According to an article written by Tierney Sneed of U.S. News on Dec., 9, 2014 to lock up a juvenile in the United States it costs $407.58 per person per day or $148,767 per person per year for every youth in a juvenile facility. According to Oklahoma’s Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) in 2015-2016 13,079 new referrals were made. In a non-secure residential setting, such as a Boys Ranch setting, the average cost ranges from $20,000 to $40,000 per person per year in Oklahoma. Robin McSpadden, the Executive Director of ROCMND Area Youth Services, reported, "The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) currently contracts with private providers to operate 13 group homes across the state. Most of these facilities are 16 bed, and serve youth between 12-17 years old. The average stay in these facilities is 7 months. Our agency, ROCMND Area Youth Services, operates 2 group homes for OJA. The state wide network of group homes only serve 208 youth and there is always a waiting list. Due to this waiting list we see a need for more programs like the Cross Bar H Boys Ranch which is designed to help catch at-risk boys before they get on the waiting list for an OJA placement such as a group home."
Lawnie Hess, Jr, MS, LPC, NCC, ELI the Director of the Cross Bar H Boys Ranch while working in detention centers and group homes with incarcerated individuals for several years noticed patterns that seem to keep being repeated in the stories of these boys. These factors include: not having mom and dad around during critical developmental times, lack of education, lack of social skills, and lack of job skills. We believe that some of these boys could have been taken out of the at-risk category if support was offered to the family early enough. We have seen the tireless work of our juvenile system as well as other great agencies who are trying to curve this number and we realize that even more support needs to be offered to reach these at-risk boys and their families before delinquent activities begin.
Although our facilities at the Boys Ranch will not be equipped to house those who are already showing signs of delinquency we do wish to reach out to those boys and their families that may be showing at-risk behavior.
Our goal is to show them God’s love, offer therapy, teach job skills, money management skills, and the value of work to help change the mindset from, “What can you do for me.” to “What can I do for you.”, which ultimately leads boys to help themselves in a positive way.
By providing an opportunity for boys to experience a safe, structured, and consistent environment, work through life’s issues therapeutically, learn how to work as a team, gain employment skills, learn the value of work, and learn money management skills these boys will then be able to have success when starting their own families and the cycle will continue, therefore, helping to lessen our at-risk population.
Cross Bar H Boys Ranch, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non profit corporation.