This is a staff list for Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch and Boarding School in Humansville, MO
[THIS PROGRAM IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED AS OF SEPTEMBER, 2020]
(we are working to acquire the complete records for ALL years)
We advise current and/or former staff to report any abuses you may have witnessed while working at the Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch. For information on your rights and how to take action, visit www.heal-online.org/blowthewhistle.htm. If you were fired or forced to resign because you opposed any illegal and/or unethical practices at Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch, you have the right to take action.
If you were harmed (family or survivor) by Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch, please contact email@example.com if you remember the long-term employees and from which years. This will help! Also, if you recognize any of these staff as having worked at another program, please send in any information about their past or present employment at other facilities and/or cults.
Please don’t place your loved one in Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch and rescue them if they are there now.
|Boyd C. Householder||Owner||
Householder (Gunslinger4God) on Twitter--
I am the CEO and Founder of Circle of Hope Girls Ranch. Husband, Father, Grandfather. Separated, Independant, Fundamental Baptist! twitter.com/Gunslinger4God - Cached Householder is not a licensed mental health nor medical professional in Missouri. Source: https://renew.pr.mo.gov/licensee-search.asp HEAL has contacted the MO DESE and we are awaiting their response regarding Householder's educator certification status.
|Stephanie Householder||Wife of Owner||
Householder also works at this program.
Source: https://renew.pr.mo.gov/licensee-search.asp (Note: This may be a different person. Boyd's wife's middle name is Anne. But, this does not mean that the nurse above is the same person. If you can confirm whether or not Stephanie Householder the co-owner of Circle of Hope and Registered Nurse Stephanie Householder are the same person, please e-mail us and let us know. Thanks!) HEAL has contacted the MO DESE and we are awaiting their response regarding Householder's educator certification status.
|Ron Sheldon||Staff (Former)||Reportedly worked at this program from 2007-2009. Sheldon went on to work for Agape Boarding School in MO.|
|HEAL received a report on September 26th, 2010 regarding neglect and abuse at this facility. We highly recommend families do not entrust their children to this "Gunslinger".|
|External Link: http://www.secretprisonsforteens.dk/fornitswiki/index.php/Circle_of_Hope_Girls_Ranch|
|External Link: http://wiki.fornits.com/index.php?title=Talk:Circle_of_Hope_Girls_Ranch|
|External Link: http://rotsne.wordpress.com/|
|External Link: http://rotsne.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/got-this-comment/|
|20/20 ABC Network Article: Biblical Reform School Discipline: Tough Love or Abuse? (April 12th, 2011)|
|External Link/Mother Jones Article: http://www.clarkword.com/nb_docs/MJ/MJ_Article_Complete.pdf (July/August, 2011 Issue)|
|External Link: http://chucklestravels.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/circle-of-hope-girls-ranch/|
|External Link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/17/tough-love-thuggery-under-jesus-loving-hands/|
HEAL Report: Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch and Deceptive Marketing
HEAL will be alternating table rows between Circle of Hope's writings, government response, and academic concerns. We will be posting commentary between rows to help explain and contextualize the primary source information presented. We begin by showing a print out of the Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch's website in which they claim to be registered with the state of Missouri Board of Education. As you will see below, this was a false statement made by Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch regarding their status. It is not accredited nor registered with the Missouri Department of Education.
