Kids Helping Kids

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Information
Current status Closed
Checked October 8, 2012
Close.gif Closed 1993

Kids Helping Kids is a behavior modification program which was based on Straight, Inc..Straight Inc. was closed in 1993 due to the burden of lawsuits and allegations of abuse. In the past, Kids Helping Kids was located in Hebron, Kentucky on State Route(KY 20),also known as Petersburg Road. This Facility was located at this location throughout the 1980's. In the early 1990's the program relocated to 6070 Branch hill-Guinea pk. Milford, Ohio, where it still operates today. This building in Milford is the same building Straight Inc. used before it's closure.

This facility was owned and operated by Tri-State Drug Rehabilitation and Counseling Programs until they sold it to Pathway Family Center in 2006.

Program structure

The program shares techniques with the program used at Pathway Family Center.

Length of stay / Level system

They use a behavior modification program with 5 phases in the program and an after-case once the teenager is released from the program.

1.Phase one Newcomer
2.Phase two Oldcomer
3.Phase three Oldcomer
4.Phase four Oldcomer
5.Phase Five Oldcomer
6.Six month follow-up / Graduate

Rules

Basic rules for Newcomers (This is not a complete list): I was a newcomer for over five months.

1. Honesty. The first and most important rule. 2. Confidentiality. (No talking about the program to anyone not affiliated) 3. No talking behind backs. (No talking about someone that is not present)
4. No communication via telephone or letter. 5. No communication with police, attorney, or anyone not affiliated with the program. 6. No looking at the opposite sex.
7. No talking to the opposite sex. 8. Strip search and orifice examination upon intake. 9. Correct posture while sitting or standing must be maintained at all times.
10. No talking to your parents until deemed appropriate by the staff. 11. Follow and respect chain of command, (COC) 12. No talking in group.
13. Must write a Moral Inventory (MI) every night. (This includes 2 challenges,"past negative incidents", 3 good points,"good things that day", 5 goals,"short term goals", and a blessing to God). 14. Must discuss MI with oldcomer every night. 15. Must confess to all past negative behavior.
16. Must focus on yourself only when discussing problems. 17. Signal to use the restroom between raps only. 18. No Television.
19. No radio or music. 20. No telephone use. 21. No reading, (with the exception of program material)
22. No looking out the window while being transported to and from the foster home. 23. No reading road signs while being transported. 24. No shoes, until staff decides it is appropriate.
25. Must ask to do anything at the foster home. 26. No talking to other newcomers. 27. Must motivate when asked to do so by staff. (This is a flapping and waving of arms ferociously)
28. Must talk about personal issues in front of the group. 29. Must sit quietly with perfect posture if dropped off early in the morning until 9am when he first rap session starts. 30. No eye games. (No looking directly into someone's eyes as if to communicate)
31. Must sing childrens songs in between raps. 32. Must memorize all program songs and chants. 33. Must admit to being addicted to drugs and alcohol.
34. Must memorize the 12 steps, the five criteria, the three signs and the serenity prayer. 35. Must recite the aforementioned as a group whenever requested by staff. 36. Knock on all doors before entering.
37. No playing off. (this is making a complaint to more than one person) 38. No one enters or leaves group without staff permission. 39. No druggie clothes or druggie ties of any kind (friends or hangouts).
40. No druggie friends in the same foster home. 41. Pay attention to the person talking. (This meant that I was expected to intently listen to and look at the person talking at all times). 42. Newcomers wait 3 days to relate, 14 days to progress.(I spent over 5 months on first phase)
43. No talking in lines or in bathroom. 44. No privacy in the toilet. 45. No privacy in the shower.
46. No privacy at any time on first phase. 47. No asking staff or fifth phasers questions during raps. 48. Dress respectfully, no shirts with decals or letters on them in group.
49. No belts or ties. 50. No playing of any instrument. 51. No music. (Only program songs are sung).
52. No make-up, jewelry, wallets, watches, belts, money or identification. 53. No Mouthwash or Cologne. 54. If you are sick and in need of medical attention in the building, use the chain of command and/or the medication line.
