A History of Hope and Healing

Shayne Rancher by Jason Masters

Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches has a long history of caring for children. Founded by the Sheriffs of Arkansas in 1976, ASYR provides hope and healing for children, who through no fault of their own, need a place to call home. ASYR’s mission is to address, remedy and prevent child abuse and neglect by creating safe, healthy homes for children.

Over the past 46 years, ASYR has provided safe, healthy, long-term homes for more than 2,200 boys and girls from every corner of the state. At the ASYR, children find much more than a warm bed and three meals a day. ASYR’s transformative family-style foster care program offers children a second chance at being a kid and a home where a child can grow into a loving, caring and responsible young man or woman.

Arkansas’s Foster Care Crisis

In 2015, Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a foster care crisis for the state of Arkansas. At the height of the crisis in 2016, there were approximately 5,200 children in the foster care system at one time. Each year since, the number of Arkansas children in foster care has averaged 4,634. Even though in 2018 the Families First Prevention Services Act placed an emphasis on keeping children out of foster care and keeping them within the family, the decrease of children entering the foster care has been negligible.

At the same time, the number of foster parents in Arkansas has not been able to keep up with the demand, with only around 1,600 foster homes in the state, roughly half the number of homes needed to meet the demand. The state is also understaffed when it comes to case workers, who are overburdened with the number of cases they are expected to manage.

All of this means that vulnerable children are remaining in abusive homes and environments that are unhealthy for their development, which causes further trauma by a system that is supposed to protect their welfare.

The Need is Great

ASYR currently receives an average of 20 calls per week looking for placement for foster children. ASYR also typically has a waiting list of 12 children needing placement. To accommodate these children, and to do our part to fight the foster care crisis, ASYR needs to build a new home and hire additional staff. With a new cottage, ASYR will be able to house up to eight additional children at a time and increase the organization’s capacity to serve more children each year.

ASYR has worked with an architect to design a new 5,080 square foot cottage. This new open floorplan will be an ideal setting to allow each child the space and privacy needed to live comfortably. The new floorplan will also give houseparents maximum visibility of the home to keep children safe and provide better support of the children.

The architect estimates the new construction will cost between $150-$175 per spare foot to build for a total of $760,000 to $890,000. ASYR’s board has set a goal of $1,000,000 to build and furnish the new cottage and hire new houseparents.

Build a Home. Build up Children in Need.

You can join the fight to overcome the foster care crisis in Arkansas with a gift to build a new home at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. A gift of any amount is appreciated and will help us reach our capital campaign goal to provide a new safe, loving home for Arkansas children. Click here to make your gift today.

Other ways you can get involved:

  • Make a multi-year campaign pledge
  • Schedule a tour of the Ranch
  • Schedule a speaker for your group to hear the Ranch story
  • Become a “Hope Builder” by committing to a monthly gift

If you would like additional information or to discuss other giving options, contact ASYR Chief Development Officer Matthew Cleveland at 501-940-3440 or matt@youthranches.com.