Residency  •  Day Program  •  Ranch Camp  •  Respite


Residency

What happens after an interest form is filled out?

Residency and Day Program – You won't hear any update until there is an opening.  However, we will periodically ask that you update the Day Program Interest Form or Residency Interest Form. Respite and other programs – You should receive an email or phone follow up within a few days of submitting the form.  The usual process:
  • Contact – Email or phone contact will be made to let you know there is an opening.
  • Tour – We will set up a time for yourself or loved one to come out to see the Ranch and meet the Ranchers.
  • Paperwork – If the Ranch seems to be a good fit, we will give you an application along with a few other documents that will need to be completed.
  • Trial – After completing the tour and paperwork, a 3-14 day trial is recommended. 
  • Enrollment – Based on the trial, we will notify yourself or your loved one of acceptance.

where does funding for residency come from?

We have three funding sources: Home and Community Based Services (HCS), Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), and private pay.

Is admission based on level of need?

We do not have a specific criteria on a level of need that would exclude someone from admission. It is important for those interested in residency to complete a trial visit. The visit will help the family and the individual to evaluate if the Ranch is the right setting for them.

How long is the wait list for residential services?

Review the residency webpage to see current program openings. 

When a vacancy occurs, the residency interest list is consulted to find potential matches for the living situation and residential option available. All other factors being equal, a potential Rancher who has shown interest longer may not be offered programing before those who have been on the list a shorter time.

 

Difference between ICF and HCS

Learn more about ICF and HCS, look at this Comparison Chart 

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Day Program

What days and times is Day Program open?

For individuals who are not residents of Down Home Ranch, Day Program is from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday.

What if I need to stay at Day Program from 3:00pm to 5:00pm, is that possible?

It’s based on availability, but 3:00pm-5:00pm can be attended for an additional nominal fee per hour.

When is the Day Program closed?

Day Program is closed on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. We are also closed for the week of Thanksgiving (Monday through Friday), as well as the week of Christmas until January 2. We are also closed for a week during our bi-annual Down Home Ranch cruise which is typically the second or third week in January.

Do I need to bring a lunch?

You are more than welcome to bring your own lunch everyday. A nutritionally balanced lunch is served at noon Monday through Thursday for $3.00.

How will I know about activity cost?

The individual will be notified the week of for any activities that will have a fee.

How will I pay for lunches and activities?

A bill will be sent each month to the physical or email address on file. If payment is not received within 30 days of the due date, the individual may be discharged from services until payment is received in full.

How is it handled when someone is sick?

If an individual has a fever at or above 100.4 and/or has vomiting or diarrhea, it’s requested that the individual not attend Day Program until symptom free for at least 24 hours. If an illness develops during Day Program, contact will be made with the individual’s responsible party to coordinate pick up.

What happens after an interest form is filled out?

Residency and Day Program – You won't hear any update until there is an opening.  However, we will periodically ask that you update the Day Program Interest Form or Residency Interest Form.

Respite and other programs – You should receive an email or phone follow up within a few days of submitting the form. 

The usual process:

  • Contact – Email or phone contact will be made to let you know there is an opening.
  • Tour – We will set up a time for yourself or loved one to come out to see the Ranch and meet the Ranchers.
  • Paperwork – If the Ranch seems to be a good fit, we will give you an application along with a few other documents that will need to be completed.
  • Trial – After completing the tour and paperwork, a 3-14 day trial is recommended. 
  • Enrollment – Based on the trial, we will notify yourself or your loved one of acceptance.

back to day program 


Ranch Camp

What’s the weather like?

Texas summers are full of sunshine. The average highs get into the 90s and the lows into the 70s. Adequate amounts of shade, water and breaks will be allowed to ensure the safety of your camper.

Is the camp staff trained to work with this population?

At Down Home Ranch, we hire only those that are passionate and excited about working with individuals with a variety of cognitive and physical disabilities. All camp staff have been interviewed, passed a background check and are certified in CPR. Along with this, all counselors are required to attend training which addresses various aspects specific to Down Home Ranch Camp.

