History of Care


In the mid-1970s, a small group of Fresno and Madera Youth for Christ volunteers involved with Juvenile Hall had a strong desire to develop a healthy living environment capable of helping vulnerable youth in need of rehabilitation.

This small group of volunteers was concerned about the damage to these young lives, and they began to research solutions.  They discovered a program In Michigan that was extremely successful called, “Michigan Teen Ranch.”  The idea was simple; build a home in a country ranch setting and provide 24-hour ranch parents to care for and work with the youth in a stable, healthy Christian environment.  This Teen Ranch was extremely successful. In 10 years, over 90% of the youth they served become contributing citizens in their communities with no further experiences of unlawful behavior.

A Board of Directors evolved, and the conceptual foundation laid, to build a Teen Ranch in the Central Valley. On June 1, 1983, Valley Teen Ranch (VTR) incorporated, and after several years of planning, the building began on 80 acres of farmland in Madera County. By May of 1987, we opened our first of three homes, hired and trained staff, and filled the house with the placement of ten youth.

VTR began to match real young lives to the dream of rehabilitation that first motivated that small group of volunteers so many years ago.  We can see that the long journey to this point was worthwhile to the young people we have served.  We have served over 1,350 young men in the valley that has received stability, rehabilitation, education, life skills, and vocational training.  We also provide therapeutic care and specialized services.

In 1989, VTR expanded services to include a Foster Family Agency and an Adoption Agency. Throughout these years, over 800 children have been placed with our Family Foster Agency to assist them in foster placement, reunification with their families, placement with a relative, and adoption, through our Adoption Agency. The VTR Adoption agency provides services to families who desire to provide a permanent plan of adoption for children and youth who are dependents of the juvenile dependency court.

In 2002, VTR opened a home to provide for youth that “age out” of the foster care system, with self-sufficient living. Our Transitional Living Home has served over 135 young men with independent living skills, educational and employment guidance, financial and time management training.

In 2014, our Residential Homes, Foster Family Agency and Adoption Agency all first received accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International.

For over 30 years, VTR continues to stabilize vulnerable children, youth, and young adults by expanding their horizons to build a foundation for life.


Connie Clendenan, MSW, was the CEO for Valley Teen Ranch (Now VTR) for over thirty years. From 1988 until 2018 Connie cared for many vulnerable children, youth, young adults, and their families through building successful programs and professional staff.  VTR maintains the Residential Therapeutic Program, Foster Family Agency, Adoption Agency, and Transitional Living Home that Connie instituted.  Her dedication to Valley Teen Ranch, her faith, and her great ability to spread joy, will always remain as part of her legacy.