Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a place of hope and healing unlike any you've known, a place where troubled kids and their families find professional care, compassionate expertise, and new possibilities. It's a place where we look each kid in the eye, walk with them, and help them find their value and true identity in the world and in Christ.
Children, ages 10-18, who come to the Ranch, find a structured and safe environment in which to live, learn, and heal. They also have 24-hour access to highly trained and qualified staff who offer compassion, discipline, direction, and modeling—teaching them the skills they need to lead productive and satisfying lives.
Most children arrive at the Ranch having experienced significant trauma in their lives. We weave trauma-informed care practices into all residential and education programs.
When it comes to making sure your child and family can heal, we have the residential treatment options you’re looking for to fit your unique needs. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch provides two types of residential treatment for children: Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF) and Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTP or Group Foster Care). Our PRTFs provide the highest level of care for children with psychiatric issues, while our QRTPs provide a less acute level of care for children who need supportive services and a safe place to live. We can get your child and family on track to live the highest quality life.
The residential treatment programs at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch provide multi-disciplinary programs and therapy for children and adolescents with chronic psychiatric and behavioral health issues. In addition to basic living needs and psychiatric care provided in a Christ-centered environment, Ranch residents receive basic medical care, a quality education through our on-campus school, wellness and recreational opportunities, and a chance to discover their unique strengths and become their best selves. The Ranch provides two levels of residential treatment: Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities and Qualified Residential Treatment Programs. A centralized Admissions Process allows parents/guardians to apply for care, with our admissions and treatment professionals determining the appropriate level of care for each child.
Dakota Memorial School, the on-campus trauma-sensitive school of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, provides a specialized education for children in residential treatment. Our Day Program is for students who can live at home but need the individual attention and small class sizes provided by teachers and staff at Dakota Memorial School. Dakota Memorial School is accredited by Cognia, the largest community of education professionals in the world. The rigorous accreditation standards ensure our students receive the highest level of education.
Children at the Ranch hear the Gospel and learn of Christ's love for them through chapel services, spiritual life groups, individual mentoring with our Chaplain and Deaconesses, and daily interactions with Ranch employees. We bring Christ's presence to our work by showing up, being fully there, listening, abiding, completing, and surrounding our children with an atmosphere of faith. Our Spiritual Life Program allows our children to find an anchor in the storm. By understanding Christ’s message, they adopt a new set of values and ways to interact with the world that will help them succeed. While the Ranch's Spiritual Life program is rooted in Lutheranism, we promote principles of respect, acceptance, and character-building that are common to all faiths; and collaborate closely with hundreds of churches across the nation.
When kids have been traumatized by abuse, neglect, or abandonment, horse therapy (also called equine-assisted therapy) can help them open their hearts again.
Most Ranch children are here because they have been wounded by someone who was supposed to care for them and love them. To protect themselves, they shun physical and emotional closeness with other people. Because horses offer a pure, nonjudgmental relationship, our kids can often accept physical and emotional closeness from a horse. With their horse, they don’t have to worry about rejection or criticism. Developing a relationship with a horse gives our residents a chance to understand how trusting and opening their hearts can change their lives—and requires them to exercise patience, understanding, attention, forgiveness, and consistency; abilities they will find useful throughout their lives.
You might think putting at-risk kids and speedy mini-bikes together is a dangerous combination. But every summer, that's exactly what we do at the Ranch's Minot and Bismarck campus. NYPUM, a nationwide network of nearly 50 programs sponsored by the American Honda Motor Company, puts kids together with caring adults and a mini-bike, teaching them how to ride safely and care for the bikes, then ride on the off-road trails. This unique program captures our kids' imagination and enthusiasm, and harnesses it to promote positive change and growth. At the same time, it helps our kids develop positive relationships with staff, build their confidence, and hold them accountable for their decisions.
Whether you need help finding the right medication, coping with mental illness, or navigating life's changes and challenges, you can count on the trusted team of mental health providers at Dakota Family Services to be by your side. Every person deserves the opportunity to become their best self. This is something we believe for you and you will eventually believe for yourself. Our hope is that we can work together to improve your life and develop self-awareness, so you can feel confident navigating life’s changes and challenges. Dakota Family Services, the outpatient clinic founded by Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch provides therapy, psychiatric services, psychological testing, and online therapy for children, teens, and adults.
To apply for Residential Placement, complete the Universal Application by clicking on "Start Application" below.
For more information, complete the form on this page, or contact our Director of Admissions.