What should my camper bring to camp?

Once your camper’s application is accepted, we will send you a packing list in your confirmation email. 

What is the staff-to-camper ratio?

We aim to have ratios of 1 counselor to 5 campers, but never go higher than 1 counselor to 10 campers.

What if my child has food allergies or special dietary needs?

Because we’re serving so many, it’s not always possible for us to meet special dietary needs. However, sometimes we can make an exception. If your child has any kind of food allergy or dietary need, please contact us before registering to see if we can meet your child’s needs.

What if my camper gets sick or hurt?

Your camper’s safety is the utmost importance to our staff. We will have a nurse on location who will be able to take care of any minor wounds and injuries. For emergencies or a sickness that requires for your camper to leave camp early, we will contact you immediately. Should we need to take a camper to the ER, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Taylor, TX will be our primary hospital.

Can Ranch Camp accept payment from a waiver program, insurance, general revenue or other third party payers?

Yes! Down Home Ranch is willing to contract and accept payment from 3rd party payers (responsible entities).

We have contracted with many Local Intellectual Development Disability Authorities (LIDDA) and private residential providers. If the responsible entity would like to pay once camp is completed, we will need an Authorization Letter or Letter of Guarantee submitted with the camper application.

For questions about contracting, please contact us camp@downhomeranch.org.

As of 2019, many Texas IDD waivers will no longer allow for respite funds to be used at camps that are not accredited by the American Camp Association. Ranch Camp IS accredited by ACA and we have a certificate on file to send as requested. 

Ranch Camp Refunds

Camp payment may be refunded if a written request is received at least 30 days before the start of the particular session. If the Ranch cancels camp, you will receive a 100% refund.

Actions the Ranch is taking to lessen the spread of COVID-19

Check out our COVID-19 Information Page

Pick Up and Drop Off

Your Camper's check-in time will be emailed to you on the Wednesday before camp starts. Check in will be staggered by team and will be a specific window between 1:30-4pm. Check your email for your Camper's specific time. Camp Closing Ceremony starts at 9am on Friday. Campers are expected to be picked up by 10am Friday. 

What is your refund policy?

Camp payment may be refunded if a written request is received at least 30 days before the start of the particular session. If the Ranch cancels camp, you will receive a 100% refund.

How does Camp Canteen work?

Campers will visit the Camp Canteen throughout the week to purchase snacks, drinks, apparel and other items. Campers will need a pre-loaded Camp Canteen gift card purchased before camp. Families can either add funds to their canteen account through the CampBrain portal or purchase a card here. (The average family loads $20-30 per Camper each week.) Camp Canteen is also open immediately after check-out for families and Campers to browse and spend down their canteen cards before departing camp. Money not used at the end of camp can be used for online ordering from the Down Home Ranch online store for up to one year after purchase. After one year, the funds are donated to the DHR Campership fund.

Can I use a Letter of Authorization or Letter of Guarantee?

Yes! There are organizations and programs that will scholarship or pay for camp. If the entity would like to pay once camp is over, the Ranch needs a letter showing this information.

For those using medicaid waivers, please review the FAQ related to this topic.

Can a special diet be accommodated at Ranch Camp?

We can accommodate mostly medically necessary diets. Review page #7 of the Ranch Camp Application, under the heading Eating/Diet for more information. 

We aren’t able to ensure a sterile environment from wheat products for those with Celiac disease.

Can Ranch Camp accept payment from a waiver program, insurance, general revenue or other third party payers?

Yes! Down Home Ranch is willing to contract and accept payment from 3rd party payers (responsible entities).

We have contracted with many Local Intellectual Development Disability Authorities (LIDDAs) and private residential providers.

If the responsible entity would like to pay once camp is completed, a Authorization Letter or Letter of Guarantee must be submitted with the camper's application.

For questions about contracting, please email us at camp@downhomeranch.org.

As of 2019 many Texas IDD waivers will no longer allow for respite funds to be used at camps that are not accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA).