55. No stopping off to or from the building. (This was for foster home parents). 56. No hitchhiking or picking up hitchhikers. (Parents again). 57. Report all possible cop-outs. (Anyone suspected of running away).
58. No talking to cop-outs, terminations or withdrawals. 59. Report all suspicious persons around the building or the foster home. 60. No lifting weights until third phase.
61. Maintain the anonymity of foster parents while on first phase. 62. A parent must be in the foster home with phasers at all times. 63. What I hear in staff office or the lobby remains there.
64. No phasers in file room, staff office, or the executive area without staff permission. 65. No knives, scissors or sharp objects around newcomers. 66. No taking photographs of phasers or parents.
67. Nobody enters or leaves executive rap. 68. No animals in the building. 69. Extracurricular activities- No sports or clubs until fifth phase.
70. No schooling of any kind. 71. Empathy and Sensitivity. (This meant that in all my actions, I was to try and understand the emotional state of those who are relating or around me, and to be able to react to that state in a way that was consistent with the program). 72. The oldcomer is responsible for seeing that the newcomer learns the tools for personal change (steps & signs etc).
73. Oldcomers are responsible for the general supervision of a newcomer. 74. The oldcomer maintains supervision of the newcomer by the belt loop. 75. Oldcomers must sleep in front of the door of the room holding newcomers.
76. During drop-offs insure that clients are inside the destination prior to departing. 77. There are to be no items in a bedroom or bathroom around a newcomer that can be used as a weapon or to get high. 78. All clothes to the building 24 hours after a client leaves your home.
79. Practice the principles of my program daily - Self-disclosure, compulsive confession, secrecy, confrontation, faith in God & KHK and rigid sexual abstinence. 80. Share feelings, relate and confess to the group. 81. At open meeting, Introductions -First name only, age, state that you are a drug addict, how long you have been doing drugs, how long you have been in KHK past- some specific drug using incident and how I felt, present- what I have learned about myself since being in KHK Future- two short term goals and one long term goal.
82. At open meetings, Apply Honesty to my introduction - Since honesty meant full self-disclosure, this rule meant that I should freely admit to my flawed nature and behavior during my introduction. I should be fully self disclosing, but not disclose anything about how the program works. 83. At open meetings, No slang or profanity during my introduction - I was not to use any kind of druggie slang, or any profanity during my introduction. During group we used profanity constantly, but during our introductions to the outside world, not even one word of it. 84. At open meetings, I stand up when my parents stand up - This was when the parents were passing the microphone to talk to their newcomer children each open meeting.
85. At open meetings, phasers say only "I love you" - No other talking out is permitted. 86. Always say, "Love ya (persons name)" after someone is done sharing with the group. 87. No wearing the same clothes to 2 open meetings in a row.
88. Birthdays and anniversaries are for second phase and higher. 89. Report anyone breaking confidentiality. 90. After open meetings, Talk is for Practicing my Amends Step, not for discussing "wants" - During my five minute parent talks as a newcomer I am expected to spend the time making apologies or "changes". I am prohibited from discussing issues such as food or clothing. I can expect to face rigorous confrontation and assault later in the night if I do not conform to this expectation. If I were to start to say I wanted to leave and suggest that we were being abused inside the program, the oldcomer would grab my beltloop and yank me away from my parents.
91. Oldcomers supervise first phaser parent talks. 92. Oldcomers respect that the talk is for the newcomer - Oldcomers are expected to listen closely and pay attention but to avoid being involved in the talk. 93. Must adhere to all program beliefs. (This means everything absolutely)
94. Must believe in God and the Bible, how it is interpreted by the program. 95. No masturbating. 96. Turn away from anyone being restrained.
97. "Time out" was a solitary confinement used when restraining was insufficient to produce conformity. 98. Must memorize all rules and recite them in rules rap. 99. Must participate and complete Physical training every day.
100. Must ask to do anything at foster home such as using toilet paper and always say thank you when given permission or not.

