The VTR Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) accepts male residents ages 13–17 and Non‑Minor Dependents ages 18–21 from most counties in California. VTR STRTP serves residents who exhibit emotional or behavioral disorders and are either dependents of Social Services or youth in conflict with the law and placed by Juvenile Court order. Once accepted into the program, the anticipated length of stay is between 6–12 months.
The VTR STRTP serves up to 32 residents living in three homes at the Ranch. Trained and professional staff provide 24 hours of care and supervision. VTR STRTP helps to enhance the youth’s psychological safety, well‑being, and resilience by utilizing a combination of trauma‑informed interventions, treatment practices, and education to accomplish its goals. Through life‑changing relationships, mentorship, activities, and experiences, youth are reunified with their families or transition to independent living.
Does VTR have a real ranch?
Valley Teen Ranch has three homes located on an 80 acre ranch where there are horses, goats and emus. There is an on-site school operated in partnership with Golden Valley Unified School District, recreational activities, and a ropes course.
Where is VTR located?
Our ranch facility is located in southern Madera County, just north of Fresno. Our Administration Office is located at 2610 W. Shaw Ln., Ste. 105, Fresno, CA 93711.
What is your philosophy? What are your goals?
Valley Teen Ranch wants provide HOPE to vulnerable children, youth, and families through life changing relationships and experiences. This includes: trauma informed interventions and treatment practices, clinical and milieu therapy (individual and group), behavior modification, vocational development, educational development, independent living skills, and therapeutic services for families are incorporated together to facilitate this treatment approach. The goal of our program is to help youth successfully complete our program and transition to a home-based environment.
How is VTR different?
VTR is different from most agencies in the area because of environment. We have three homes on 80 acres, instead of dorm-style setting or urban house. VTR has several recreational activities located on-site as well as all of the therapeutic services provided. VTR has a committed, caring staff who are at the ranch around the clock. This provides youth with the sense of stability and security they so desperately need at this time in their lives.
Where do the residents come from?
VTR accepts male residents ages 13-17 and Non-Minor Dependents ages 18-21 from most counties in California. We serve residents who exhibit emotional or behavioral disorders and are either dependents of Social Services or in conflict with the law and placed by Juvenile Court order. Once accepted into the program, the anticipated length of stay is between 6-12 months.
What do the residents do at the ranch?
Youth who come to live at the ranch may be there for 6 to 12 months. Like any home, there are housekeeping chores, meals to prepare, homework to do and recreation time.
Much of their time is spent working on new skills. Through the application of evidence-based practices like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Trauma Focus – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), we teach youth/to identify, modulate, and strengthen their coping skills. Youth need hope-they need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose.
Do you work with the resident’s family?
Yes! We believe it is just as important for us to work with the families as it is for us to work with the youth. VTR provides family therapy as well as providing them with the tools their child is learning in the program.
How are you qualified to do this work?
VTR is licensed as a Short Term Therapeutic Program (STRTP) by the California Department of Social Services. VTR also has a Mental Health Program Approval from the Department of Healthcare Services. Valley Teen Ranch is a Nationally Accredited Member of CARF, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
How is the ranch staffed?
Utilizing ranch-style homes, up to 20 youth are placed in two homes and 12 are in the third home with a staff ratio of one direct care staff to four boys. Each youth is assigned a therapist, social worker and mental health coach to work with them throughout their program.
Will you build more homes?
Our growth plan currently is not to build more homes at the ranch, but to acquire homes or apartments in the community for young men who are ages 18-24 years old who are homeless or transitioning from a residential or correctional facility. Mentorship and relationship building are the foundation of this program. VTR provides ongoing education in independent living skills, which includes: personal care, health care, cooking, nutrition and money management. Staff guides residents in educational opportunities, employment, transportation and community resources.
Are you sponsored by a particular church or organization?
VTR is not sponsored by any one group. We enjoy wide support from many individuals, churches, civic groups, private foundations and businesses in the San Joaquin Valley.
