Azleway Boys’ Ranch prepares for transition process towards family-based care

About 40 kids expected to be moved to foster care or back home

VIDEO: Azleway Boys’ Ranch to transition to family-based care

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - About 40 kids at an East Texas boys' ranch will soon be moved to foster homes, other organizations, and some will even return to their own homes.

For almost 40 years, Azleway has aimed to help kids in crisis. The sign out front says it all, “Not just a home ... an opportunity.”

“All of our kids comes from abuse and neglect backgrounds,” said Chester Amidon, incoming interim executive director. “They have experienced trauma in their families.”

Ranch leaders say in the coming weeks about 40 kids who call Azleway home will be moved to new homes.

“As the trends throughout child welfare are moving away from residential care, more into normalized less restrictive environments," he said.

Some of the boys will be moved into Azleway foster homes, other organizations, and some of them will even go back to their own homes.

“It’s a difficult time even in the best circumstances to transition to adulthood,” Amidon said. “But particularly with our children who haven’t always had the best opportunities in the past.”

Azelway hopes the changes will place Azleway in a better financial and programmatic position to continue with the same faith-based care they’ve offered 40 years.

“It’s just consistent with our long range plan to move toward normal lives,” Amidon said. “Less restrictive care for young people and children.”

And with the Christmas holidays fast approaching, Amidon says they’re hoping to make this transition as smooth as possible, especially for kids who are no stranger to chance.

“It’s a time that we’re trying to help those young men transition from here, but still enjoy the holiday season as much as possible. And all the gifts that all of our community has been so generous to provide for us," he said.

And while the boys' ranch is their most visible program, Azleway provides care for kids through it’s own foster system. In total, they serve about 350 boys and girls.

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