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Ranch For Kids Part 2: Holistic Methods For Healing

This unique school has a small enrollment of special-needs adolescents.

Ranch For Kids Part 2: Holistic Methods For Healing Deep Inner Wounds

Ranch For Kids, Part 2:

Holistic Methods For Healing
Deep Inner Wounds

by Elias Alias

On July 23 2019 officials of the State of Montana swarmed a little private boarding school for troubled children, shut down that school, rounded up and took into State custody the school’s twenty-seven students. That school is the “Ranch For Kids”. See our first article about that raid, featuring a video of the school’s executive director describing the take-down of his school, HERE

The government officials had a list of alleged complaints about how children are treated at the Ranch For Kids, and they used those alleged complaints to justify their surprise raid on the school.  Neither the school’s staff, nor the parents of the targeted children were notified in advance. The government has alleged “abuse” (of the children enrolled at the school) as its primary justification for closing the school and removing the children. That accusation may need to be reviewed, and indeed shall be.

But first, let’s look at the basic reason why the Ranch For Kids school was founded and licensed in Montana. This unique school has a small enrollment of special-needs adolescents. To understand why the school must stress individual student accountability for their actions, we need to know several things which this article will touch upon. Let’s find out about those strange-sounding afflictions that the kids at the Ranch For Kids have to deal with in their young lives.

The primary reason why foreign-adopted kids are enrolled by their parents is called “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder” (FASD). Another disorder which is common in some kids at the Ranch For Kids is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Many of the school’s enrolled students show symptoms of both FASD and RAD. These children generally have difficulty fitting into standard schools, as well as difficulty in fitting in with their new adoptive parents and siblings. (See below)  There are known reasons why such kids have trouble adjusting to common school environments, as we shall see. They require a specialized approach to healing inner wounds, and Ranch For Kids has a proven record of success in helping such children heal.

The school’s administration specializes in treating both FASD and RAD. In more than fifteen years of helping heal troubled children the school’s program has developed time-tested approaches to reaching the children with healing methods. This is a “sub-clinical” treatment environment which is tailored to the specific needs of children who struggle with FASD and RAD . Over the years, Ranch For Kids has made adjustments in curriculum activities and healing approaches to helping kids get personal control over their lives.

It is important to note that these foreign-adopted children require teaching systems which are not needed for other children. Two leading causes of the children’s conditions are (1) a pregnant mother’s drinking alcohol while carrying the unborn baby (FASD); and (2) a dysfunctional family or home or orphanage environment during the child’s earliest years (RAD).

Here is a raw-footage video of the school’s executive director, Mr. Bill Sutley, offering some general facts about his school’s program for troubled kids.

What we’re going to learn as we look more closely into this remarkable over-reach by the DPHHS  (Department of Public Health And Human Services)  and its Child And Family Services Division in making a surprise shut-down of the Ranch For Kids will reveal how the government’s systematic approach to regulation of private lives completely overlooked the fact that these children have already been traumatized.

Every student at Ranch For Kids has been traumatized in one or more ways, which is the causal aspect of their problems in life. Ranch For Kids understands the need for such children to be secure while working toward healing of past traumas.  This one circumstance makes the DPHHS move to take the children away from their known and relied-upon environment a blatant re-escalation of previous trauma, and that is exactly the opposite of what these children needed. Yet DPHHS accuses Ranch For Kids of abusing the kids.

It is clearly understandable that previously traumatized children do not need to have new trauma added to their Souls’ burden.  The last thing on earth the kids needed was to be confiscated by a pack of government strangers, backed-up by the authority, force, and power of law enforcement, with no preparatory notice. It had to be at least mildly stunning for the children to be removed from their safe place at school where they were understood and accepted. Their Mommies and Daddies had not called to let them know this was going to happen to them. The Staff had not let them know that this was going to happen, and in fact, when the executive director of the school, Bill Sutley, requested permission to address the children to explain and reassure them, his request was denied in typical government fashion. So the children were suddenly told by strangers backed up by law enforcement that their school was being shut down by the authority of government, and that they were going to be taken from there immediately.

I must add one important fact about the school’s take-down. Yes, County and State law enforcement were present — however, all officers were very understanding and polite. They did hold the Staff and Mr. Sutley away from the students during the event, but that was apparently their assigned mission. As with so many fine officers in Montana law enforcement, these gentlemen were admirably respectful.

So the children were removed from their familiar, secure environment at Ranch For Kids, were taken by strangers to government facilities, were probed, questioned, and, for some, were invasively examined.  That much would be traumatic for normal kids. For kids suffering from FASD and RAD, it would be an escalation of trauma. And since trauma is one of the things that gets healed at the Ranch For Kids, the action condoned by DPHHS was an antithetical, unnerving, unwanted and uninvited intrusion into their healing process.  It is easy to imagine that not one of the kids felt very secure throughout.

We also will reveal the shallow footing on which the government made its decision to temporarily suspend the school’s license, and that in itself, once people find out about it, shall become an embarrassment to DPHHS and CFSD.  In the name of protecting the children, they inadvertently undid previous healing and threw the kids a serious psychological setback. They did that to living breathing children whose parents, having adopted them from foreign countries, had placed them there for a truly holistic, well-rounded healing process. Those parents had been through the clinical approach, seen the specialists who are all interfaced and neatly conjoined in a proffered professional perception of a scientific-based methodology based on statistical conclusions and a conglomerate volume of “studies”, but which were impotent, quite often, for children who struggle with FASD and RAD. Here is why I said that in such a point-blank manner.

From the CDC’s website:

No two people with an FASD are exactly alike. FASDs can include physical or intellectual disabilities, as well as problems with behavior and learning. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Treatment services for people with FASDs should be different for each person depending on the symptoms.

.FASDs: Secondary Conditions

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) often lead to other disorders, called “secondary conditions.” Secondary conditions are problems that a person is not born with, but might get as a result of having an FASD. These conditions can be improved or prevented with appropriate treatments for children and adults with FASDs and their families.

In light of what the CDC says, it is apparent that the sort of program operating at Ranch For Kids is designed to alleviate negative tendencies by using what Mr. Sutley calls “sub-clinical” techniques, especially when focused on the individuality of each student in accordance with his needs. When I asked if it would be proper to characterize the school’s approach as one of “holistic healing”, Mr. Sutley said that the word was quite appropriate. Focusing on healing the “whole person” in each child requires dedicated, certified staff members who work together on an organic full approach to healing, 24/7.  Each child is challenged to improve his/her individual situation while functioning in a group environment peopled by peers who themselves have FASD and/or RAD.

That is what was going on at the Ranch For Kids before DPHHS so bluntly shut it down.

The gentleman in the below video had been adopted from Russia by an American family who, upon recognizing the symptoms in their new son, saw the wisdom in enrolling him at the Ranch For Kids. He has fond memories of his time at Ranch For Kids, and has gone on from there to become a successful attorney, licensed in multiple States. He has returned several times to Ranch For Kids to refresh his appreciation for how Ranch For Kids uplifted his life, taught him valuable life skills, and helped him achieve self-control with both psychological poise and emotional maturity. Enjoy this statement by a former student from Ranch For Kids.


Part One in this series is here —

Ranch For Kids website is here —

Elias Alias is the editor of The Mental Militia

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