Ombudsman opens investigation into children's facilities

DENVER (AP) - Colorado's child protection ombudsman has launched an investigation into residential centers for children after a treatment facility in Pueblo was shutdown in September following abuse reports.

The Denver Post reports ombudsman Stephanie Villafuerte on Tuesday announced the probe that will focus on state oversight of the facilities as well as the handling of abuse and neglect reports to caseworkers.

State authorities closed the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch after multiple allegations of severe abuse came to light. All 37 children at the ranch were moved to foster homes, group home or other facilities.

Villafuerte says there are a "number of policy and practice concerns that extend beyond El Pueblo."

Officials expect the investigation to take several months.

Officials at the privately operated ranch did not return the newspaper's calls.

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