Ranch Update – February 2020
2019 was an unprecedented year, with 50% (14) of the boys we had leaving successfully by reintegrating back with their families. This is unusually high. Of those 14, six completed the program within the last two weeks of December, which presented the challenge of refilling our empty beds during the holiday season. As of now, we are back up to our current maximum population of 21 residents.
2020 is beginning with another positive change in that we are now having more than 50% of our boys go to public schools. We are very excited for this change because our boys are gaining access to more classes, extracurriculars and social involvement than ever before. We are also on the verge of opening house 4. Our plans are to open up house 4 the first week of February and begin to receive boys there. Once house four is reopened, we will have a new maximum population of 28.
Finally, we are petitioning DCF for an amendment to the KPBR operating license. This amendment, if accepted, will allow the boys ranch to reinstate the overnight/emergency placement program. Lord willing and state permitting, this program would allow us to house foster boys who simply need a place to sleep. This effort would serve a need that our case management providers have as well as being just one more means to minister to teen boys in need.
Youth Horizons is also launching a new Transitional Living Program (TLP) on the same campus as the Boys Ranch. Jeff Busenitz, a past staff at the Boys Ranch, has been hired to head up the program. Together with James Bazil and John Haag, Jeff is working to establish the aim and details of the TLP program. Next steps will include getting a new policy manual, staffing plan, safety plan and obtain the service agreement/licensure through DCF. These items are currently in development, but February will see the opening of this facility with the capacity to house and help six teens who are getting ready to age out of the foster care system.