Privileges depended of the level status

Phase Lockdown Host Family Wearing Shoes MUSIC TELEVISION TELEPHONE READING SCHOOL CHURCH
1 YES YES NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
2 YES YES YES NO NO NO NO NO NO
3 YES YES YES NO NO NO YES* YES* NO
4 YES YES YES YES* YES* YES* YES YES* YES*
5 YES YES YES YES* YES* YES* YES YES* YES*
Note: Privileges with a * by them mean that these specific privileges were/are either 
     under strict staffmember watch or restriction and/or able to be utilized only under
     special staff permissions. Lockdown pertains to the "Phaser Room".
   Explanation of a "Phaser Room" : A "Phaser Room" is a room at this facility located
     within the "Host Home" where the clients are to sleep. Generally, this is a room with
     matresses placed on the floor, an alarm on the outside of the bedroom door,  
     as well as, the windows being bolted shut from the outside.

News Reports & Articles

November 13, 2005 - Mark Levine's Radio Inside Scoop

The Bush Crony Who Tortured American Teens Part II

Audio archive: http://server1.whiterosesociety.org/content/levine/InsideScoop11-13-05.mp3

Audio Archive Part I: http://server1.whiterosesociety.org/content/levine/InsideScoop11-10-05.mp3

November 13, 2005 - Excerpt From Hagit Limor's I-Team Investigation

                    WCPO Channel 9 Cincinnati, Ohio

Inside Kids Helping Kids Reported and Web Produced by:

Hagit Limor

WCPO

Photographed by: Anthony Mirones

November 13, 2005

Kids Helping Kids


Hagit Limor narration: WALKER SAYS THE PROGRAM HAS CHANGED OVER TIME, ELIMINATING SOME OF THE EXTREME RESTRAINTS FORMER CLIENTS DESCRIBED TO THE I-TEAM.

Hagit Limor on videotape: "When kids have power over kids, can that be abused?"

Penny Walker on videotape: "It can be. We watch very diligently for that. / What has changed is we don't tolerate violence any more. We used to."


Hagit Limor narration: BOTH THE STATE OF OHIO AND BUTLER COUNTY RECENTLY INVESTIGATED KIDS HELPING KIDS, AND FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT. THE PROGRAM TOUTS SUPPORT FROM LOCAL SENATORS, REPRESENTATIVES AND BUSINESS LEADERS.

1) Survivors Protest Kids Helping Kids, by The Dean of Cincinnati, The Cincinnati Beacon, Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Cincinnati Beacon

Kids Must Stand Up for Their Rights Monday, February 13, 2006

Posted by Derrick D. Blassingame

As many of you may know, I am very concerned about “Kids Helping Kids.” Last Friday while standing with protesters and interviewing many of them, I was moved by the level of concentration these survivors have placed on this issue. For some it has been twenty years since being part of Kids Helping Kids (formerly Straight Inc.) and for many it is as real today as it was twenty years ago.

Normally I try and explore both sides of the issue with the good and the bad. I have spoken with representatives of Kids Helping Kids and have made requests for interviews. This organization is linked with many other cults and they use the same marketing director.

Overall Kids Helping Kids is a dark cult-like organization with a long history of abusing children in the name of recovery! How about Phase One, where contact with the outside world is cut off to other clients in the program? You must leave home and stay at a “host home” where complete strangers act as your parent and guardian. I wonder if any type of sexual or physical abuse has taken place? Giving youth power can sometime lead to all sorts of stunts and explorations. Or how about the “belt loop” (since abandoned in 2004) where everywhere a client goes, another teenager have his hand balled into a fist and wrapped around the child’s belt? Or how about the fact that these children cannot even go to the restroom without another teenager watching them?

