Is there a need for a long-term children's home in southwest FL’s DCF District Eight?
A. In the midst of an overwhelmed foster care system, news reports of child abuse and neglect, and a proliferation of youth at risk, Florida's Department of Children & Families (DCF), District Eight has only one long-term residential care facility, which is able to provide a home for 10 children in an area where there were 9,195 reports of child abuse and neglect in Fiscal Year 2000-2001.
According to FL’s DCF, the statistics for District Eight are compelling. Thirty-seven children died a violent death, five directly from abuse or neglect in 2002. In February 2003, there were 421 children in foster care homes in District Eight. Thirty-eight children placed in residential group care; and forty-two children in emergency shelters. Children from District Eight that need a permanent placement in residential group care must travel at times as far as Jacksonville for a long-term home.
With your financial help, Liberty Youth Ranch will provide 48 of these youth a loving place to call home, to learn healthy lifestyle choices, and to dream new dreams, all while never being forced to leave their community.
What are the criteria for admitting children?
A. Candidates for Liberty Youth Ranch are children between the ages of 4 and 17 who are truly destitute and face seemingly insurmountable challenges. The primary target: orphaned, abused, abandoned, neglected, and homeless children - children who have little hope of reconciliation with their parents, are in need of a loving home, and who need to have the opportunity simply to be children. These children desperately need a comfortable, stable, structured and supportive living environment. They may have demonstrated an inability to function and handle the emotional demands of a foster home. Children whose parents, guardians or relatives have the means and are able and willing to raise their children will be not be eligible.
When considering a child’s admission, we will judge every child without regard to race, color, sex, handicap, age, religion or national origin.
How is Liberty Youth Ranch supported?
A.Liberty Youth Ranch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that receives no federal or state funding, operating solely on benevolent gifts. Caring businesses, organizations, churches, foundations, trusts, and individuals who understand the need for a facility like ours give generously to ensure our continuing operation.
For more information about what you or your organization can do to support our mission, please contact Admin@LibertyYouthRanch.org, or call the Liberty Youth Ranch Administrative Offices at (239) 597-7070, or Toll Free at 1(866) FL-YOUTH.
What happens to the child after graduation or after turning eighteen?
A. When our children graduate from high school, some enroll in college, community college, or technical/vocational college. Some of our children enlist in the Armed Forces and some join the work force. Those needing additional support before venturing out alone may move into our Transitional Home. The structure will be similar to that of a dormitory or apartment complex.
Will the children attend public schools and interact with the community?
A. Yes, our children will attend public schools and local churches within the community. They will function in a family atmosphere. Community interaction is strongly encouraged through activities such as youth groups, school activities, athletics, Little League sports, community volunteer efforts, etc.
How do I schedule a presentation for Liberty Youth Ranch to come speak at my home, church, business, or organization?
A. Alan Dimmitt, Founder/President and CEO of Liberty Youth Ranch would relish the opportunity to speak in person and share more information with you. To set up an appointment, please contact Alan via email at Alan@LibertyYouthRanch.org, or call the Liberty Youth Ranch Administrative Offices at (239) 597-7070 or Toll Free at 1(866) FL-YOUTH.