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KidsPeace is a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, families and communities. Founded in 1882, KidsPeace provides a unique psychiatric hospital, a comprehensive range of residential treatment programs, accredited educational services and a variety of community-based treatment programs and foster care and community programs to give hope, help and healing to children, families and communities
KidsPeace offers services in Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
KidsPeace was founded by the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation William Thurston, in response to a smallpox epidemic that had left many children in the area homeless. In 1895, Captain James Wiley donated a Salisbury Township home and 6 acres (24,000 m2) of surrounding land to the charity. Afterwards, the organization came to be known as "Wiley House" and remained so for many years, until it officially changed its name to "KidsPeace" in January 1992.
The largest KidsPeace facility is the Orchard Hills Campus located in Orefield, Pennsylvania, outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania. It is a 262-acre (106 ha) campus with such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a ropes course, an apple orchard, playgrounds, a gym with wrap-around track, driving range, multiple athletic fields, recreation lounges and more. To educate the children, KidsPeace utilizes its own private schools, staffed with specially trained teachers. There are schools both on and off campus to provide educational services to residential clients and students receiving community treatment services.
According to its official website, there were 8,628 children in KidsPeace programs/centers in 2005 and over 2,000 children’s professionals were trained at the KidsPeace Institute that same year. KidsPeace is one of America's oldest children's charities and has treated over 140,000 children in need since 1882.
KidsPeace is accredited by The Joint Commission in Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Other accreditations include the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
KidsPeace does not discriminate in regard to admissions in terms of sex, race, creed, color, national origin, LEP (Limited English Proficiency), religious beliefs, disabilities or handicapping conditions.
In 1993, Dean Sine, a counselor in the Orefield, Pennsylvania facility, restrained a 12-year-old boy by sitting on his buttocks and then lower back. The boy reported that he couldn't breathe, but the restraint was continued until after the boy was unresponsive, when it was discovered that the boy had stopped breathing. Resuscitation attempts failed, and the counselor was subsequently charged and acquitted of homicide in criminal court in 1995. KidsPeace was also sued regarding the incident, and settled out of court for over $1 million.. The boy had previously claimed to have been raped by adult men in KidsPeace, resulting in his family trying to remove him from KidPeace's care. This claim was supported by court documents showing that KidPeace was aware of rectal injuries to the 12-year-old, but declined to report them to authorities.
In August 2003, Dean Sine pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old boy in 1994. KidsPeace declined to comment on whether Sine was an employee at the time of the incident.
In 2007, admissions to KidsPeace were halted by state officials due to seven children sustaining broken bones while being restrained by KidsPeace staff. Admissions resumed in December 2007.
In April 2008, two 16-year-old girls accessed a counselor's supply of methadone pills in her car. The girls took a total of 28 pills, resulting in one girl fatally overdosing and another being partially paralyzed. The girls were being given a ride home from a group home for children with drug problems.
As of 2010, the pension plan for KidsPeace was underfunded by $42 million. In January 2012, KidsPeace failed to make a $1.4 million bond payment. In March 2012, a lien was filed against KidsPeace for failing to contribute $3 million to its retirement plan. As a partial result, Moody's downgraded KidPeace's bond rating to a C.
Executives at KidsPeace receive salaries and compensation of up to $413,729 per year.