The Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch is a specialized, intensive, trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment centre focused on helping children who have been sexually abused, as well as their families. With the proper therapeutic interventions like those offered at the Be Brave Ranch, child survivors of sexual abuse can become adults with strong mental health that supports a positive outlook on life and enables them to participate in life and accomplish their goals.
Clinical supports are offered to children and their families for one full year.
Our program is for girls and boys aged 8-12, and girls age 13-16 who have been sexually abused. It is a child-centered, family friendly program that uses evidence-based interventions. The treatment program is one-year long. During that time, children stay at the Ranch four separate times. For children ages 8-12, their first stay at the Ranch is 28 days and their three subsequent stays are 12 days each. For girls aged 13-16, their first stay at the Ranch is 12 days, and they return for 3 other stays of 12 days each time. The remainder of our treatment is provided on an outpatient basis while we support community connections and supports. While children are in our care at the Ranch, they are in contact with their parents on a daily basis. Parents have the option of visiting in the evenings and on weekends and in certain circumstances, guardians can remain in a parental housing unit on-site while their child is receiving treatment. In addition, children have the option to maintain weekend sport/extra-curricular events. This is arranged collaboratively between parents/guardians and clinical team to best meet the clinical needs of each child.
Children and their families receive comprehensive individual, group and/or family therapeutic interventions while in the program, combined with physical and recreational activities, within a camp-like environment. This allows children to rediscover their capabilities and supports them in facing their challenges. Within the enriched and supportive environment, children are able to meet other children with shared experiences, enjoy their childhood, and start to move past the terrible things that happened to them.
The Be Brave Ranch Program is evidence-based programming and leading practices. Treatment is divided into multiple stages implemented over a 12-month period.
The program is a year-long program with an initial stay at the Ranch of 28 days (8-12 year olds) or 12 days (13-16 year olds), plus three subsequent stays of 12 days each. In between stays, children (and caregivers) work with their clinical team, including a team of therapists on an outpatient basis via individual check-in phone calls, individual email communication, and group teleconferences.
Our unique program is built upon extensive published medical and psychological research. The core of the Be Brave Ranch program uses evidence-based research, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is the most well recognized form of treatment for children who have been sexually abused. The medical literature shows that, unfortunately, many children who have been sexually abused receive no treatment. Even for those who are able to access treatment, this will often be for a total of 15–25 hours of actual therapy. However, in the one-year Be Brave Ranch program, children and their families will be offered more than 200 hours of multi-modal therapy. This is in addition to the time spent at the Be Brave Ranch having fun with their peers (other children who have experienced what they have).
Clinical data results confirm the success of the Be Brave Ranch treatment program for boys and girls aged 8-12 and girls aged 13-16. The results include highly significant reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. Additionally, the intensive and comprehensive treatment program significantly improves self-esteem, cognitive abilities and resiliency. We believe this will lead to profound long-term benefits including reduced mental-health related issues and enriched outcomes for these children in the future. Our hope is that our treatment model can then be used to help abused children across Canada as well as in other countries. You can view the published articles here.
Each cohort will consist of a maximum of 6 children. They will all reside in the same cabin and each child will have their own individual room. At full capacity, there will be a maximum of 23 children at the Ranch in two or more separate cohorts, each with their own clinical team. Awake, adult supervision is maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the children’s stay with us. There is a separate family house where parents/caregivers can stay overnight when they come to the Ranch to visit their child.
Child sexual abuse affects the entire family. Thus, families are a key element of this program. The Be Brave Ranch offers a Family Support Program that will help the non-offending parents/guardians to develop understanding, skills and strategies to support the child in the healing process.
Family counselling is offered to help parents/guardians deal with issues that emerge as a result of their child’s sexual abuse. While at the Ranch, parents are able to access individualized, face-to-face individual and family counselling, as well as art therapy and yoga. Online parental supports and psycho-educational materials is also available to caregivers.
Family support continues throughout the year through weekly phone counselling with Be Brave Ranch parents. Weekly progress reports regarding their child’s treatment are provided by the therapists. The Family Program helps parents/guardians understand and manage the issues created by the trauma of their child’s sexual abuse through group sessions and individual support. Further, the clinical team offers support to parents in other formats as well, such as attending meetings and case conferences at schools to help bridge transition times and offer education and support for both children and parents.
Little Warriors welcomes the opportunity to work with your child’s school should you provide us with the consent to do so! We recommend that children/adolescents arrive at the Be Brave Ranch with a sufficient but realistic amount of homework for the duration of their stay. There is approximately a minimum of 30 minutes of scheduled homework time for the children’s program and a minimum of 45-60 minutes for the adolescent program. Although we focus on the mental health and psychological wellbeing of the child/adolescent, we recognize the importance of school. We are more than willing to connect directly with your child’s principal or teacher to discuss the best way to support them during and following their treatment with us. Please contact the transition coordinator if you would like us to work with your child’s school directly.
The child’s health is a very important part of our overall wellness objectives. Any illness or health issues will be provided immediate medical attention. The Be Brave Ranch has access to the public health system if medical care is required, and all parents/guardians will be asked to sign a consent form allowing the Be Brave Ranch staff to assist the child medically in the most appropriate manner, should the need arise. Children with specific medical needs will be attended to by appropriately trained staff in close discussion with their caregivers. All childcare workers at the Ranch are trained in medication administration as well as CPR and first aid.
Due to COVID-19 we have updated many of our protocols and practices to ensure the safety of the children their cohort and our staff team. We are following and exceeding all recommended health protocols.
*Please note that present visiting hours are limited due to COVID-19. Until further notice, we ask that visits be limited as much as possible. We also ask that children not be taken off-site for visits, and that, should a visit occur, it occur on-site at the Be Brave Ranch. We thank you for your cooperation through these challenging times!
