- KIDS of El Paso, P.O. Box 9069 (street address withheld upon request); 772-5437.
- Average length of stay: 12 to 15 months
- Price: $600 a month.
KIDS of' El Paso - an offshoot of the highly successful KIDS of Bergen County, N.J., clinic - is big on tough love. The five-phase treatment plan, based oil the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, opens with the assertion that the child in question "has blown the right to be trusted. Fellow patients further along in the program, which often lasts more than a year, are given the task of going through a newcomer's suitcase. The “oldcomers" will know where to look for hidden drugs. During the first phase, newcomers are led around the clinic by oldcomers who grab hold of their belt loops. The new patients spend most of this 45-day phase talking about their particular problem. This rather harsh treatment is designed to hasten the patient toward the second phase, in which he acknowledges that the problem will haunt him for the rest of his life. "We work largely on the principle of reverse peer pressure," said ***, who, along with her husband Mike, runs KIDS of El Paso. There's no Ping-Pong, no country club atmosphere." Phase three is a mini graduation of' sorts, in which a patient is granted permission to return to school or work, although he or she is committed to spending 6 to 9 p.m. daily at the clinic, At 9 p.m., the patient returns home with a newcomer. Herein lies the program's distinguishing mark. Parents are required to participate in not only their child's treatment but also in that of another patient. Parents of patients who have reached phase three provide a "host home" for a new patient. This concept is especially, beneficial to the oldcomer, *** said, because he uses his experience in overcoming his problem to help the newcomer. Phase four lasts at least 90 days, and focuses on the constructive use, of leisure time and making quality relationships with "straight" people, *** said. By the time a patient reaches phase Five, *** said he or she is an example to newcomers who spends most of his time helping the staff out. At this point, they’re giving back to the group what they got out of it."