We talk to people every day who have questions about the Ranch and our kids. This is the first installment of a series, “FAQ about the Ranch.” If you wonder about anything and would like it answered here, please send your questions to t.noteboom@DakotaRanch.org. While we can’t promise we will use your question in a frequently asked questions post right away, we promise to get back to you personally with an answer.
Q: How do kids get to the Ranch?
A: The children who come to the Ranch are trauma survivors. They have endured abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and abandonment. For those reasons, many are in the care of the “state.” Most children who come to one of the Ranch’s Residential Treatment Facilities are referred to us by their county case manager or juvenile court. Most have had lower levels of counseling, out-of-home placements, and other interventions before they reach the Ranch. Unlike our kids at other points in the Ranch history, less than 20% of our children are involved in the juvenile justice system.
Parents—biological, adoptive, and kinship parents—also contact us, usually after they’ve tried everything and are desperate to find help for their child. If their child meets the criteria for care at the Ranch, we welcome the child with open arms.
We work very closely with parents, guardians, and referral sources to determine the best place for the child—whether it’s at the Ranch or elsewhere—and then help them figure out funding options. Because of their custody reality, many of our kids qualify for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary services. Our donors support about 35% of the services provided to every child in care. Friends of the Ranch are what make the difference in the care of these amazing, complicated kids.