Dakota Family Services and Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Expand Clinical Team

Dakota Family Services and Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Expand Clinical Team

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch and Dakota Family Services recently expanded their clinical teams to better meet the needs of children, adolescents, adults, and families in the Minot area. Joan Zander, LICSW; Tara Schaefer-Nygaard, LCSW; and Dr. Alyssa Weber are all Minot natives who are excited to put their professional skills to work in their home community.


Joan Zander, LICSW

Joan Zander, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, joined Dakota Family Services, Minot, as a therapist providing outpatient counseling to children, adolescents, families and adults.

Zander completed her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of North Dakota. She specializes in serving children, adolescents, and families; and has extensive training in Trauma-informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. 

Zander’s greatest reward as a therapist is helping clients identify the talents they possess to help overcome the obstacles they are facing. 

In her outpatient practice at Dakota Family Services, Zander will accept third-party payments from a number of insurance providers, including Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. To determine if her services are covered under your insurance plan, contact Dakota Family Services at 701-837-6508.


Tara Schaefer-Nygaard, LCSW

Tara Schaefer-Nygaard joined the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch as a Licensed Certified Social Worker. In her new position, she will provide therapy to youth in the residential programs at the Ranch.

Schaefer-Nygaard received her Bachelors of Social Work degree at Minot State University and her Masters of Social Work at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.  She has been in the social work field for 15 years and has had the opportunity to work with families, children, and adolescents in a variety of settings.

 According to Schaefer-Nygaard, the greatest reward of being a therapist is watching clients as they recognize their own resiliency and find their strengths. 

Dr. Alyssa Weber

Dr. Alyssa Weber, a post-doctoral psychology resident, will also provide therapy to youth in residential programs at the Ranch. She will work primarily with the female residents (and their families) of our Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (Butt cottage) in Minot, and will also conduct psychological testing and psycho-sexual evaluations for other residents.

Dr. Weber recently graduated with her Psy.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. She has worked in a variety of settings including residential, inpatient, outpatient, and correctional facilities. She has also worked with a wide range of patients, in terms of both age and diagnoses.


Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves. In addition to Residential Treatment Facilities in Fargo, Bismarck, and Minot, the Ranch provides Outpatient Psychiatric and Psychological Services, and Spiritual Life Programs. Our on-campus school, Dakota Memorial School (DMS), provides a personalized education for kids who have psychiatric, behavioral and trauma issues.

Dakota Family Services is a group of compassionate, practiced experts providing outpatient care—in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary setting—for children and adolescents with complex behavioral health issues. Dakota Family Services was founded by Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch and operates out of clinics on the Ranch’s Minot and Fargo campuses.

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