Posted inCrime and Courts, News, Politics and Government

Colorado’s child protection ombudsman announces new program to review child deaths

The death of a 12-year-old boy who was struck by a vehicle after he ran away from a youth treatment center will be the first child fatality reviewed under a new system announced Thursday by the state’s child protection ombudsman.  Ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte said she intends to fill the gap left by other child fatality […]

Posted inSun Investigation

Colorado may toughen probes into institutional child abuse claims following Colorado Sun/9News investigation

A state child welfare committee will consider changing the way allegations of institutional abuse are investigated at residential centers for troubled kids, following news reports about a chronic runaway problem that resulted in two deaths.  Two state lawmakers, meanwhile, are vowing to strengthen mental health treatment for children and compel the state child welfare division […]

Posted inSun Investigation

With bites, bruises and low pay, caretakers for Colorado’s troubled youth say there’s not enough staff to keep kids — and each other — safe

Olivia Couch followed as the boy hopped two fences and climbed into a drainage ditch filled with water.  Her job was to keep the 12-year-old safe, and protocol at the residential treatment center was to “shadow” children who ran off campus but not restrain or block them. Couch had never given up on sticking with […]

Posted inSun Investigation

The deadly consequences when kids run away from Colorado residential treatment centers

In the places of last resort for Colorado’s most troubled kids, the doors are not locked.  And the children run.  They scale fences and slip through gates. They bolt from staff, who are not allowed to block or restrain them, and they roam city streets for hours or sometimes days.  Children and teens run away […]

Posted inColoradans, Health, News

Denver’s Tennyson Center to close its residential program after runaways, overdoses and child’s death

One of Colorado’s oldest homes for the most troubled foster children is closing its residential program after a series of dangerous lapses in care, including the death of a child who ran away and was struck by a car. Youth at Tennyson Center for Children in northwest Denver were able to break into a drug […]

Posted inOpinion, Opinion Columns

Opinion: Kids heal better in safe homes than in institutional care, but that means challenges

Buckle up, Colorado. Child welfare will ask families to do even more in the coming years. Pressure on families will spike as the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), which aims to place children in nurturing homes instead of residential facilities, kicks off in Colorado.  FFPSA’s groundbreaking legislation means that, starting in October 2021, […]

Posted inOpinion, Opinion Columns

Opinion: The shadow pandemic requires new thinking to help those who need a safe home

As the world has sought safety and protection from the coronavirus pandemic inside our homes, these safe havens are also at the center of domestic violence.  Worldwide, the data is alarming with dramatic increases of calls to domestic abuse hotlines surging by 30-55% in places like the United Kingdom, France and Latin America, and across […]

Posted inOpinion, Opinion Columns

Opinion: Budget cuts create opportunities — child mental health and welfare should advance

Colorado projects a $3.1 billion shortfall this year, and the impact of more than 25% cuts to state spending will be felt across every community in the state. While the Joint Budget Committee is leading us through a necessary process to balance our budgets and stakeholders are pulling out their bullhorns and shifting to defense, […]