CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CN) - A pricey ranch for troubled boys was properly shut down for lack of state-required certification, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The Triangle Cross Ranch charged parents a $2,500 admission fee and $6,000 per month to work their troubled sons on a cattle ranch that owners Gerald and Michaeleen Schneider say was based on Christian values and prayer.
The camp purported to address behavioral issues connected with drug and alcohol abuse, ADD/ADHD, depression, narcissism and other disorders. The rigors of ranch life, along with treatment, would straighten the boys out within 18 months, the Schneiders claimed on their website. They offered a guarantee that if a child reverted back to his bad behavior, they would accept him back "for free."
The Wyoming Department of Family Services sought to shut the camp down because it did not have certification.
State Judge Steven Cranfill ordered the ranch closed after a bench trial in Park County District Court, so the Schneiders appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Justice Kate Fox, writing for the five-justice panel, said the district court was right to shut down the ranch because it fell under the definition of a child care facility offering services to children who are "delinquent or have an intellectual disability.
"We find that there was sufficient evidence for the district court to conclude that Triangle Cross offered services to delinquent children," Fox wrote for the court. "The district court correctly found that Triangle Cross Ranch was ... required by Wyoming law to obtain certification. We affirm the order enjoining Triangle Cross Ranch, Gerald E. Schneider and Michaeleen Schneider from continuing to operate without such certification."
The Schneiders claimed that drug and behavior problems "are naturally helped through ranch life," and by "building Christian virtues through prayer," according to the 8-page ruling.
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