El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch (El Pueblo) served children and youth with complex mental and behavioral health needs. During its last six months of operation, reports concerning youth at the facility nearly doubled. When the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) revoked El Pueblo’s license, it cited a list of concerning incidents and more than a dozen repeat violations of state regulations regarding the use of physical restraints, inappropriate discipline and a lack of supervision.
Following the facility’s closure, a concerned citizen contacted the CPO and asked: Why did it take so long to close a facility that was failing to keep children and youth safe? The CPO opened an investigation and spent more than a years studying the complex system and multiple actors tasked with ensuring the well-being and safety of children and youth in residential child care facilities, such as El Pueblo. The CPO’s investigation revealed an ill-defined and strained system that fosters delays and omissions that affect the safety and well-being of some of the states most vulnerable children and youth.