Colorado Boys Ranch Ending Psychiatric Care

Chuck Thompson, President of Colorado Boys Ranch issued a general announcement to all employees that permanent layoffs for nearly all campus employees will take place between September 6 and the 20th this fall. The Ranch’s psychiatric residential treatment program is being discontinued due mostly to lower census and economic reasons according to the announcement.

The various factors that led to the decision were cited, including:

Medicaid regulations preventing CBR from having more than one type of program on campus, which prevented diversification and increased income.

In a budget move which avoids the cost of psychiatric care, the state uses the lower level of care coupled with short-term hospitalizations. Thompson’s letter stated that statistics indicate this approach is flawed in that it failed to offer proper treatment to hundreds of youths.

Defense Department budget cuts reduced the number of military family referrals. Other states reduced their out-of-state referrals due to budget deficits.

CBR officials have informed state and local officials on the local financial impact made by CBR over its years of operation and ways it can help the state save money. The loss of over 110 jobs will continue to have a negative economic impact on the Lower Arkansas Valley which has already seen job losses with downsized prisons, the closing of the Ft. Lyons prison and continued drought conditions in the Valley whose impact spreads across almost all revenue streams.

Estimates show that CBR generated $35 million on regional spending, wages and benefits and the cumulative impact for the past five years amounts to $180 million.

The letter continued that the closing will also have an impact on mental health needs, stating, “Our society is in the midst of disturbing and growing trends in family disruption, school related problems, suicide, homelessness, obesity, autism and other issues. Society needs capable and seasoned resources like CBR.”

Efforts are underway to find and develop new opportunities for the campus and staff, including a means to help identify new programs and business opportunities that fit the CBR mission and help the local economy.


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