REXFORD (KPAX TV) — Twenty-seven children were removed from the Ranch for Kids in Lincoln County on Tuesday after frequent allegations of physical and psychological abuse and neglect.
While information is limited, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) reports children being hit, kicked, body-slammed and spit on by staff on the campus in Rexford.
Staff is reported to have used psychological abuse and excessive discipline including 15-to-20 mile walks with no shoes or food.
According to the Ranch for Kids website, the facility offers programs and coping strategies for children who are adopted suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome and attachment disorder.
Rexford resident Vicky Irish has lived in town for 10 years and when asked about the allegations, she told MTN News that other residents may be shocked to find out about the ranch.
“I know that some of them are going to be shocked, some people are going to be surprised that it didn’t happen sooner,” explained Irish.
This isn’t the first time Ranch for Kids had its brush with the law. Critics of the program have made previous attempts to enforce licensing requirements.
The investigation continues, but officials with DPHHS says all 27 children are in a safe, secure location.
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Mark R Thorsell