2015 Kids@PEACE Report

2015 Kids@PEACE Report


“Therapy in the office was getting nowhere as it was just to difficult for him to be in my office after having so many sessions there with he and his previous family.  I believe PEACE Ranch was helpful for both this youth and his pre-adoptive father.  They attended sessions together and ended up well.  I did visit him in his final adoptive home and he presented as happy and doing well.”


Kids@PEACE was created to offer children and families in crisis access Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning (EAP-L).  EAP-L is a cutting edge experiential therapy effective for trauma treatment especially when traditional methods are not enough.  PEACE Ranch has pioneered the provision of these services and in 2014 reached out to area agencies and funders to brainstorm how we might work together to meet the great need of children and families in crisis.

Crisis is costly- emotionally, physically and financially.  In an effort to reduce the cost in children’s lives, in family systems, and in Northern Michigan, child and family support agencies and donors collaborated to provide for children and families in crisis to come to PEACE.  Here is the result of the first year of this pilot.

Program Overview

2015 Kids@PEACE services started in late May as the combination of cold weather and the implementation of new services within agencies took some extra time.  Once started, an average of five hours per week of EAP sessions were provided from June to December.

Children served:

  • ranged in age from six to sixteen but were mostly between ten and fourteen years old.  
  • fit the demographics served by the agency partners.
  • were from the six county area.
  • attended sessions once or twice per week depending on level of crisis.
  • attended three to 15 plus session depending on level of crisis.


All children served had positive outcomes, some were remarkable as outlined by agencies in their reports included below.

2015 Agency Partners and MOU

  • Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan (CFS)

Child and Family Services promotes the safety and well-being of children, adults and families by providing services that offer opportunities and support for social and emotional healing and growth.  Program and services provided include: Foster Care, Adoption, Behavioral Services, Family Support.

  • Northern Family Intervention Service (NFIS)

Northern Family Intervention Services, Inc., (NFIS) is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization that offers intensive short-term interventions for children and families within their home, school, and community. Treatment is based on the Teaching-Family Model and is a family-centered approach that builds on existing family strengths and develops a partnership with the parent(s). This program is guided by a belief that children and families belong together, therefore, NFIS has a strong commitment to preserving, maintaining, and reunifying families

  • PEACE Ranch

PEACE Ranch is an experiential therapy center whose mission is to facilitate the parallel process of rescue, rehabilitation, and restoration of horses and humans.


No money was exchanged between agencies and all services were provided free of charge for the children and families.  Each agency contributed to meet the client’s needs as outlined in a memorandum of understanding defining each partner’s responsibilities as follows:


The Agency:

  1.     Provide a mental health professional with EAGALA certification for all contracted service hours and professional liability coverage required by mental health practice within the organization.
  2.     Provide medical clearance for participants with physical disabilities.
  3.     Maintain confidentiality of charting pertaining to the participants’ experience. There will be no documentation generated or kept at PEACE Ranch.
  4.     Determine appropriate participants and arrange transportation to and from the ranch.
  5.     Work collaboratively with PEACE ranch staff to maximize benefits of the program.
  6.      Provide feedback as needed to staff to assist with the program modification/improvement following the initial orientation period.
  7.     Assess via pre and post evaluations for participants to determine efficacy.

PEACE Ranch:

a    Maintain facility in good operating condition.

b    Maintain a safe, professional atmosphere for clients.

c    Provide horses, equipment and any additional needed staff.

d    Provide EAGALA certified equine specialist for all contracted service hours.

e    Adhere to confidentiality as described in Informed Consent document.

f     Provide Informed Consent form to be used in Agency intake process.

g    Carry commercial liability insurance covering all program participants.

h    Work collaboratively with Agency staff to maximize the benefits of the program.

i     The horses used in this program are owned by and are the sole responsibility of   PEACE Ranch.  All expenses related to the maintenance, food, training, veterinary and other care of the horses used in this program are the sole responsibility of PEACE Ranch.  

*MOU available upon request


Funding and Donors  

Most communities are unable to provide this level of service to disadvantaged families because it is considered too costly.  However, when you consider that the cost of sending one teen to residential treatment costs $87,961.35 per year (on average $240.99 per day) it puts things in proper perspective.  We are especially grateful to the Dan and Pamela DeVos Foundation, Twilight Rotary Club, Community Foundation Matching Funds  and Community Foundation Donor Designated Funds (Mike & Denise Busley) for having the vision and commitment to provide the best possible preventative  treatment available for society’s most vulnerable children.


“I think she understands me because I lost my family too”

2015 Income

Donors Amount
In Kind:

Child & Family Services

Northern Family Intervention Services




Daniel & Pamela DeVos Fdn 5000
Twilight Rotary 2500
Community Foundation Match 1300
Community Donor Designated 4000
*Adoption/Guardian Subsidy 3100
Total 25,650

*Adoption and Guardian Subsidy will pay $63 per hour for some children referred to PEACE Ranch.  Kids@PEACE funds were applied to underwrite these clients so there was no charge to the family.


