The Oak Hill Boys Ranch works collaboratively with young people and their families and supports them in developing preferred futures associated with positive citizenship. The goal of the program is to prepare young people for successful community living so that they may return to their families, substitute family or supported independent living.

Theory and Orientation of Services

Oak Hill Boys Ranch works within the philosophy and principles of Children And Residential Experiences (CARE) (2009), Residential Care Project, Human Ecology Department, Cornell University. The CARE curriculum is designed from a thorough literature review of best practices, practice evidence and standards for residential care. The principles are orientated to deliver services that create conditions for change in the “Best Interests of the Child”. Principles include:

  1. Developmentally Focused
    • All children have the same basic requirements for growth and development.
    • Children learn best when skills are within their zone of proximal development.
    • Children need support to engage their innate capacity to grow and develop.
  2. Family Involved
    • Contact with the family is an indicator of successful treatment.
    • Planning for adequate community support is essential for a successful return.
    • The child’s ethnic and cultural identity is tied to the family.
  3. Relationship Based
    • The ability to form relationships is associated with healthy development and life success.
    • Relationships are central to helping children build competencies.
    • Children respond to people they trust.
  4. Competence Centered
    • Problem solving skills, flexibility, critical thinking and insight are necessary life skills.
    • Focusing on strengths and positive attributes builds a positive identity.
    • The child’s personal strengths and resources are the biggest factor in making positive change.
  5. Trauma Informed
    • Trauma has a debilitating effect on children’s growth and development.
    • Maintaining an non-coercive and safe environment is essential for children to learn new responses to stressful situations.
    • Challenging behaviour is often pain-based behaviour.
  6. Ecologically Orientated
    • Children learn through interacting with their environment.
    • The environment is influenced by the interactions with the children and staff.
    • Environmental factors that protect children are:
      • Caring relationships.
      • High expectation messages.
      • Opportunities for contribution & participation.

Oak Hill Boys Ranch will continue to strive for service excellence at every level of the organization and will work hard to ensure these CARE principles are fully integrated into organizational practice.