The Odessa Record -

By Jamie Henneman
The Times 

A home for the holidays

Morning Star Boys' Ranch helps boys in foster care

 

Last updated 12/17/2020 at 3:32pm

Courtesy Morning Star Boys' Ranch

The Morning Star Boys' Ranch houses up to 23 youths, ages 6 to 13.5.

DAVENPORT – Christmas can be a difficult time for children who have been separated from their families, but a ranch with a special connection to Davenport is ensuring many children have a home for the holidays.

Morning Star Boys' Ranch, a non-profit foster home located near the Southhill of Spokane, provides a unique foster home environment for boys 6 to 13 ½ years old. The ranch is located on property donated by Davenport resident Mrs. Anna Heckett in 1956. The donation aimed to create a home for boys under 18 and continues to serve boys today.

The ranch provides "wrap around" services according to Morning Star representative Kim Reasoner-Morin.

"All of our kids are assigned a case manager who only serves up to 8 kids," Reasoner-Morin said. "This is a big change, as state case managers are often managing up to 30 kids."

The case manager works with the children's school and healthcare providers, as well as a court appointed advocate for each child. A licensed psychiatrist is also onsite, as well as two registered nurses.

In addition to this care, the ranch provides an active 4-H program that allows the boys living at the ranch to participate in animal projects like raising chickens, pigs or lambs. At the completion of the 4-H project, the boys sell their animals at the Spokane Interstate Fair. A horse project, where the boy learns to care for and ride a horse, is also an option.

"We try and meet some of the essential needs kids have that include emotional regulation, social skills, educational needs," Reasoner-Morin shared. "Having animals on the ranch really helps kids with their social skills."

Having to groom an animal as well as getting dressed up in order to participate in the livestock sale also gives the boys an experience they may not have had before.

"The boys have to get dressed up to show," she shared. "They get a new pair of jeans and a button up shirt and a belt. It gives them the chance to present themselves well and enjoy showing the animal they raised."

The 4-H component of the Morning Star program is funded by private donors and volunteer efforts.

Boys in foster care are able to stay at the ranch for up to one year while they are waiting for adoption or can return to a situation where they can live with parents or relatives.

Providing stability is important in the lives of the boys at Morning Star, as most have experienced 11 transitions, or moves from house to house, within their lives. This can make it very challenging for the boys to do well in school or adapt socially. The lack of permanence in their lives can create a level of trauma, Reasoner-Morin said.

"It's one thing to experience trauma once or twice but experiencing complex trauma is almost like having a head injury, it can sometimes create personality changes that the boys have to work through," she said.

Needs

Courtesy Morning Star Boys' Ranch

One practical item the ranch currently needs is a manure spreader. However, aside from a physical gift, the greater need is for foster homes.

"Our number one need is for foster homes," Reasoner-Morin related. "We are in the lower one-third in the nation for foster homes in our state."

One of the reasons people may be hesitant to become a foster parent is due to the licensing requirements.

"When people get licensed to be foster parents through the state there is typically no support, but Morning Star provides aides and various types of support that make it more doable," Reasoner-Morin shared. "Being a foster parent is the ultimate gift."

– For more information about Morning Star Boys Ranch and how to be involved, visit http://www.morningstarboysranch.org.

Author Bio

Jamie Henneman, Editor

Jamie Henneman is and editor with Free Press Publishing. She is the editor of the Davenport Times, based in Davenport, Wash.

Email: DTEditor@centurytel.net
Phone: 509-725-0101
https://www.facebook.com/DavenportTimes

 

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