This has been the Ranch’s belief since its creation in 1976. Many of the children who come to the Ranch are often the product of a broken home of abuse and neglect, lacking the nurturing relationship of a loving family. The Ranch provides a healthy home environment filled with emotional support to help each child learn to trust those around them and cope with their emotions, all the while learning responsibility and building self confidence. The Ranch’s mission is to address, remedy, and prevent child abuse and neglect by creating safe, healthy, and permanent homes for children.
When children enter the Ranch, they are surrounded with individuals who care about their immediate needs and their future aspirations. It is the Ranch’s commitment to every child – a commitment that extends from the Board of Directors to management personnel, administrative staff, house parents, support staff and volunteers – to help them believe in themselves and lead fulfilling, meaningful lives. Residents may stay at the Ranch through post-secondary education until they are socially and financially prepared for independence and have stable employment. More than 1,200 boys and girls have experienced life at the Ranch, and for those and many in the future, the Ranch will always be a place to call home.
The Ranch began as two mobile homes on several acres in Independence County in 1976. Through the support of Arkansans and the state’s county sheriffs, the program has expanded to serve children from every corner of the state. What began as a safe haven for two boys has provided more than 1,300 Arkansas boys and girls with a place to always call home. Read more on our history in the Arkansas History Encyclopedia.
Arkansas’s county sheriffs have played an important role throughout the Ranch’s history and continue that support today. The idea to begin the Ranch started with a couple of concerned and disappointed sheriffs who had helped place boys in residential homes that weren’t providing satisfactory care. Their idea grew and was soon presented to members of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association, asking for their support to develop a home for children that would rely solely on the generosity of Arkansans.
After much research, the ASA decided in 1974 that a separate, freestanding non-profit organization should be established as long as it had the full support of all Arkansas’s 75 county sheriffs. Supporters traveled to every county and met with each sheriff, earning their approval. In late 1975, an incorporation document with the signatures of all 75 sheriffs was presented to the ASA – the first and only document of its kind – and the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches was born.
The same enthusiasm and passion that helped create the Ranch 35 years ago continues with today’s sheriffs. Whether it’s hosting a golf tournament, recording a PSA, or speaking to local groups, Arkansas county sheriffs are committed to supporting the Ranch and making this state a better place to call home for our youth. Check out the Sheriffs in Action section on our News Page to learn more about their current efforts.