How Our Program Works
Our core program, scheduled to begin by Summer, 2017, will place young people age 15-18 with volunteer host families on their farms or ranches for a summer or longer, where they will live, work, and disengage. During the program, they will be given the opportunity to receive counseling by a local counselor or continue to work with their home counselor.
Using criteria developed in part by the foster parenting community, our team identifies, screens and trains host farm and ranch families from across the nation who volunteer to host a teen in need. The teens we serve will be treated by their hosts as guests, as family, as part of the team, and expected to do the same chores and live the same lifestyle their peers who grow up on those farms do every day.
Using a screening protocol developed by our Advisory Committee, we review applicants to ensure their fit for this program. A letter from an attending and qualified psychiatrist endorsing the program is required as part of the application process.
Once a host family has been approved, our team reaches out in that community to identify and secure the services of a local mental health professional who will see the teen weekly during the stay, and become part of a key, four-part team which also included the attending physician at home, our staff and the parents.
Our program offers a holistic approach which is designed to provide teens an environment which may:
- Relieve stress and anxiety within the teen and his caregivers,
- Reduce the reliance on medication
- Reduce costs of treatment, and the explosive costs associated with crisis
- Reduce and avoid conflicts with the criminal justice system and other adverse outcomes
- Stabilize the teen in hopes of increasing the effectiveness of treatment
"While we try to teach our children all about life, the farm teaches us what life's all about."