Ombudsman Office Reacts To Caleb Pacheco's Death

Office Urges People To Call If They Believe Child Is In Danger

The state’s child welfare ombudsman says she wishes she had heard about the Caleb Pacheco case before it was too late.

Becky Miller Updike said she doesn’t know if it would have saved the child, whose body was found under the trailer where his mother lived, but it would have given Caleb a chance to be saved.

“I wish our office could have done something to help,” she said. “We would have immediately contacted the county to see what was going on.”

The office was set up after a series of CALL7 investigations showed gaps in the child protection system that resulted in fatal mistakes.

She cautions that there’s no way to know if the ombudsman could have saved Caleb but, in other instances, they have been able to determine if the county social workers are doing their jobs.

“To sit side by side with them to see what’s going on and how they have responded and what would be an appropriate response if that hasn’t been already done,” she said.

Colorado Department of Human Services executive director Reggie Bicha said he supports an ombudsman who can obtain state records and make an independent decision on the actions of child protection workers.

"They can investigate and hopefully resolve individual concerns, but then we'll also gather that information, systemically to advise us on policy, practice, budget or other issues that we may want to modify in the future to support kids," he said.

The office has a website -- ProtectColoradoChildren.org -- that allows people report to children they believe are in danger.

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