Colorado has shuttered a privately run residential center for youth with serious behavioral problems after years of scrutiny in the wake of repeated allegations of licensing violations including the smuggling of drugs, violence and improper use of restraints.
Announcing that the state Department of Human Services would close the Ridge View Youth Services Center in Watkins by July 1, officials showed up in late June without notice and began removing the fewer than 50 residents.
Ridge View, a facility run by contractor Rite of Passage under the department’s Division of Youth Services, provides schooling and behavioral health services to boys with juvenile justice histories or experience in the child welfare care system.
According to a Department of Human Services email, it will not renew the facility’s license because of “repeated licensing violations,” the Colorado Sun reported.
Records obtained by the Sun show that Ridge View had been under intense scrutiny by the state licensing division since at least 2018. In 2019, state regulators identified 83 potential licensing violations, including that illicit drugs, such as LSD, spice and Xanax, were smuggled into the facility.
Other complaints involved runaways, lax supervision, fights between youth and inappropriate use of restraints, or physical altercations between staff and kids.
The state was scrambling to find other placements for the residents of Ridge View, which is located about 25 miles east of Denver. Twenty-four youngsters were to be sent to secure youth corrections facilities, while the remaining 19 youth were to be placed in foster care by the counties they came from by July 1, said Mark Techmeyer, the state department spokesman.
A member of the Ridge View board, Jerry Adamek, said contractor Rite of Passage was “shocked and disappointed” at the state’s move and would appeal it.