KIDS of El Paso was an adolescent treatment facility located in El Paso, Texas from 1986 to 1989 founded by Miller Newton. During its time in operation the KIDS of El Paso program had in loco parentis status of approximately 225 young adults 12 to 23 years of age from the United States, Canada and Mexico for treatment of reported substance abuse, eating and behavioral related disorders.
KIDS of El Paso's rehabilitation techniques included a peer guided type of confrontational group therapy which consisted of rap sessions that lasted up to 16 hours each day. Treatment was years in duration for most teens. When the community learned of the reported use of coercive techniques, seclusion, deprivation, humiliation and physical restraint, the program was dubbed a "harmful mind control cult" and "worse than prison" by reports in the local media.
The State of Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) initiated an inquiry and KIDS of El Paso teens were interviewed by state investigators. False imprisonment, coercion, neglect, physical abuse and the violation of 56 different state regulations were specified in investigation reports. Allegations of brainwashing and multiple suicides added to the KIDS controversy. The State of Texas waged a very public battle to close the El Paso program. Despite adverse actions, probationary periods, temporary injunctions and multiple appeals KIDS remained in operation until the program filed for bankruptcy in October 1989.
A history of the KIDS of El Paso program dating back to Synanon, the progenitor of contemporary rehabilitation cults, can be found here.
There are media projects pending to tell more about the KIDS of El Paso story. If you were in the KIDS of El Paso program, please take a moment to email the webmaster using the link above for more information.
This site is informational in nature and is not intended to be therapeutic. The high correlation between suicide and former program teens is unfortunate. If you were in KIDS of El Paso and have thought of suicide please seek immediate professional help or contact 1-800-SUICIDE.