Ridge View Youth Services Center Closes After Concerns Over “Repeated License Violations” – CBS Denver
AURORA, Colorado (CBS4)– For 20 years, the Ridge View Youth Services Center, east of Aurora, has provided a home, school and training for boys who have come into conflict with the law. Now the facility has closed after the state failed to renew the license of program operators.
Rite of Passage, who ran the program, calls it a “school, not a prison,” but now Ridge View is an empty house. The 44 young people sent here by the courts have left.
READ MORE: ‘Pray for a miracle’: search continues for Cassondra Stratton, woman with Colorado ties, at the site of Miami-area condo collapse
Kevin Lash’s son Joey ran away from the facility when he learned Ridge View was closing.
“It was his life, he loved it here, it’s a normalized environment with that goal in mind,” he said, unsure of the 17-year-old’s whereabouts now.
After two decades, the state moved to revoke the license for this troubled youth program, citing “concerns about repeated license violations.”
The program told us this includes allegations that a staff member brought in marijuana, sexting by a female staff member, and the use of improper restraint.
Jay Koedam, the program director at Ridge View, told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “We reported them, we took action, we took action for employees, and we took action to keep it safe. this campus. “
The facility is managed by an organization called Rite of Passage. It provides young people sent by courts and counties with charter school education, vocational training, competitive sports and outdoor opportunities.
Dru Holley was part of a gang and was arrested for selling drugs when he was younger. He says another Rite of Passage program turned him into a video producer.
READ MORE: Denver traffic alert: road closures in place downtown ahead of MLB All-Star Week
CBS4 asked him, “Where would you be if you hadn’t been here?”
Holley replied: “I’m afraid to think where I would be – probably locked up.”
State lawmakers visited Ridge View in a final push by the program and council to save it.
State Senator Chris Hansen, a Democrat representing Denver, said: “It was a big decision that was made not to use this facility and not to use the programs here and I really want to understand what the alternative.”
The young people were sent to a secure cell to be sent home later or transferred to other community programs.
Not only are the children of Ridge View now gone, but the action is leaving 100 staff jobless.
Among them was Shawna Madden, a therapist who said, “I thought this was going to be my home forever, but, yes, it’s a tough situation,” as tears formed.
in his eyes.
NO MORE NEWS: Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert visits southern border with former President Donald Trump
Rite of Passage manages some facilities in different states. He is hoping for a 30-day reprieve to resolve the issues.