A center for kids with severe behavioral and psychiatric problems was ordered to close its doors in 2017 — but not until 243 reports of suspected abuse and neglect were filed in the span of a year, according to an investigation released Tuesday by the state’s child protection ombudsman.

The delay allowed children and teens to suffer repeated abuse, often committed by staff members who had faced previous accusations. The allegations involved aggressive restraint tactics, bruises and lack of food, the review found.

The last 37 children and teenagers who lived at El Pueblo Boys & Girls Ranch left for foster homes or returned to their parents almost two years ago, and the 56-acre ranch remains closed. But the new report from the state’s independent monitor of the child welfare system focuses on this question: Why did it take so long?

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