|The above is a printed copy of the Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch website. Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch clearly states that it is registered with the Missouri Board of Education. Following are two letters evidencing that Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch has NEVER been registered nor accredited by the Missouri Board of Education.|
|In the same month and year that the website for Circle of Hope claimed to be registered with the Missouri Board of Education, the Missouri Department of Education wrote stating that Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch is not registered with their office. Circle of Hope lies and uses deceptive marketing practices.|
|The Missouri Department of Education has no record of Circle of Hope Boarding School. HEAL provides the above to further demonstrate that Circle of Hope is not accredited nor registered as a school with the state of Missouri. Boyd Householder's supporters claim that the program is not about making money, but, about "helping girls find hope". However, he makes a point to complain about a $0.59 postage due issue to a parent who is thoroughly dissatisfied with the lies and abuse at Circle of Hope.|
|Readers may find it of interest that Householder claims the girl was never enrolled in the program even though they held her in the program for months and received thousands of dollars from her family. Beyond this, once you've been caught lying and cheating people out of thousands, is it really appropriate to make a "stink" about 59 cents? We don't think so. Below is a copy of the enrollment information for a girl after a quarter being at Circle of Hope. We include this to show that upon entering her new school, she did not have the academic credits promised by Circle of Hope. In addition, most programs in the industry ask families to fill out release of information forms and contact former schools for the necessary transcripts. Generally, schools will and have a policy to handle such requests. It is strange that a girl would be in the program for 3 months without anyone at the "school" noticing that she did not have her transcripts or other necessary paperwork for progress and success in the program/school. Regardless, it shows incompetence at best and downright fraud at worst in regards to "Circle of Hope". Coupled with the evidence regarding Circle of Hope's lack of accreditation/registration with the Department of Education and dishonesty in that regard, we lean more towards believing the worst in this case.|
|It is absolutely obscene that anyone would run an unlicensed, unaccredited, unregistered program and convince families they provide an education when it is clear they do not. Below is a letter Mr. Householder sent to parents. The tone is offensive and antagonistic. It is clear this man has no respect for parents or their families.|
|Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch appears to be little more than a money-making cult and scam. Parents should always be respected and included in decisions regarding the treatment and welfare of their children. It is wholly inappropriate for Mr. Householder to demand such complete control over the entire family and to hang up on parents who call with questions he doesn't want to answer. If you care about your child, we believe you will avoid Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch.|
|External Link: http://www.baptistdeception.com/hello-world/|
|External Link: http://www.fundamentalforums.com/the-fighting-forum/94859-circle-of-hope-girls-ranch-another-one.html|
HEAL Presents: Photos and Descriptions of Conditions at Circle of Hope
in 2007 as reported and submitted by a parent of a former client [HEAL
portion contained in [brackets] and are added for clarification only]:
1B: injury to the foot due to the lack of protection in working with the horses on the ranch.
1A : Shoes: These are the shoes that are part of the uniform at COH [Circle of Hope], as you can see the shoe is almost off the sole. Yet you get to wear them outside in sub degree temperatures in the rain and snow and work with the horses and shovel horse Poop (I would think that isn't' very sanitary!)
BED: Wait there is NO BED! But that I was told was because someone else paid more than we did! (So they aren't in it for the [money] but they will take mattress to get more $ for another girl!
[Closet at Circle of Hope]
Uniforms: yes they charge $300.00 for the salvation Army REJECTS that they get donated! They do however have a nice outfit for church . The "School" uniform is nasty and dirty!
[Content above that is not bracketed was written by parent in report to HEAL.]
|Additional Evidence: Pat Kaiser of MO Department of Education Wrote on March 1st, 2011 that Circle of Hope has never been registered with the Department of Education. And, in the student handbook for Circle of Hope in 2007, Circle of Hope falsely claims to have an "education center" and to be registered with the MO Department of Education.|
|Children removed from Cedar County boarding school as state launches investigation Posted: August 19, 2020 8:20 PM Updated: August 19, 2020 8:30 PM by Zachary Dodge s CEDAR COUNTY, Mo. – As you drive down Highway N in Cedar County near Stockton Lake, you’ll pass what looks like a normal ranch. A pale white house and pasture with some horses inconspicuously sitting on the side of the road in rural Missouri. That inconspicuous ranch is the Circle of Hope Girls Ranch, a girl’s home that’s been advertised as a place where troubled teens can be sent to get on the right track. It was started in 2006 by Boyd and Stephanie Householder, and it says on their website the goal is to “help young ladies who were destroying their lives through poor choices and behaviors, change their future.” But their adult daughter Amanda says it’s something much different. “You’re paying for your kids to be abused,” says Amanda Householder. She says when she was growing up, she was abused by her father Boyd with little or no intervention from her mother. “From the time I was about three or four, my parents started working in what we referred to as the ‘troubled teen industry.’ Before that, we were already being beaten, but that’s basically when it got isolated. Like, I wasn’t allowed to leave my house and talk to other people. I had told other people that my dad was beating us, making us overeat until we barfed. So he started isolating me there,” says Amanda. “My whole childhood… it was just violent. There were times that it was calm, but never would there be a time that we weren’t getting in trouble.” She says that while she was living with her parents at Circle of Hope, girls were forced to eat double and triple portions of food, forced to eat their own vomit, would only be allowed to drink water at specific times of the day, and other attendees would be forced to help restrain other girls during punishments. “My dad would pick up a girl, slam her to the ground, and then call myself and the higher-ups to come and sit on their pressure points. It was my dad with his knee on their head, and then 14 and 15 year-olds on the pressure points being told that if we didn’t press hard enough that it would be our turn next,” says Amanda. Now, she lives in California and has been working to shine a light on what she went through by taking to Facebook, YouTube, and Tic Tok. She has also fostered relationships with other women who have been at the ranch, who have alleged physical, mental, and sexual abuse. “If my parents weren’t running this place, I would not be like, ‘Hey, this is how I was treated.’ It would be done and over with because I’m an adult,” explains Amanda. “But they are still in charge of kids. And it’s been 30 years. They have been working in the troubled teen industry for 30 years, so it’s been 30 years of abusing kids. I just wish people would understand that even though they’re troubled teens, they’re not teens anymore. They’re adult women.” “This is something where our reporter Kathryn Skopec has spoken to potential victims going back longer than a decade.,” says Miles Brite, Editor at the Cedar County Republican. The Cedar County Republican has been following the story for months and was the first mainstream news outlet to publish allegations of abuse at Circle of Hope. “Chasing this down has been something difficult because you get to a point where it is a one-sided story from victims. You want to believe them, you want to tell that story, but you don’t have the platform to do it because no intervention has taken place, no real law enforcement action had been underway. And while some of these things may have been known, none of it was at a point that it was actionable. We’re not in the business of telling stories, we’re in the business of reporting news,” explains Brite. “But in this instance, we had things brought to our attention for such a stretch of time it wasn’t something you could pass off, ignore, or dismiss. And again, our reporter Kathryn has done a phenomenal job gathering this information.” Brite says they started reaching out to victims to catalog their allegations, but even then there were still roadblocks, especially when it came to reaching out to Circle of Hope. “When we had reached out, be it to the actual Circle of Hope organization, or their legal counsel, neither one of them has ever given us anything of substance,” says Brite. “Amanda (Householder) reached out to us, and that really opened the gates when it comes to who she had remained in contact with, a network of previous attendees. We decided at some point, ‘Yes, this is news.’ The frustrating part is knowing you have to wait (because) we didn’t want to do anything that was gonna hamper any investigation.” But now, official action has been taken. Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney Ty Gaither confirms that children have been removed from Circle of Hope as part of an investigation by the state. The Cedar County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in that investigation. He was not able to comment any further, due to the ongoing investigation. “This is now a platform for us to now continue to bring some of these victims’ stories forward to tell more and to tell the broader scope of this story. The depth and longevity of some of these accusations, the amount and the regular frequency that they happened at,” says Brite. “It’s not something that appears to be a one time instance. This is something where there’s genuine depth to it, and some of it is very heartwrenching. Much remains to be seen, and I truly believe this is the tip of the iceberg. And for the sake of those girls, if any of this is true, I hope they get the justice they’re deserved.” And now that action has been taken, Amanda hopes that more women who have attended Circle of Hope will speak out and tell their stories to investigators. “If you would have asked me two years ago, I would have said I wanted it shut down. But, the more and more stories I hear, if it just gets shut down, that’s not gonna do anyone (any) good. My dad needs help and just shutting it down and letting him move to a different state and opening another one is not gonna help him,” says Amanda. “The girls deserve justice, and they deserve to see him behind bars.” We reached out to Circle of Hope Girls Ranch for comment. Boyd Householder answered and said, “I’m not doing good. Goodbye,” and hung up before we could explain why we were calling. We will be following this story as the investigation unfolds. Source: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/children-removed-from-cedar-county-boarding-school-as-state-launches-investigation/|
