Pueblo County Dept. of Social Services talks available programs - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo County Dept. of Social Services talks available programs following El Pueblo shutdown

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It’s been a week since the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch in Pueblo County had its license suspended after reports of abuse.

News 5 broke the story reporting that the facility, which provides care for at-risk kids, is no longer operating.

The state suspended its license, but the move could be permanent.  

For the first time since El Pueblo shut down the Pueblo County Department of Social Services is speaking out on what it wants the community to know moving forward.

On Tuesday, Deputy Director Lee Hodge told News 5 that the department was surprised about the abuse allegations levied against El Pueblo and that it immediately worked to make sure the kids from Pueblo County who were placed at the facility were safe.

Now, Hodge and other employees want people to know that plenty of services are still available for people who need help.

Hodge said, "We want to help guide families to be able to access services and even to lean on each other."

El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch, the only residential provider in the Pueblo community, may be shut down for now.

However, Hodge says it’s just one of many service providers in Pueblo County. In fact, Hodge says the county hasn’t used El Pueblo that much.

"Pueblo County Department of Social Services wants to serve youth in their own homes whenever possible,” said Hodge.

“Our idea is that to remove a child from the home, eventually, they have to come back home and they have to deal with the same situation that led to out-of-home placement."

The deputy director says Pueblo County DSS is contracted with many providers that can hopefully tailor services to fit family culture and family needs.

He says a typical program brings a social worker or therapist into a home to provide services to youth who need help.

"Along with that they serve the parents and hopefully will strengthen the parent’s ability to be able to understand better the youth's behavior…hopefully helping kids to be a better part of the community through the services that we provide."

Hodge says that two kids from Pueblo County were staying at El Pueblo. Both are now back at home and safe.

The county will work with those families as needed.

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