KHK Headquarters The building is camouflaged with a storage facility and there were no windows except for the at the entrance. The place was dark and gloomy. A serious gas leak near the building almost knocked me dead! The facility has no windows, other than the main entrance. The entire property is controlled and secured by other teenagers. In the middle of no where, this facility houses many young people with various (alleged) problems. Many insurance companies pay anywhere from $10,000 - $20,000 for treatment! A list of contributers is posted in the lobby area of the facility where I was able to identify National City Bank and Provident Bank as sponsors and supporters of the organization. I could not imagine children being able to make a full recovery from addiction in this facility.

Police Reports Milford Police Department has reported to Kids Helping Kids on numerous occasions. In one report a client states “If he was not taken from KHK he was going to commit suicide.” The officer then had the client transported to the hospital for a “psychiatric evaluation.” The report further states, “Contact with child’s parent left up to KHK.” I cannot believe this! It seems like KHK not only has connections with powerful public officials, but also the police department. If a child reports to police that they are going to commit suicide if they are not removed from an organization or facility for alleged abuse and mistreatment, and then is forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation what does this tell us? Sounds odd to me. And why didn’t MPD contact the child’s parent? Makes me wonder about children’s rights. Have we forgotten about our youth? Or is this such a small organization that has no meaning to YOUR everyday life.

Lets Imagine If this were a black organization and the clients were white. Would you put your child in it? Or, how many white people would tolerate a black organization beating the living lights out of their children? Or even watching their children use the restroom? I wonder.

Take a Stand & Be Counted

This is why I believe kids (teenagers and young adults) must begin to take leadership roles, organize ourselves, and advocate for ourselves. Organizations like KHK reminds me of the old “Child Labor” days; when kids were seen as a way to support their family and another hand to pick cotton. These children had no rights then and as we continue to watch organizations like KHK evolve, they have no rights now. KHK represents the worse in our community. This organization and others like it, sends the wrong messages to our youth. KHK teaches children how to conform to one set of beliefs, practices, and behaviors and is essentially a cult. During an interview outside the facility one “new comer” parent stated that she only receives “one call per week” from her son and was completely alright with it. But I wonder about her son. I wonder if he is “alright” or happy. According to an eye witness Friday after The Dean and I left a “new comer” was leg locked with an “old comer” heading to their host home. This is an “activity” that is suppose to belittle and humiliate the client. During the “host home” the new comer is lead around the house with the old comers hands on both their shoulders. The young lady “held her head down as though she was ashamed and humiliated.” These types of “activities” are suppose to “build character” and “teach discipline” but yet they have so many long term traumatic affects on young people.

Kids have rights! To those who would dare say otherwise is part of the conspiracy to keep young people down and immobilize the great strengths in being a youth. I recall the Walnut Hills students last year who rallied to ban Military Recruiters from recruiting from their school. (source) When young people come together things gets done. But when there individuality and creativity is taken away. it hurts us all. This organization will continue to be under my radar and I hope if any young person have gone through this organization will have enough courage to stand up and fight this institution. We are behind you. Kid Helping Kids reminds me of and old establishment that represents the old way. I am pissed off and you should be to!

The Cincinnati Beacon

Kids Helping Kids: A Cincinnati Beacon/Real Talk Live Ongoing Investigation Saturday, February 11, 2006

Posted by The Dean of Cincinnati

Yesterday, Derrick Blassingame and I drove out to the Kids Helping Kids facility in Milford, Ohio to talk with the protesters and to see what we could learn about the allegations of abuse. What we found were a group of people concerned about the well-being of young people, and a very strange complex hidden from public view filled with workers behaving suspiciously.

We have decided that this issue is important, and that we should do our part to keep the story alive. We’re talking about children here, and I think that trumps political affiliation, or “news of the day.” We have a lot of material: this week we will look over our tapes, and we will broadcast some on Real Talk Live next Friday. Then the rest will be archived online here at The Beacon.