2015 Actual Expenses

Itemized Cost Hours Cost per hour Total Cost
Mental Health:

  • NFIS
  • CFS
  • PEACE Ranch (subsidy clients)






PEACE Ranch:

  • Equine Specialist
  • Horses & Equipment
  • Facility & Materials
171 5025




Total 171 150 25650


Total Served:  23

Total 1 hour sessions provided: 171

Type of Sessions:  Individual and Family Therapy

Geographic Area: 6 Counties

Clientele: children in foster care, adoptive homes, foster parents, biological parents

“When I first started coming to PEACE Ranch I was very closed off, insecure, and really struggled to create healthy boundaries and relationships. I didn’t like myself.  PEACE Ranch has helped me to help myself.  I feel like a different person now than I was then.  I have opened up, gained confidence, and now I make healthy choices in relationships to help me instead of hurt me.  PEACE Ranch has changed my life.”  cfs client

2016 Kids@PEACE Pilot Year Two Goals and Recommendations:  

  • Provide more services to more children & families
  • Reach out to more potential partners
  • Continue to brainstorm transportation issues
    • Use of volunteers
    • Use of interns
  • Plan 90 mins per session  to allow 15 minutes for planning and wrap up
  • Continue to educate at the agency level
  • Point person liaison between agencies to improve communication


Agency Reports

Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan

Benefits to date include:


  • prevention of need for residential placement/improved global assessment of functioning in home, school and community settings; supported successful reunification of youth with bio-family


  • improvement/increase in positive peer relationships
  • increase in effective and appropriate boundary setting
  • overall improved emotion management/effective coping skills
  • increases in self awareness/insight, self confidence, self esteem, self responsibility
  • overall gaining of a sense of peace-decrease in both inner and outer conflict


2015 Challenges

  • Late start (May) due to extreme weather
  • Transportation for clients from 6 counties
  • 60 minutes planned for sessions leaves no planning or wrap up time
  • Behavior health and foster parents view ranch services differently than office
  • No shows do to transportation, parent, and other variables


“This young lady attended PEACE Ranch for 3 sessions.  She had been in transition and was having difficulty moving forward.  Initially at PEACE Ranch she was somewhat guarded however, by the final session interacted with the horse, grooming and taking a journey around the property.  “Sometimes when you feel stuck, you just have to move.”  She was much more open and transitioned to her new home and school without difficulty.”


Outcome Reports

Northern Family Intervention Services

Number Gender Age EAP

Family Sessions


Individual Sessions

1 Male 12 2 4
2 Male 12 4 10
3 Female 14 1 12

Client #1   Diagnosis: ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD

Referral to NFIS due to increased behavioral concerns at school and at home. Seen for several years in outpatient therapy at Pine Rest in Traverse City. Client reported to have difficulties with peers, outwardly defiant with authority, immature in regards to hygiene and responsibility, dishonest, threatening to run away from home, difficulty with communication, misses social cues causing frustration for himself and others.

Peace Ranch sessions included one family session in the beginning and one in the end. Sessions at Peace Ranch presented as tremendously helpful for family, and client, as well as for development of therapeutic insight in regards to understanding client needs. By the end of NFIS intervention and Peace Ranch sessions, client showed improvement in self esteem, ability to communicate needs, emotion regulation – handling anger, and  increased honesty. Family was able to work very well together and parents presented as gaining increased awareness and insight into their son’s communication style.  


Client #2   Diagnosis:  Mood Disorder NOS, PTSD, ADHD

Referral to NFIS from Bethany Christian Services. Client in foster care for many years, currently in pre adoptive placement however, family is struggling. Client has been in several placements over years, and several broken pre adoptive placements. Client presents with increased behavior difficulties, defiance, irritability, difficulty sleeping, emotion regulation.

Peace Ranch sessions initially started as family sessions with client and pre adoptive foster family. These family sessions presented an increasing insight and awareness for foster mom in particular. Increasing her sense of family difficulties and personal struggles in particular with client and her biological son. In this difficult situation, it was recognized that the client would be better served by another family as the family dynamics and characteristics of individuals were greatly different. Client proceeded with Peace Ranch sessions on an individual basis as the foster care agency began the process of identifying another placement option. Peace Ranch remained a stable, safe, familiar, and secure base while the transition to a new home occurred. Client showed stability throughout his transition. He adapted to a new home and invited his new parents to his final Peace Ranch session. The new parents expressed joy and happiness at his joining their family and comfortable with parenting. Client began school and presented as stable, no longer needing intensive home based services.

Client #3  Diagnosis: Mood Disorder NOS, Psychotic Disorder NOS, PTSD, ADHD

This client was adopted at the age of six or seven. She has suffered from severe abuse and neglect at a very young age, including sexual abuse and more recently, has suffered a great loss when her adoptive mother died in a tragic accident.  She resides with her adoptive father, and two biological siblings. She has received outpatient therapy, residential treatment, and psychiatric hospitalizations in the past. Her greatest challenge tends to be with emotion regulation. She struggles with authority and can become verbally and physically aggressive when feeling threatened. She has difficulty communicating her feelings and consistently maintaining safety for herself and others.

Peace Ranch sessions for this client have been a process. Due to the severe nature of abuse for this client along with the loss of an adoptive mother, the process has proven to be more challenging. The client has shown improvement in regards to connecting with her adoptive father, as evidenced by an ability to listen and accept direction. She has continued to have challenges off and on, however at Peace Ranch has been able to talk more openly, showing some insight through the animals. At this point, animals seem to present as her coping mechanism for intense feelings. She has created a photo journal of her Peace Ranch experience and utilizes this when feeling overwhelmed. This client has many layers of challenges and will benefit from continued sessions should this be a possibility in the future.


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