Where do your funds come from?
VTR is funded in part through California’s Aid to Families With Dependent Children and Foster Care. As a non-profit, charitable organization, the balance of our funding is derived through private donations from our community friends and partners.
How can I help?
There are several ways you can help the Ranch:
- You can lend your time and talent to us. We need people to teach classes or help with vocational training.
- Second, you can help us by donating items to the Ranch. We have three houses, a garden, livestock, and more on 40-acres of land. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a current list of needs.
- Third, you can help us financially. In order to insure a growing program with quality care for young people, 20% of the annual budget must come from charitable contributions. Your tax-deductible gift will make a difference in a young person’s life!
VTR Therapeutic Treatment Program
Individualized, Evidenced Based Therapies
VTR is a 24-hour daily, therapeutic living environment facilitated by STRTP staff. It integrates mental health services into daily programming through planned structure, support, routine, and a “therapeutic culture” to allow for improved daily living, coping, and interpersonal relationship skills. Trust, safety, and respect are core components of the program’s philosophy.
- Clinical assessment of mental health needs
- Medication support services
- Seeking Safety – helping youth free themselves from negative behaviors (such as drug abuse or any other form of self-harm) and, in doing so, move toward freeing themselves from trauma at a deep emotional level.
- Substance abuse intervention sessions. Reinforcing motivation to maintain a sober lifestyle and developing a relapse prevention plan.
- Individual Therapy –Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Educational, Social, Physical and Mental Health Supports
Social Skills Eduation
- Life Skills classes
- Daily point Meetings
Gang Intervention and Victim Awareness
- What Have I Done? Victim Empathy program
- Gang Intervention
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinical Groups
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skill Building Groups
- Youth participate in individual therapy with a therapist on a weekly basis.
- We provide each young man with many opportunities to experience himself as successful in a healthy, prosocial environment.
- Valley Teen Ranch is located in Golden Valley Unified School District. Each youth admitted into the facility is placed in the educational setting best suited for the youth. Options are: Middle School, High School, Community Day School, Continuation School or Independent Study. The youth’s school history, transcripts and IEP are all taken into consideration.
- The academic program for each youth is carefully planned, incorporating past performances, academic ability, and interest to determine course selection.
- The Special Education Department of Golden Valley Unified School District and Madera County Office of Ed provides special education services to our youth.
- The recreational program includes sports, and activities like swimming, canoeing, camping, and a ropes course team- building program. (The Ropes Course is not currently available but will be back in 2022).
- From time to time, Valley Teen Ranch will also go on trips involving out-of-town travel.
Focus on Skills Building Toward Post Care/Transition
- We have developed our own Independent Living Program curriculum based on feedback from the experiences of young men who have graduated from the program over the past 25-plus years.
- VTR is an 80-acre ranch with abundant opportunities to learn job skills involved in the care and upkeep of the grounds, horses, livestock, gardening, culinary, job readiness and more.
- Family therapy is provided and visitation is encouraged throughout the course of treatment.
Quotes from men who were once boys at The Ranch…
“I built a mahogany box when I was at the Ranch, back in 2000. I still have that box. I filled it with objects that hold memories of my life. Today I have my own wood shop in my garage and build furniture for our home.”
“I am alive today and have a family with children and grandchildren because of you. Thank you for seeing something in me when no one else could.”
Quotes from graduates of the program
“ I’ll never forget all the doors this program has opened for me and how it changed my life so much. The staff is here because they genuinely have a love for the kids and want to make a difference. While I was here, my achievements were; I graduated high school, learned how to deal with my anger and became less violent—I learned how to handle conflicts the right way, restored family relationships, entered college, learned the value of money, and grew up (to an extent), LOL!”
“You have changed me in so many ways, I cannot explain. The staff at Valley Teen Ranch are very good-hearted. They have all helped me and guided me by challenging my way of thinking and giving me a whole new perspective. Thank you with all my heart!”