For now, however, I want to share some observations about the facility itself, and an audio file of William Earnshaw from ISAC Corporation talking about their work to force KHK to adhere to certain licensing guidelines.

Firstly, I’d like to emphasize the strange placement and design of the facility itself. The place is surrounded by businesses like tool shops, car repair centers, and a public storage facility. There is no signage to indicate the KHK location—just a lonely driveway winding behind the public storage facility.

But here is the strange thing: if you follow this driveway until you finally get to see the building, you will notice that the architecture is designed to merge with the public storage. The design of the industrial warehouse siding matches almost perfectly with KHK’s neighbor. From the street, you would never guess at the facility’s identity. You would think it more storage.

Why such secrecy?

When we walked into the lobby of KHK, no one was willing to comment on the the protesters. When we started to read a large sign on the lobby’s wall entitled “2004 Contributors,” we were told to leave their private property immediately.

One component of the KHK treatment is to separate children from their parents indefinitely. (Hopefully, in the upcoming weeks, some survivors will write their experiences so we can post that information first-hand. I will also try to digitize our radio interview with a survivor and post it soon.) Those newly enrolled are evaluated, screamed at, and physically abused by untrained teeenagers who are also part of the “rehabilitation.”

Then, in evenings, these kids are forced to go live at a “host home,” which means staying with complete strangers—with no contact to the outside world.

According to William Earnshaw, these “host homes” are foster homes—and they should be licensed as such.

Listen to Earnshaw discuss his organizations recent work to force KHK to comply with licensing guidelines, and KHK’s refusal to comply so far: Listen to this @: http://www.cincinnatibeacon.com/media/khkfoster.mp3

Complaints

Kids Helping Kids/ A Pathway Family Center, located at 6970 Branch-Hill guinea Pike in Milford, Ohio needs to be investigated and I will tell you why:

Towards the ending of 2005, Three people(survivors of Kids helping kids) filed complaints against the program and it's still current director Penny Walker. In one of those complaints the complainant reported that she had been sexually molested in Kids Helping Kids by a female oldcomer at the time in 1989 at the Hebron Kentucky Facility. The complainant also reported that she had brought this to numerous staff members attention including the director Penny Walker, and instead of calling the police so that the girl could file a formal complaint, Penny Walker directed her staff to threaten the girl to not graduate unless she stood up in group therapy(which means in front of the guys side* the girls side) to graphically relay the whole incident to the group. The girl was also threatened to not graduate by staff members under Penny Walker's direction unless she told her mother what had happened.

This same girl had also reported witnessing physical abuse of other clients by staff members, as well as emotional abuse by staff members to other clients and reported this in her complaint to ODADAS(Ohio Dept. Of Alchol Drug Addiction Services).

The second claimant, also a female survivor of Kids Helping Kids, in Hebron Kentucky, reported witnessing physical abuse and emotional abuse at same said program under the same direction of Penny Walker. This claimant also had reported being physically & emotionally abused by staff members under Penny Walkers direction as well.

The third claimant who attended the Milford, Ohio branch of Kids helping Kids in 2003, also reported being physically & psychologically abused by staff member and other clients under Penny Walker's direction.

All of the clamaints reported being physically* emotionally/psychologically abused by staff & other clients under the direction of Penny Walker(program director).


Investigations were based soley on Penny Walkers answers to their questions, as well as an unthorough investigation done by a CPS worker from two years prior. ODADAS did not do their own thorough investigation. ODADAS, Division of Quality Assurance found 38 deficiencies during an inspection but re-certified Kids Helping Kids, despite the utterly poor review, on January 21st 2005.

Public protest november 30, 2007

On november 30, 2007 survivors of the programs runned from the building (Straight and Kids-helping-kids) were protesting. [1]

References

  • Romney, Torture, and Teens, The former governor's connections to abusive "tough love" camps, by Maia Szalavitz, Reason Magazine, June 27 - 2007

External Links