospital psychiatric ward. Given a choice of going to the state mental hospital in Big Spring or KIDS of El Paso, the younger *** chose KIDS, his father said. "I am confident in *** getting off drugs and leading a productive life if he stays in the program. I am confident that if he comes out he will be back on drugs within 24 hours," *** said. Meanwhile, the national founder of KIDS Centers of America admitted Monday that KIDS of El Paso had abused some of its clients. *** testified that he had recommended that KIDS of El Paso relax its tough techniques. *** cited several incidents in which the El Paso program went beyond its guidelines in handling clients it *** said the problems have now been corrected. The center's license was revoked earlier this month by the Texas Commission of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Newton was one of 11 people to testify at a hearing to determine whether KIDS would remain open.
KIDS can stay open but problems aren't over
Program now fights to keep state license
El Paso Times
An Austin judge ruled Tuesday that KIDS of El Paso County Inc. can remain open. However, the embattled drug and compulsive behavior rehabilitation program still faces a fight to keep its state license to stay in operation. Austin District Judge *** ruled in favor of KIDS after hearing more than 20 hours of testimony. "I do not believe the evidence here justifies the injunction," *** said at the hearing's conclusion. ***, dean of business at the ***, was among the parents who testified on behalf of KIDS and who applauded the ruling. "The judge understood the program is good and refused to take the word of druggies on the street that it's not. Now, we're going to try to repair the damage caused by the interference," *** said. But *** and ***, mothers of two former KIDS patients, said they would testify against KIDS in a future hearing to determine whether the center should keep its license to stay in operation. No date has been set for that hearing. "I came here to get these parents (who support KIDS) to wake up and to see what's happening. I'm sorry they just didn't understand," *** said. State attorneys sought a court order to close the center after the Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse recommended revoking KIDS' license. The commission investigated the center and alleged that KIDS physically abused patients, held them against their will and violated their civil rights. Two weeks ago, Austin Judge *** ordered the center closed. It was closed for one day, and then another Austin judge modified *** order to allow KIDS to remain open pending the outcome of Tuesday's hearing. KIDS now will appeal a Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse recommendation to revoke its license and shut the center down. ***, chairman of the KIDS board of trustees, testified in Tuesday’s court hearing that negative publicity has hurt the El Paso prograrn financially. "Due to the negative publicity, we've gotten no new (patients since April). It was a lot, easier to raise money before. Right now, we are running a deficit of a proximately $28,000 a month," *** said. He said 75 percent of KIDS' finances are raised from client fees for a stay of between one and two years'-- about $700 per month per patient - and the rest, comes from grants and donations. ***, a KIDS trustee, said he was pleased by Tuesday's decision. "The Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse was trying to deprive us of due process by short-circuiting the system." And ***, a KIDS program adviser, said, "The program may be tougher than some people would like, but in some cases such treatment may be required." The Austin court hearing, which lasted 2 1/2 days, included testimony by four former patients and two parents of former patients that KIDS abused patients and held patients against their will. Parents who support KIDS gave vivid accounts of bizarre and violent behavior by children who abused drugs and alcohol before entering the KIDS program. *** and ***, parents of two disgruntled ex-KIDS patients who testified against KIDS, disputed what their children said. ***, who said he donated more than $530,000 to KIDS of El Paso County Inc., had two daughters in the program, *** and ***. *** ran away from KIDS after she turned 18. Her sister completed 'the program about two weeks ago. *** testified Monday she was abused, had participated in the abuse of others, and was held against her will. Concerning *** testified "She' has never been able to tell the truth." "*** has cost me well over $400,000 cash, of my money” in attempts to help her over come her drug compulsion. KIDS officials addressed every complaint of abuse and unusual restraint, saying most such incidents were attempts at controlling violent patients.
Drug Treatment center wins reprieve
State wants KIDS on probation
El Paso Times
KIDS of El Paso a hard nosed treatment program for young drug abusers that was criticized sharply by some former clients, received an apparent two-year reprieve Thursday in its battle to stay open. A hearing officer of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Austin recommended that the center on Boeing Drive be allowed to stay open on two years probation. KIDS board Chairman *** said. The recommendation must go to the full commission for approval. The finding of hearing officer ***, if confirmed would reverse the stand taken by commission investigators who last June called for KIDS to be closed. Branding the program as unnecessarily harsh, the investigators charged it provided clients with inadequate medical care and violated their civil rights. Defenders of KIDS say it's a tough program, but contend it gets problem youngsters who cannot kick their drug habits under more lenient programs. "This pretty much gets KIDS out of limbo," ***, the program's Austin lawyer, said Thursday. "We hope to get back on a normal track, operating and following the terms of the probation." *** specific findings haven't been made public. But *** said she "indicated her biggest concern was lack of professional staff in the treatment program." "She felt there had been some breakdown in supervision. That's something KIDS has recognized and tried to correct," *** said. Complaints against KIDS date from March 1987, when an 18-year-old contended he had been held at the center against his will for two months. He left the center under police escort after a complaint was filed on his behalf. KIDS now is working with 45 to 50 clients, *** said, about half the number in the program a year ago. *** attributed the drop to the transfer of more than 20 clients to a new KIDS center in Southern California and an enrollment slowdown caused by the publicity. KIDS, which is licensed to operate as an intensive outpatient care center, charges just under $700 a month for treatment that for most clients lasts about 18 months.