The Ranch Ehrlo Society believes in the “whole” person. Therefore, treatment must be an integral part of everyday life, including: recreation, work, education and personal counselling.
Professional counsellors are employed to provide individual counselling, specialized group work, family work discharge planning and follow-up, and other counselling. They ensure communications between the Ranch, parents, and various referral agencies.
Treatment begins by creating an environment that is safe and predictable, under the supervision of committed staff. Youth are provided the opportunities to learn new problem solving and coping skills within a safe and supportive environment that is free from punishment. Discipline focuses on ensuring safety, teaching values, learning responsibility and providing education about alternative choices.
Psychiatric consultation, psychological services and social casework are provided for each child as may be required.
Most youth coming to Ranch Ehrlo have had little success in school. Frustration and failure have often led to anger or withdrawal. As a result, they are no longer interested in learning. To meet this challenge, Ranch Ehrlo Society offers some choices.
The Ranch-operated Schaller School and Ellen Gunn Schools are responsible for both an on-site educational program as well as offering services to students who are attending local schools. Incoming students are evaluated at both schools and a plan is developed to help them with their education.
As students progress, and their behaviours are stabilized, they are moved to a classroom in city schools under the supervision of a teacher and assistant employed by the Ranch. This is where the student can begin to adjust to what will be required in a regular school.
Other programs are offered to help high school students. A Ranch-employed teacher, or assistant, works with all the teachers who have students from Ranch Ehrlo in their classrooms. If problems arise, this person is available to assist the student and teacher.
Work placements for youth at the Ranch are many and varied, depending upon age, maturity, and ability. For some of the youth, work may involve household chores. For others, work can take the form of paid part-time employment.
The Ranch also offers a Supportive Employment Program. This program was developed to teach what is expected from an employer: such things as being on time, getting along with others and maintaining positive attitudes about the work place. Once the youth has achieved a certain level of security in this program, he or she may be moved into a community work placement.
Recreational programs such as tobogganing, floor hockey, or a trip to the beach are designed to add to the treatment process. Such activities are not only fun, but help youth to develop relationships, sharing skills, individual talents and team participation.
Ranch Ehrlo also provides a number of group learning opportunities during evening hours. These programs are designed to enhance social, recreational, cultural, and creative skills. Some examples of these programs include:
- Craft and Art Workshops
- Horse Care and Riding Training
- Ranch Ehrlo Pow Wow and Drumming and Singing Group
- Special Olympics Program
- Sports and Action Programs
- Special Events
- Annual Events
Parents and family members are encouraged to attend these events with their children.
One of the primary treatment goals at the Ranch is to return the youth to his or her community as soon as possible. Since the placement of the youth at Ranch Ehrlo Society is viewed as temporary, the Ranch believes that it is very important to maintain family ties whenever possible.
Family ties strengthen the effectiveness of social treatment. A supportive family is important in achieving success for children leaving residential treatment. In many cases, the youth lives at the Ranch for 12 to 18 months before returning home. The family also must make adjustments in their lifestyle to maintain the growth achieved by their child.
Holiday and weekend visits are arranged throughout the year, depending upon the location of the youth’s home and other family considerations. If the parents live too far away for the youth to visit regularly, the Ranch staff will try to locate other relatives or family members within the local area, and arrange for the youth to have visits with them.
Visits from family members are always welcomed, but arrangements should be made in advance to make sure that the youth is available, as many of the activities occur away from the Ranch.
Special accommodations have been designed to provide housing for families while they visit their youth. There is no cost to the family but accommodations must booked in advance of a visit.
Family members are also encouraged to participate in major annual events hosted by the Ranch, such as the Youth Christmas Party and Awards Night.
Parents are further encouraged to attend the Quarterly Planning Conferences which are held every three months at the Ranch. These planning conferences include a variety of staff, outside social workers and parents whenever possible. The purpose of these meetings is to review the progress which has been made, plan the next steps, and to look at possible future living arrangements.