Colorado Closes Youth Center After Licensing Complaints

DENVER (AP) — State officials have closed a residential treatment center in Watkins for troubled children after repeated complaints of licensing violations that include runaways, drugs being smuggled into the facility, lax supervision and repeated use of restraints.

The Colorado Sun reports that officials arrived at Ridge View Youth Services Center just after a high school graduation on Thursday and moved children to other foster care placements. The center offers an on-campus charter school and behavioral health treatment. The Department of Human Services ordered it to close by July 1.

The center, which was caring for fewer than 50 boys, will not have its license renewed because of “repeated licensing violations,” the department said in an email. Ridge View is a state Division of Youth Services center that serves boys with a criminal history.

Jerry Adamek, a center board member, said officials arrived without notice and that students were in class and therapy sessions. Adamek said the center had accepted new youth at the state's request during the pandemic and that it will appeal the closure.

According to records obtained by The Sun through public information laws, Ridge View's license was placed on probationary status in 2018 and 2019. State officials identified 83 potential licensing violations in 2019.