By Alan Gionet
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Forty five years after starting with a mission to help some of the worst victims of childhood trauma, Excelsior Youth Center closed its doors on Friday.
The center on a 33 acre campus near Chambers Road and Quincy Avenue in Aurora has been winding down for several years as care models changed and money for helping the most vulnerable declined.
“We understand and deeply regret the impact this decision will have on our communities,” said Excelsior CEO Susan Hebert.
For many years, Excelsior was an in-patient treatment facility and school for girls. In recent years, it began treating boys and changed its model to treat in the community. But money for such treatments has run behind the cost of getting to and from homes and offering services. Medicaid fee-for-service dollars have not covered the cost.
The state has changed its view in recent years of appropriate care for some of the young people, believing in-home is better.
Many of the young people in treatment at Excelsior have been victims of some of the worst society can offer — sex trafficking, abuse violence in the home.
Excelsior offered counseling and a safe place. In a release, Hebert and Excelsior said, “More public dollars are needed for early intervention and prevention of childhood youth trauma. This is the critical direction Colorado state lawmakers need to take to both save lives and lower the much higher costs of ‘downstream services.’”