Parents' reactions mixed about program's methods
KIDS of El Paso County Inc. has shut its doors. About 90 clients of the drug rehabilitation program went home with their parents Thursday night. ***, chairman of the board of directors for KIDS, said the program was complying with a court order issued at the request of the state attorney general's office this week. "There are going to be drug-using kids on the streets tonight - a lot of kids," *** said Thursday. District Court Judge *** of Travis County issued a temporary injunction against KIDS Tuesday after reviewing allegations about the program. The allegations stemmed from a nearly yearlong investigation into the program by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. ***, executive director of the Austin-based state agency, revoked the program's license earlier this month. The revocation was the result of an investigation that revealed 56 deficiencies, mostly dealing with client abuse. Follow-up inspections showed that program officials had failed to correct the violations, according to commission investigators. *** said the commission's reports were "unfactual and unfair." "KIDS is a program of love and care," he said. "There are some very hard accusations being made by some people out there who do not like the program for unknown reasons." The program backed by prominent and influential El Pasoans, uses strong-arm methods to turn teens around. It follows some techniques used by Alcoholics Anonymous. The 2-year-old program has been the target of complaints since last year. ***, a local attorney, filed a false imprisonment complaint with the El Paso Police Department against KIDS in March 1987. ***, then 18, was released from the program after *** obtained a search warrant and had two police officers escort *** out of the building at 6500K Boeing Drive. Since then, many clients of the program have been pulled out of the program by their parents or have run away. A woman whose 16-year-old daughter was enrolled in the program until Thursday said she was relieved to see KIDS shut down. However, the father of a 16-year-old boy said he was opposed to the center closing. Both parents asked that their names not be printed "I'm glad it's happening, my child will be back home, and I'll be able to find out firsthand what's been going on with her life. “I know that there were things going on in the program that shouldn't have been allowed to happen," the woman said. The man said, "The program was working great my son. He was in for about a year. Now, he could start sniffing spray paint, doing cocaine and burglarizing homes again." ***, an attorney for, KIDS in Austin who filed a motion Thursday morning to keep the program in business, said the attorney general's office acted wrongfully. The state office didn't contact her before obtaining the temporary restraining order, she said. "It is a shameful abuse and miscarriage of justice for the attorney general's office to have ramroded something like this through. “This is frontier justice. It is clearly an attempt to put my client out of business," *** said. *** with the attorney general's office said the state agency will try to obtain another order to close KIDS permanently during a hearing set for Tuesday in Austin. The decision whether to close KIDS rests with the court, *** said.