Commission hasn't changed stand
The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse hasn’t changed its mind about closing KIDS of El Paso County. ***, the commission's executive director in Austin said Friday that a June 28 court ruling that canceled an injunction against KIDS has no bearing on an earlier commission decision to revoke the center's license. A district judge ordered KIDS to close June 14. Three days later, a different judge modified the closing order to permit KIDS to stay open pending outcome of an injunction court hearing June 23, 27, and 28. District Judge *** of Austin canceled the injunction against KIDS June 28. The commission revoked KIDS' operating license June 2 after state investigators alleged that KIDS abused clients, held them against their will and violated their civil rights. *** said KIDS challenged the revocation and filed an administrative appeal to get its license back. "KIDS can legally continue to operate until the administrative hearing is completed," *** said. ***, spokeswoman for KIDS, said Friday that the recent court hearing helped to strengthen support for the program. "We are still planning to continue with the administrative appeal. As far as I know, we are not going to make any changes in our program. Our program works, and if change it, that would affect success rate," *** said. The rehabilitation center treats adolescents with compulsive behavior disorders, such drug and alcohol addiction, bulimia and anorexia nervosa. *** said the commission will select a hearing officer the administrative appeal the near future. Once that is done, a date for the hearing will be set. The hearing officer can recommend to uphold, deny, amend the June 2 revocation recommendation. If KIDS is not happy with the commission’s final action, it can appeal through the civil courts. In any event, Dixon said, KIDS can continue to operate until all civil and legal measures are exhausted. Witnesses who testified against KIDS during the Austin court hearing said fear was used to motivate patients and their parents to stay in the program; patients were abused and held against their will, and some patients were denied medical care. Proponents of the program testified that disgruntled people who complained about the program lied, distorted or exaggerated about what took place during treatment. Testimony indicated that many KIDS patients began abusing drugs and alcohol when they were as young as 10. Witnesses also said many KIDS patients are from middle-class and upper middle-class families. "This is the only time the commission has sought injunctive relief against such a facility in Texas," *** said. *** said the injunction was sought to prevent any harm to current patients, but the judge who presided over the injunction hearing said he found no evidence of imminent danger to patients. About 70 El Paso KIDS supporters attended the last day of the court hearing in Austin, culminating 2 1/2 days of emotional testimony by some witnesses. About 30 people testified. KIDS was started two years ago in El Paso by a group of parents who liked the way KIDS of Bergen County in Hackensack, NJ, operated. The El Paso program is modeled after KIDS of America Inc., which was started by ***. A third KIDS affiliate recently opened in Yorba Linda, Calif.