July, 20 2018

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Teen Ranch offers new youth program

TEEN Ranch is hoping a new PROGRAM will HELP keep the struggling nonprofit agency afloat as it continues its fight with the state Family Independence Agency.

The new PROGRAM offers private residential treatment for youth between the ages of 11 and 17.

"At Teen Ranch, we believe in preventing problems before they manifest themselves in action and treating the problem through life-changing relationships and experiences from a Christian perspective," the agency said in a news release.

Officials did not say how much the program would cost a parent.

The agency, which deals with TROUBLED youths, is suing the FIA, saying the state agency violated its First Amendment rights when it imposed a moratorium on sending teens to the agency after a routine inspection turned up allegations it forced TEENs to attend church services.

The state sent teens from the court system to Teen Ranch and paid the agency $130 per day per TEEN to care for them.

In June 2003, before the moratorium, there were 61 children or teens at the Marlette facility. That number slumped to 20 in February 2004. Officials did not say how many now are there. The ban forced Teen Ranch to shutter offices, including one in Port Huron Township, and lay off staffers.

Teen Ranch has never denied using religion in its program, but said it didn't force anyone to attend church services.

While federal Judge Robert Holmes Bell ruled against a motion by Teen Ranch for an injunction to stop the moratorium earlier this year, the lawsuit continues, the agency's lawyer Gary McCaleb said.

"The case is winding up the discovery phase in which we conducted various depositions and obtained further documents," he said. "The case should move forward toward summary judgment, with papers likely to be filed in February or so. We should have some decision from the district court I would guess by this summer."

Related Articles:
Labyrinth helps teens find holiday tranquility 12/26/04
Troubled teen turning life around 12/22/04
Struggling mothers finding a way out 12/18/04
Adolescent treatment program to expand 7/24/04

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