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Tonight's special guest is Tonya Ratcliff from Guthrie, Oklahoma, here to talk about the Peppers Ranch organization (www.peppersranch.com) where the mission is to "break the cycle" of child abuse and neglect through loving homes, counseling, and growth-oriented activities. By creating a network of caring foster parents and adult mentors on whom children can depend, Peppers Ranch is committed to providing a safe and secure environment where physical and emotional wounds can heal. Their web site notes that children entering the foster care system have many times been exposed to domestic violence, substance abuse..and worse, by their parents and guardians. Without stability, they often experience social, emotional, developmental, and academic delays. Programs are designed to help them successfully overcome these challenges. With so many deficits, it is difficult for foster parents to connect the children to all of the services they require to catch up to their same age peers. Due to the extensive time, money, effort and energy it takes to meet these special needs, many foster parents "burn out", resulting in another move for the child in a potentially long history of instability. Each move further decreases the child's chances to break the cycle of abuse and neglect.
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