Life on the Ranch:  A Place to Call Home

For over 40 years, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches have provided hope and healing for children who, through no fault of their own, need a place to call home.

It’s a place of stability, where a child doesn’t have to wonder where her next meal will come from, if he will go to school the next day, or if she is safe from an abusive family member.

It’s a place where a child receives a second chance to be a kid. Our boys and girls are raised in a group foster home setting with up to eight children in each cottage. Children at the Ranch receive much more than a warm bed and three cafeteria-style meals a day. Our boys and girls receive what we believe is the birthright of every child—the right to proper health care, educational opportunities, and a loving, safe home environment with people who care—not only for them—but about them, as well.

Ranch boys and girls also have the opportunity to gain real-life experience working on our farm. These young Ranchers (those living on the Ranch) are helping raise registered Hereford cows in our cattle program. The ASYR cattle program is helping children grow into loving, caring, and responsible young men and women.

The Ranch is place where Saturday afternoon’s are spent with a fishing pole and a tire swing.  A place where dinner’s on the table shortly before sundown, and feeding the horses is soon to follow.  Every day here offers a reason to give thanks.

More than 1,300 Arkansas boys and girls have come to know this as “Life on the Ranch,” and for many, it’s the place they call home. Life on the Ranch teaches behavioral accountability, positive work ethic and how to find faith in both yourself and others. Ranchers live in a cottage setting with house parents and other children and are given daily chores and responsibilities, some involving care for animals in our farm program.

Each child is guaranteed a quality public school education, and the Ranch provides all the necessities – school supplies, technological infrastructure, and tutoring – to help them reach their goal of graduation from high school and a post-secondary education or work program.

The Ranch began as a mobile home on several acres in Independence County.  Through the support of Arkansans, the program has grown and has served children from every corner of the state. What began as a safe haven for two boys has become current home for 40 boys and girls. It costs approximately $30,000 to care for a child on an annual basis, and 95% of that money comes from private donations.