Ranch Camp is NOT an accredited ACA camp. We are currently working towards accreditation but do not expect the process to be completed until 2022 or beyond.

Will I get paid to work at camp?

Our camp staff positions all receive a weekly salary in addition to their room and board covered. Salaries vary by position, but are all priced competitively in the camp market. Counselor salaries starts at $300/week with bonuses for returning staff. Internship positions may have a stipend available in addition to room and board. Ranch Hand positions have meals provided while at camp. Of course, regardless of where you're serving at camp, the smiles, laughs and memories are plentiful and you can't put a price on that!

Do I get time off?

Camp sessions run from Sunday afternoon to Noon on Friday. Staff have a 48 hour break between sessions. Staff will also receive one night off a week and one rest period off.

Where will I be living?

The majority of our staff live in air-conditioned cabins with the Campers. Cabins have bathrooms with showers, bunk beds and large porches with rocking chairs.

Do I need to have experience working with individuals with special needs?

No, but you do have to have a heart for serving others. We'll teach you the rest! Honestly, the Campers aren't that different from you. They just might need some extra support to make their camp experience a success.

Is there a place to do my laundry?

Yes, we have laundry facilities on site and promise we won't make you wear dirty clothes all summer.

What is camp food like?

Better than you probably think it is! We offer a main menu for each meal with some al a carte items available. Highlight meals during the week are cookout, where cabin teams cook dinner over a fire, and a night of celebration, where staff and Campers are served a sit-down themed dinner. We also offer camp canteen every afternoon where Campers and staff can get snacks and treats.

What camp activities will I participate in?

Seriously, let the fun begin! We offer diverse activities including arts & crafts, sports & games, nature activities, geocaching, barnyard with horses and chickens, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, outdoor cooking, drama, swimming and lots of fun evening activities such as talent show, camp dance and campfire with s'mores.

What do I need to bring to Camp?

We'll send you the official packing list once you're on Team Camp, but you need weather appropriate clothes for camp activities, a foot-locker is recommended, twin bedding for your bunk, closed-toe shoes, hygiene products, games and bunk décor (optional).

Any COVID-19 Policies?

Our COVID policies follow the CDC and local health department guidelines. We have extra disinfecting protocols in place and the health and well-being of our staff and Campers is priority. We strongly encourage staff and Campers to be fully vaccinated prior to coming to Camp. Please note that these protocols are evolving as guidelines and recommendations change. We'd be happy to discuss specific concerns or questions with you.

What if my camper leaves something behind (clothes, toiletries, etc)?

At the end of camp there will be a Lost and Found Box where campers can look before leaving. We encourage all families to mark their camper's items. If something is left behind, we will hold onto the item for 30 days for you to collect either by coming to the Ranch or by having items mailed to you at your expense. After 30 days, all items will be donated to charity.

Can I volunteer while my camper is at Ranch Camp?

We love volunteers! In order for Campers to get the full camp experience however, we do not allow camp families to volunteer alongside their campers during camp. We do however welcome families to volunteer in other areas of the Ranch while camp is going on. These areas include our horticulture and maintenance programs. Please inquire by emailing camp@downhomeranch.org.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY APPLICATION FEE IS PAID?

A welcome email is sent out, information on payment options and deadlines will be included. If a payment deadline is not met, the Camper’s spot will be forfeited and it will be offered to the next person on our waiting list.

Can my child attend Ranch Camp if they are under 18 years old?

Currently, Ranch Camp has one session for ages 13-17 and multiple sessions for adults, 18 years of age and older. For a list of additional overnight camp options for campers under the age of 18, please check out these resources:

Are scholarships available for my Camper?

Our goal is to provide the Ranch Camp experience to as many individuals as possible. We will consider partial scholarships on a case by case basis. Please send your scholarship request, attached as a cover letter, with the completed Ranch Camp application.

What if my camper gets homesick?

