An Ending and New Beginning
After 41 Years Of Service the Maryland Sheriffs' Youth Ranch Is Ending Its Residential Program
The Maryland Sheriffs' Youth Ranch opened its doors in 1974 through the generous support of the Maryland Sheriffs. It began on a small farm in Western Maryland. In 1979, Sheriff Don Barnes began work to bring the Ranch to its present location in Frederick County. After 41 years in continual operation it is with a mix of emotions that the Maryland Sheriffs' Youth Ranch announces that it will be suspending its current residential operations for boys as of June 19th, 2015. Over the years, hundreds of boys have benefitted from the residential program offered by the Ranch. This has included a combination of therapy, education, guidance, and health and mental wellness assistance. By virtue of its dedicated staff and support of a caring community, the Ranch has been widely recognized for its superior program, which has been continually rated in the top percentile of similar institutions. The Ranch takes pride in its success in helping many challenged youth become productive members of their communities.
However, the State of Maryland has had a significant shift in its approach to care regarding “at risk youth”. In July of 2007, the state started their Place Matters initiative. This initiative’s central tenant is that children are best served in their homes. Over the past eight years, the number of children placed in group homes has been cut by two thirds. While the Ranch is strongly in favor of children successfully returning to their homes and families, it is important that there are supportive services in those communities to which they have returned.
Given the new landscape of social services in Maryland, the Ranch wants to ensure that we will continue with our mission to assist youth in becoming productive members of society. Throughout this time of change, we are committed to keeping the community and our supporters informed as to our new direction. In the coming months, the Ranch will be evaluating how best to continue to serve this mission. We will be working with our supporters, the community, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Juvenile Services, and other organizations to bring the Ranch’s commitment to excellence to the task of reaching out and helping those in need.
We want to thank the community that has supported our efforts over the past 40 years. While it may be tempting to be saddened by the change with which we are currently faced, we are excited for the future. Through the community’s unwavering support, we have been able to change the lives of many young men. With your sustained support, the Ranch will continue to support those in need far into the future