The stories of children who are served by Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch are as diverse as the ways in which they find our therapeutic services offered here in the Texas Panhandle.

Every year young people from across the country come to Boys Ranch. However, this only happens after a very specific process has occurred. 

Finding Boys Ranch

The families of the children we serve are often referred to us by school principals and counselors, private therapists, pastors, the parents of our alumni, or friends familiar with our program. Many parents and children find us on the Internet when they search for help for troubled youth. Some children even call and want to self-admit.

Parents, managing conservators and/or custodial guardians must make the actual placement.

Parents never surrender custody of their children to Boys Ranch.

The Admission process

Regardless who may have referred them, or how they find Boys Ranch, once a parent or guardian reaches out for help on behalf of their child, the admission process begins.

First, an intake specialist does an initial screening of questions with the parent/guardian to see if the child appears to be a good candidate for our program.

Michelle Maikoetter, chief program officer, described a good candidate as a child who has a family member who will stay connected with them during their time here.

“The child has to be able to build relationships with our trusted adults on staff in order for our program to have positive effects on them,” Maikoetter said, adding, “They must be able to function well enough they can live within a group. It’s super helpful if they have interests, talents, or gifts we can help them explore.”

When a child is identified as a good candidate for Boys Ranch, the intake specialist sends the appropriate forms to the child’s family. This allows us to gather the child’s records from his school, counselor, legal sources, medical providers and other specialists.


After the documents are reviewed families are contacted to schedule a phone interview to obtain a more complete family history. Discussion also occurs with the child so that information from the child’s perspective is noted.

Each child is considered on an individual basis. The intake staff and key staff on the youth care team consider the child’s needs and if Boys Ranch programs will meet those needs. Consideration is given to how well the child will fit with others in specific homes in which they may be placed.

Placement Decision

“The actual placement of a child into the program can take several months after acceptance due to various dynamics on campus including staffing and bed availability,” said Jo Lee Junell, manager of intake and admissions.

Once children are determined to be good fits, they are welcomed onto campus and their new life, where they will began getting help they need for a productive future.

When children aren’t good candidates, we’ll share the reasons with the families and offer our referral services.


If you know a child who could benefit from our services, please talk to the parents and share about our program. The family may call toll-free 1-800-657-7124 or request help by filling out our online form. An admissions specialist will follow up in a matter of days.

The Road to Boys Ranch

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