psychiatric residential treatment

Little Golden Books

Little Golden Books

I had a lot of Little Golden Books when I was little. My parents allotted a special, low shelf in the living room for what I called “my library.” I even tried to number them on their skinny spines as I’d seen numbers on the books at the big library. Those books are now in my family room in my mother’s old traveling suitcase. My grandkids love their simple stories and gentle illustrations.…

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With me...

With me...

How would you finish this sentence? When I am happy, I would appreciate it if you…   Once children have some time to acclimate and begin to feel comfortable at the Ranch, we sit down with them and complete the “Five Love Languages Profile Quiz” and a worksheet titled, “All About [INSERT NAME].” The worksheet gathers information about the child’s favorite colors and favorite snacks, the three most important things we should know about them, and more.…

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Nurse wisdom

Nurse wisdom

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch has been helping children and families succeed in the name of Christ since 1952.   Literally, thousands of really good people have spent all or part of their careers at the Ranch. Whether as teachers or treatment specialists, maintenance people or nurses, Chaplains or accountants, all have witnessed the immense work it takes for the precious children in our care to overcome trauma. It also takes a lot of knowledge about mental health and brain development and the impact of trauma.…

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Sooooo hungry

Sooooo hungry

In a recent issue of Ranch Voice, the feature article was about group treatment at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. There are lots of solid, evidence-based treatment reasons for doing certain types of therapeutic work in groups.   One of those reasons is that group members help hold each other accountable to the truth—here is just one example.…

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I'll stay on the couch

I'll stay on the couch

Sometimes, working at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch can be tough.   These kids have endured so much. They have experienced trauma and/or the ravages of mental illness – which is certainly a trauma in itself. They have developed behaviors and coping skills that are not healthy or good for them or others—behaviors and coping skills that have allowed them to survive.…

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It's not about the music

It's not about the music

He was standing in the corner in the hallway of the school, crying really hard, with a Treatment Specialist by his side.    I was confused. I had just seen this child in our chapel services at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and he was amazing. He had practiced with the adult who was leading the music and had played guitar and sang beautifully.…

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Go touch grass

Go touch grass

Erinn Dosch is a great communicator. She writes grants and manages website and social media activity at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. She is a voracious reader, funny and smart, and a “word collector.” You know, she loves a turn of phrase or clever pun. She’s a really good Rancher.…

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Nasolabial folds

Nasolabial folds

Deep nasolabial folds are part of my family’s genetic profile. My mom and dad both had prominent ones, as do my siblings.   They’re those wrinkles that run from the sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth. I am pretty sure they’ve always been there, but with the march of Father Time, mine are reaching new depths. Not yet Grand Canyon status, but perhaps the Columbia Gorge.…

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Seeing the real

Seeing the real

Many kids come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch wearing their toughest attitudes and with challenging behaviors. They have worked so hard to survive their trauma and trauma environments that they have lost touch with their own core. They struggle to see their true selves.…

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Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree

I love Christmas trees. I think they are a bold proclamation that we are celebrating the birth of our Lord. I think of them as a really big Birthday candle! You just can’t hide the fact that you’re celebrating Jesus' birth when you have a 4 or 6 or 8-foot reminder in the middle of your house.…

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Love Languages

Love Languages

It is a pretty irrefutable statement that we all communicate differently.   We send and receive messages in the context they make sense to us, based on our experiences. I would guess that you, and certainly I, have occasionally had to say, “That’s not at all what I meant. What I was trying to say is….”…

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A Sliver of Light

A Sliver of Light

The staff who work directly with the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch will probably never know the great impact they have had on children’s lives. When our children leave the care of the Ranch, unless they choose to reach back, we may never hear from them again. That’s a good thing. They move on with their lives.…

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A safe place

A safe place

It’s Friday afternoon, and I am in my office replaying the time I spent with the surprise visitor who stopped by this morning.    About 9 a.m. I heard Karen, one of the women I work with, greeting someone at her office door. Karen is a sincerely kind person who is always gracious to everyone, but I could hear something special in her voice. I eavesdropped a little, and it was soon evident she was talking to a past resident. “Are you working now?” “So, you have your own apartment?” “You look really good!”…

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Thanksgiving and success

Thanksgiving and success

The mission of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch always has been, and I believe always will be, “to help at-risk children and their families succeed in the name of Christ.” Very simple and straightforward. Right?   Well, maybe not. Success is defined by many different variables: money, education, career, marital status, family, sobriety, healthy living, etc.…

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Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV…

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Get over it!

Get over it!

“Get over it!”   We hear that a lot. We say it a lot. I say it to myself when someone cuts me off in traffic, or my arms are too short for me to read the instructions I’m holding. Sometimes, we just need to move on.…

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Slightly Askew

Slightly Askew

I write a lot.   I write reports and emails and presentations and columns. However, my favorite writing is personal notes on cards designed by our kids.…

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S'more Experiences

S'more Experiences

The relationships our staff build with children are what allow the care we provide and our Christ-centered focus to do their work. It all starts with relationships that build trust. It starts with shared and new experiences.…

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A simple knot

A simple knot

A little girl, 11 years old, came into the dining room for breakfast one day last week. She had tears running down her cheeks, and her face was red. Christy, a phenomenal cook with a kind spirit, saw one of our Ranch employees trying to comfort her while making sure the other kids got their breakfast.…

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North Dakota Community Foundation Funds Innovative Remodel at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

North Dakota Community Foundation Funds Innovative Remodel at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

North Dakota Community Foundation (NDCF) granted $5,000 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to underwrite the cost of an innovative remodel at Dakota Memorial School (DMS), Minot, the Ranch’s on-campus school. The funds are part of the NDCF’s Statewide Greatest Needs Fund.…

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Bring on the crowds

Bring on the crowds

I’ve told you before, working at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is hard work. Good work, but hard. It is hard to hear the kids’ stories of trauma, abuse, and mental illness. It is hard to be distrusted by these hurting kids and hard to earn their trust.   That’s why it is so important that our folks always support each other, cheer each other on, and share successes.…

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Receives $3,200 from Otter Tail Corporation Foundation

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Receives $3,200 from Otter Tail Corporation Foundation

The Otter Tail Corporation Foundation awarded $3,200 to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch to complete safety upgrades on its Fargo campus.…

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Respect

Respect

Most of the children who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch have not been treated with respect.   Most are trauma survivors. The very definition of a trauma survivor is someone who has suffered because of an absence of power. Perhaps it was an abuser, or poverty, or drug addiction, or death, but something in their lives exercised extreme power over them. That disparity led to them being abused, neglected, injured, and suffering. They are deeply hurt.…

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Learning Styles

Learning Styles

Finding every single way to help children understand themselves, heal from their experiences, and become their best selves all depends on communicating in a way they can grasp. Since every child starts in a different place, professionals at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch use many different tools and approaches.…

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A note of pain

A note of pain

“Kids don’t really think about suicide, do they?” or “Kids just want attention, they can’t really want to die.” Even with all the media coverage of children’s mental health, I'm still asked questions like these.…

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