The 11 youths taken Friday from a private Valley Center school, Rainbow Ranch, have been released from the county's Hillcrest Receiving Home and turned over to their parents while the investigation into allegations of abuse at the school continues, officials said Monday.
Lana Willingham, deputy director of the county's Department of Social Services, said investigators "are looking at the appropriateness of the parents' response to the situation once they learn of the sort of discipline that occurred at the ranch."
Two boys who ran away from the school complained to The Times that the school's Christian education was "brainwashing" and that those who resisted were harshly punished.
Willingham said her department is working with sheriff's deputies and state licensing agencies in the investigation.
"As near as we can determine, the facility was not licensed, but we're still trying to determine who has authority over the school," Willingham said.
Marilyn Laurence, a department spokesman, said each of the 11 children was interviewed at length by social workers, who now are "evaluating the information."