A state audit has found that counties aren't properly conducting background checks before placing children in the care of relatives.

The Colorado Department of Human Services found that only 65 percent of the required checks were done statewide. KMGH-TV reported that some smaller rural counties, including Delta, Rio Grande and Archuleta, performed a quarter or less of the checks. Weld, Broomfield and Crowley were among the best for doing checks.

The audit is the first of its kind and was done in response to the station's report about how Denver placed four children with a registered sex offender and then a convicted child abuser.

The department's Julie Krow says auditors often had to stop their work to contact counties with missing checks to make sure children were safe.