This website describes the establishment of Liberty Youth Ranch, a long-term children's residential group home for Florida's orphaned, abused, abandoned, neglected, and homeless children, designed to ensure each child's education and eventual high school graduation with a strong emphasis being placed on the uniqueness and inherent worth of each child.
The ranch will offer a nurturing home environment with a highly trained staff to meet the spiritual, academic, physical, and unique needs of the children. We will enable the children to receive a quality education, develop appropriate social skills and self-esteem, and receive individual and group counseling. The program is goal-oriented with a focus on responsibility and accountability.
Liberty Youth Ranch was established to meet an overwhelming need in America, and particularly, in Southwest Florida. Currently, there are numerous temporary facilities and social service organizations, such as emergency shelters, in Florida, serving children only for the short-term until they can be placed in the state foster care system, or, in rare cases, be adopted. But the state foster care system is overwhelmed. Children are being moved, on the average, in and out of five to seven foster care homes prior to their high school graduation, each time chipping away at their self esteem and sense of belonging.
A group home structure ensures a stable, nurturing environment that develops the emotional, behavioral, social, spiritual, and educational skills of children. Setting the ranch in a semi-agricultural area nearby a metropolitan area affords opportunities for community involvement. Candidates for this program are children between the ages of 4 and 17 who are truly destitute and face seemingly insurmountable challenges.
The primary target: orphaned, abused, abandoned, neglected, and homeless children–children who have little hope of reconciliation with their parents, are in need of a loving home, and who need to have the opportunity simply to be children. Liberty Youth Ranch will always remain committed to providing services to this vulnerable and important group. These children desperately need a comfortable, stable, structured and supportive living environment. They may have demonstrated an inability to function and handle the emotional demands of a foster home.
Liberty Youth Ranch will be positioned on a 156-acre site. Upon completion of 6 home-like cottages, the population will ultimately total 48 children who live year-round on the Ranch. Each cottage will be carefully designed to create a community, not an institutionalized setting. Athletic fields and a fully-equipped gymnasium will support active participation in a variety of sports and recreational activities. As a regular part of the day at the Ranch, residents will learn all aspects of life with horses, from grooming and tack, to animal psychology, biology, care, and daily horseback riding. This will enable the children to increase psychosocial development, coping skills, and self-esteem. Many times this is the first exposure the child has to real trust and responsibility - caring for another life in a way that promotes positive child development.