As we begin to meet with people in our community, some excellent questions have been posed. In response to those questions, this blog outlines what Agape Ranch IS and what Agape Ranch IS NOT. Here it goes!!!!
Agape Ranch IS....
1. ...a group of 18 independently functioning homes with high accountability: 12 foster homes, 3 respite care homes, and 3 elderly cottages. Each foster home is approximately 2,400-3,000 square feet. We have an architectural committee to provide guidance for aesthetics for each home.
- 12 foster homes will each have a total of 3-6 children. This total includes the foster parents' adopted and/or biological children.
- Three respite care families will provide childcare for the foster families during their date nights, when they go out of town, or need a break.
- Three elderly cottages will house either an elderly couple or couple of widows. They will spend time with the children by holding, reading with, or by finding ways to connect with them. They are our grandparent figures of our community.
2. ...a highly vetted community. In order for families to live on Agape Ranch, they must go through an application process, turn in reference letters, one of which must be from an Agape Ranch staff or board member, and been in foster care community for at least a year.
3. ...a supportive community for children. Some foster children have therapy needs, just like some of our adopted or biological children. We have already made connections with several agencies in our community who will come to Agape Ranch to provide occupational, physical, or speech therapy for our children. We will also partner with various church communities who can provide tutoring and academic assistance for children who need support in that area.
4. ...a community of families who are highly committed, want the best for the children who come into care, and desire to live life with others who hold the same standard. These families are willing to hold themselves to high accountability because they desire to make a difference in the lives of children in their care and ultimately, for the future of our community. We want to leave a legacy.
5. ...a commitment and a promise to children who are most vulnerable and hurting in our community that they deserve to be loved well. They need people to fight for them, to believe in them, to speak truth and value into them, to advocate for their best, and impart unconditional love. Imagine a place where not only one family does this, but an entire community is dedicated for this purpose. An entire community that is devoted for the best interest of the children in their care.
6. ...a foster family model with modification. Agape Ranch requires one parent to work outside the home and the other parent either to work only inside the home or to work part-time with very flexible schedule. Foster children need consistency. Whereas our adopted or biological children are secure in our love, foster children do not start out that way. Therefore, when they are ill, need to be picked up from school, have school events, or are preschool age, the foster parents are responsible for their care. We will not place children in full day childcare or after school programs in order to facilitate bonding, attachment, and trust.
7. ... looking beyond now. We are looking for a better future for our Agape children and our community. #leavealegacy
Agape Ranch IS NOT....
1. ...an orphanage. We are not a compound of a large building which functions like an orphanage.
2. ...cluster of group homes. We are not a group home or a residential treatment facility model, we are an independent foster home model.
3. ...a mediocre care for children. Unfortunately, not all foster families are created equal and mediocrity of care will not be accepted for children in our care.
4. ...staffed by paid employees. Agape Ranch foster families will pay reduced rent to live on the property in exchange for larger homes, support, and community Agape Ranch will provide.