Montana Public Radio

Bill Sutley

Ranch For Kids' main facility in Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

The Lincoln County Attorney has declined to press criminal charges against an alternative youth home state health officials say physically, verbally and psychologically abused children.

The Montana Division of Criminal Investigation investigated Ranch for Kids after state health officials removed 27 children from its facility near Eureka in 2019. State health officials say they substantiated several allegations of physical, verbal and psychological abuse.

Ranch For Kids' main facility in Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

State health officials Wednesday released a ruling from an administrative law judge that permanently revoked the license of Ranch for Kids. Ranch for Kids was a private therapeutic facility for children in northwest Montana. Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton is here to walk us through this development.

Ranch For Kids' main facility in Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

A lawsuit filed Monday alleges a child at a private therapeutic home that was closed this summer amid abuse allegations was also forced to work on employees’ personal property. 

Ranch For Kids' main facility in Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

It’s been nearly two months since Montana health officials removed 27 children from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford due to allegations of physical and emotional abuse. Ranch for Kids’ license is still suspended, and according to the ranch’s director, a hearing to appeal that decision has not been held.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services held a hearing Thursday on new rules for private residential youth programs. While there was support for the regulations, some of the programs that would fall under the proposed rules said they went too far. 

Ranch For Kids' main facility in Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

The state is still caring for an unknown number of children removed from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford last month due to allegations of chronic abuse. Health officials removed 27 children from the private facility that said it provided therapy to children with severe emotional and behavioral issues.

Ranch For Kids' main facility in Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Two weeks after the state health department removed 27 children from Ranch for Kids in Rexford due to allegations of physical and psychological abuse, the private therapeutic facility has officially appealed the suspension of its license. 

Aaron Bolton

The director of a private therapeutic treatment center for kids in northwestern Montana says he plans to appeal the state’s suspension of his license to operate.

Tuesday, state health officials removed more than two dozen kids from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford with a court order, citing “egregious, chronic, and persistent child abuse.”