The Be Brave Ranch has set visiting hours when children are on site. If family members wish to come on site to visit their child, they are required to submit a vulnerable sector check. Visiting hours are available during the weekday evenings from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and flexible during weekends. Parents/guardians are also able to take their children off site for visits during these times. If you wish to arrange to come on site or take your child off site, we please ask that all weekend visits are coordinated/confirmed no later than 12PM Friday.
Visits typically take place in a separate cabin known as Parkwood. We ask that parents/guardians remain in the designated visiting space and refrain from wandering through the facility. If a family is already visiting with their child in Parkwood and another family is on site for a visit, the visit may take place in the main building.
Parents/guardians are more than welcome to bring their other children to visits. Anyone over the age of 18 is required to submit a criminal record check to the organization prior to coming on site for a visit.
The Be Brave Ranch program is a completely voluntary treatment program. If at any time either the child or their family wishes to leave the program, they may do so simply by filling out the program withdrawal form.
Our interview/screening process is such that eligibility criteria are in place to ensure that the program is suitable for each individual child and family. Desire to be engaged in programming must be expressed before treatment begins. Throughout the entire treatment program, children are actively supported in working through any difficulties or trauma they may be experiencing.
Operating such a comprehensive treatment program for a one-year period is expensive. In total, children complete more than 200 hours of multi-modal therapy during their one-year period. Additionally, we are providing education and supports for families which has additional costs. Due to the kindness of our donors, we have raised sufficient funds to provide treatment for children to participate in the Be Brave Ranch program at no cost which reduces barriers for children and families to access services. As a small charitable organization, it is becoming more challenging to continue to raise millions of dollars each year to cover the full cost of treatment for each child. We ask that if families or caregivers have access to outside resources to offset therapy costs to please let us know prior to intake. Little Warriors can bill costs for treatment based on current fee structures.
The cost per child for the one-year treatment program is approximately $25,000. Any additional outside financial support will allow Little Warriors to accept more children into our treatment program and reduce growing waitlists. This includes all attendance at the Be Brave Ranch (a total of up to 10 weeks of intensive therapy as well as transitional supports over a one-year period), and all of the outpatient continuing care sessions, as well as all family support and interactions. It does not, unfortunately, include covering the costs for travel to and from the Be Brave Ranch for the child or their parents. Nonetheless, the Be Brave Ranch is committed to trying to help as many children as possible, and if the cost of travel is a limiting factor in the child attending the treatment program, please contact the Be Brave Ranch directly.
If you have the ability to make a financial donation to Little Warriors you can do so here.
Tragically, childhood sexual abuse occurs in all regions and in all groups of societies. For this reason our aim is to provide services to children across North America. At present, the majority of our children come from across Canada.
Referrals are accepted from parents, guardians, caregivers and kinship or extended family members across Canada. Referrals are also accepted from professionals such as physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, educators and agencies supporting children, youth and families (including mental health and/or addiction service providers, social and family service providers, other sexual assault programs, or other community based services.
The Be Brave Ranch has a comprehensive eligibility and intake process, and each child must meet these criteria in order to be admitted into the program.
Please visit our website to determine the suitability for each child and to find out how to apply for entry into the Be Brave Ranch program.
Clinical staff members have extensive experience working with complex mental health issues and deescalating challenging behaviours. The safety of the children while they are at the Be Brave Ranch is the staff’s number one priority. Click here to meet our clinical team.
Awake, adult supervision is maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a high staff to child ratio.
Every adult working or staying at the Be Brave Ranch must pass standard criminal record and vulnerable sector checks. In addition, a highly comprehensive security system is in place, both in terms of technology and a full-time security team dedicated to this program.
Clinical staff members are experienced to effectively cope with challenging behaviours, and to intervene before further problems arise. The safety of the children while they are at the Be Brave Ranch is the staff’s number one priority.
A lot of families wonder how to talk to their children about coming to the Be Brave Ranch. This is a tricky question to answer, as all guardians/care-takers have different relationships with their children, and thus, different ‘styles’ of communication. However, there are some pieces we encourage you to incorporate into the conversation:
No. The Be Brave Ranch does not allow any such devices on-site. This is to ensure the ongoing safety and confidentiality of all children on-site for treatment. Many parents/care-givers feel their child won’t be able to survive without their devices, however, we continue to be impressed by how fast the children forget about them! Oftentimes, the children themselves identify how much more settled/calm/grounded they feel without them! It’s important for the children to know that, even know they can’t bring their cell-phones on-site, they are able to use the cabin phones to make any phone-calls to individuals on their Approved Contact List. So, they will never be completely ‘cut-off’!
Typically, the Be Brave Ranch staff facilitate phone-calls home in the evenings. This is because the children are in clinical programming between approximately 9AM—5PM Monday—Friday. Every evening (from about 5:30—7:30PM), the staff working in the cabin with your child will ask if they want to make any phone-calls. Children will never be forced to call anyone on their Approved Contact List, but may be encouraged if it’s been a few days since their last phone-call home. Children may phone parents/guardians in the morning prior to programming at 9:00 a.m., as well. Though we try to keep phone-calls outside of programming times, children know they can call home throughout the day if ever needed.
You, the guardian, will create a list of contacts that your child may call while at the Be Brave Ranch. Be Brave Ranch staff will only call the individuals on that Contact List. As an extra safety measure, each child has their own phone password; this is provided to the guardian, and it is the guardian’s responsibility to inform those on the Approved Contact List of this password, as well. Whenever a Staff member makes a phone-call on behalf of a child, Staff will first ask what the password is; only when the password is relayed will the phone be handed off to your child.