Our evidenced-based programs consist of ART (Aggression Replacement Therapy), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and our newest and most dynamic cognitive-based group Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) where the boys are accountable to each other as it relates to their progressing in the group. Other groups also include, victim awareness, emotional awareness, AA, NA, Matrix Drug group and anger management.
All the staff with the exception of part-time fill-in staff are trained in various forms of evidence-based practices (EBP). Staff are trained in the use of motivational interviewing techniques and are all trained ART and MRT facilitators as well.
The boys at the ranch are between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. All of the boys are wards of the court, committed to Bar‑O under Section 602 of the Welfare and Institution's Code.
The regular program is a step program wherein the ward's release is contingent upon his performance in the program. This is by far the most effective program for incurring serious behavioral and attitudinal changes, as the changes must occur before graduation.
The average stay is currently 8‑9 months, however this varies considerably. The length of stay usually is a result of how willing a ward is to deal with his particular issues and available support systems, such as family, etc. Advancement in this three‑step program is considered once each month. Boys in this program do not receive a release date until they reach the last step of the program.
Upon arriving at the ranch all boys in the regular program are placed in the first division. The new arrival is given a copy of the camp rules and provided with a sponsor, a boy who is usually near graduation, whose job it is to orient the new boy.
During the new boy's first week on camp he is required to seek out a counselor with whom he feels he can work. He must also consider the counselor's other boys, as to whether or not he feels he can work with them. In turn, if a boy requests placement with a certain counselor, that counselor and his other boys decide if they will take the new arrival into their group.
Once the youth is accepted into a group, table, his counselor takes the responsibility for helping that boy through the program. Each month counselors decide whether or not the boy is ready for advancement in the program. The counselor sets down guidelines for the youth's progress.
All new boys start in the first division. These Boys have few privileges, compared to the second and especially to the third division. The Boys on this first level are periodically evaluated for their rule following, appearance, attitude, manners and work habits. The emphasis in the first division is on getting along with peers and staff, taking some pride in the way they look and how they relate to others. They also work on developing good work habits. In this division, the Boys are more or less required to drop their overt anti‑social behavior. During the group meetings, both in small counselor's groups and large group meetings, specific behaviors of each boy are discussed and dealt with.
If a boy meets the requirements of the first division, his counselor at the monthly staff advancement meeting recommends him for advancement. Each boy is rated on a daily basis. In order to be considered for advancement to the next division, the ratings from staff have to average out to an acceptable score. If staff believes the ward is ready for advancement, the ward is required to pass a physical fitness test and to write and essay on some topic relevant to the individual boy. If both of these tasks are successfully completed, advancement is considered at the staff meeting. (Physical training is given each morning. If a boy participates actively on a daily basis, he can pass this test with little difficulty.)
In the second division, blue shirts, the boys are scrutinized in all of the areas that first division boys are, however their ratings must average out to a higher score. More privileges are given at this level, including first choice on extra activities, etc. Along with added privileges goes added responsibility for the upkeep of the camp in general. It is the beginning of the development of concern outside of the self. The advancement procedure is the same here as for the previous advancement, except that a higher score on the physical training is required and the essay takes the form of an oral presentation to staff.
At the third division, green shirts, boys are rated in all the above areas but must achieve a higher average than at level two. In addition, they have a thorough understanding of cause and effect, as it relates to their own behaviors. They have spent time dealing with their personal issues and mending relationships at home. When these boys reach this level, they are assigned a release date, usually two months after their final advancement. If these boys are performing satisfactorily, this release date may be shortened at staff meetings held twice each month.