It's not unusual for campers, especially those away for the first time, to feel a bit homesick at first. Most get over it quickly and go on to have a wonderful time. We provide structure and keep campers busy from the moment they arrive, which helps to shift their focus away from home to new friends and having fun. In the rare instance that a camper is truly struggling, we will contact you.

Can I send letters to my camper?

Everyone loves getting mail. If you would like to send your camper an email, we will pass those along to your camper before the next meal time. Please send your email to camp@downhomeranch.org and in the subject line please make sure your camper’s name is there (For example: Hello Mary Sue).

Will I be able to see what my camper is doing?

You will not have day-to-day viewing of your camper's activities, however, a slideshow of the week's activities will be played on the final day of camp and will feature pictures from each day of camp. All photos will be available to download, share and enjoy for years to come!

What does the camp registration fee cover?

Camp registration covers all activities, evening programs, lodging, meals, Ranch Camp t-shirt and equipment usage.

Back to Ranch Camp 


Respite

Can Down Home Ranch accept respite funds from waiver programs?

Yes, since Down Home Ranch is a provider of HCS, we meet the requirements of many Texas waiver programs to provide respite services. Send us an inquiry to find out more info@downhomeranch.org.

What is the criteria for respite?

The criteria is the same as outlined for our residency program http://www.downhomeranch.org/our-programs/residency/

When does respite typically occur?

Respite is based on availability. A respite stay can start any day of the week. Each situation is unique and we are willing to be flexible to meet your needs.

Can the Direct Support Professionals (direct care) be trained on medication administration?

Yes, if the individual has a nurse in their waiver program who determines a task may be delegated to our trained staff.

How are meals taken care of during respite?

When staying in the group home or the independent setting, breakfast and dinner are included at no cost. These meals are balanced and approved by a dietician in most instances.  While attending Day Program a hot lunch is served at no cost Monday – Thursday. Lunch on Friday is typically a packed lunch or item purchased during a shopping trip.

What happens during the weekday?

The first day on the Ranch, the individual will choose what courses, clubs and skills training they want to participate in during their stay; there are a lot of options to choose from. Check out the Day Program site http://www.downhomeranch.org/our-programs/day-program/ and recent newsletters http://www.downhomeranch.org/news-and-events/newsletters/ to learn more about our programming.

What happens during the weekend?

Each week there are activities planned for the weekend that can include baseball games, Special Olympic events, shopping trips, etc. If respite occurs over the weekend the individual will select activities that are of interest to him/her.

If there are activities, how are those paid for during a respite stay?

The individual will need to bring spending cash with them during their respite stay. Typically $20.00 – $50.00 is enough to cover any entry fees and shopping trips. If additional money is needed, a phone call will be made to the responsible party to confirm a dollar amount that can be disbursed to the individual. The responsible party will be billed along with any administrative cost incurred.

How is it handled when someone is sick?

If an individual has a fever at or above 100.4 degrees and/or has vomiting or diarrhea, it may be requested for the individual to return home.

What happens after an interest form is filled out?

Residency and Day Program – You won't hear any update until there is an opening.  However, we will periodically ask that you update the Day Program Interest Form or Residency Interest Form.

Respite and other programs – You should receive an email or phone follow up within a few days of submitting the form. 

The usual process:

  • Contact – Email or phone contact will be made to let you know there is an opening.
  • Tour – We will set up a time for yourself or loved one to come out to see the Ranch and meet the Ranchers.
  • Paperwork – If the Ranch seems to be a good fit, we will give you an application along with a few other documents that will need to be completed.
  • Trial – After completing the tour and paperwork, a 3-14 day trial is recommended. 
  • Enrollment – Based on the trial, we will notify yourself or your loved one of acceptance.

If paying privately, how should I expect to be billed for respite?

Payment must be received before respite begins. Refunds will only be given if canceled 30 days before the start of respite. A partial refund may be given in the event of an illness that requires the individual to return home.

If paying through a waiver, how should I expect to be billed for respite?

Down Home Ranch must have an agreement in place with the provider before respite begins. The respite will be billed after the respite stay is completed.

Back to Respite