|After reported abuse at Christian boarding school, some say Missouri law must change BY LAURA BAUER AND JUDY L. THOMAS SEPTEMBER 13, 2020 05:00 AM Duration 0:20 Childhelp's national child abuse hotline launches first text line The non profit Childhelp, which operates the nation's most frequently used child abuse hotline, recently launched its first text line to cater to younger people who might be more comfortable reporting abuse or struggles via text than the phone. BY CHILDHELP A Lee’s Summit lawmaker didn’t hesitate after she read last Sunday about the abuse girls said they had endured at a southwest Missouri Christian boarding school. Rep. Keri Ingle said she emailed the chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect as soon as she finished reading the extensive report in The Star. Ingle is a member of that committee. “I requested a hearing,” said Ingle, a Democrat. “I have a lot of questions.” She and child welfare advocates think it’s time to take another look at the state law that exempts the Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch and other faith-based schools from state licensure and oversight. The Cedar County boarding school, run by Boyd and Stephanie Householder, has had four substantiated reports of abuse since 2006, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services. One report was for neglect, another for physical abuse and neglect and two were sexual abuse allegations. But because Circle of Hope is exempt from state licensure, DSS “does not have authority” over the facility’s operations, an agency spokeswoman said. “When I hear that there were four preponderance of evidence findings … and yet the facility still stayed open, I have tremendous concerns about that,” Ingle said. “As well as the loophole that allowed them to continue to operate despite these preponderance of evidence findings.” Ingle is a Licensed Master Social Worker who spent seven years with the Jackson County Children’s Division, the child welfare agency inside DSS. Girls who talked to The Star about the Circle of Hope told of punishment that included withholding food and water and being forced to stand against a wall for hours for even minor infractions. They also described how they were restrained — a procedure in which they said that after shoving a girl to the floor, Boyd Householder would kneel and press his knee on the back of her neck while four other girls or staff members were required to push as hard as they could on the pressure points on her arms and legs. In the days since The Star’s report, more former residents have come forward with allegations. Parents say their concerns and complaints went unanswered for years. Local news has never been more important Subscribe for unlimited digital access to the news that matters to your community. #READLOCAL Lori Ross, a long-time child advocate in Missouri, said faith-based exemptions to licensure can be dangerous for any industry that provides care to vulnerable people, because there’s potential for lines to be crossed when programming is physically or emotionally harmful. “State licensure can assure that minimal safety standards are created and adhered to,” Ross said. “Things like the number of vulnerable people a child care provider can care for, or the types of discipline a treatment center can impose. “I believe these standards are necessary to prevent situations like Circle of Hope from happening and continuing unaddressed for years.” As that push to reform the law moves forward, so does the investigation by southwest Missouri authorities and state agencies. Nearly two weeks ago, local and state law enforcement served a search warrant at the school. That move came after authorities removed 25 girls from the ranch on Aug. 14 and 15. Many girls were immediately taken to a facility in Joplin and workers with DSS called parents to pick up their daughters. It is not clear whether the Householders plan to continue housing troubled girls at Circle of Hope. In late July, a Washington couple drove 32 hours from the Seattle area to pick up their daughter who had gone to the school for two years. The family then went directly to the Sheriff’s Office and the 17-year-old told a deputy what went on inside Circle of Hope. Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney Ty Gaither said he’s still waiting on investigative reports from state agencies and law enforcement. “The request for charges has not come across my desk,” Gaither told The Star on Wednesday. The Householders could not be reached for comment and their attorney, Jay Kirksey, has not responded to calls. After the allegations against the boarding school began swirling on social media months ago, the Householders reached out to a man they’ve known for years. Mike Stephens, a Republican state representative from nearby Bolivar, said Boyd and Stephanie Householder have spoken with him several times in recent months and they insist they are being falsely accused. Stephens, a retired pharmacist who now represents the area that includes Circle of Hope, said he’s never received a complaint about the reform school or the Householders. “I am real upset and worried that they are being crushed, their lives are being crushed over allegations that I’m concerned about,” Stephens told The Star. “They’re just desperate. They’ve devoted their lives to the care of these children. And now their reputations are being trashed and ruined. They’re being vilified. “They feel that they are completely innocent.” Boyd Householder told Stephens about authorities searching the ranch. “The Sheriff’s Office came, broke down their door .... and took their surveillance equipment,” Stephens said. “That is what I was told.” The lawmaker said he has a “long familiarity” with Circle of Hope and has known the Householders for more than a decade, initially becoming acquainted with them when they started coming to his pharmacy to fill prescriptions. Caring for troubled youth, Stephens said, can be a “very difficult and challenging proposition.” The teens know the system, he said, and know how to work it. “These kids that end up in these homes, they are practiced and expert master manipulators; they just are,” he said. “You may not want to hear that.” Based on his experience with the Householders, Stephens said he sees them as a couple who have “conducted themselves in a very upright way.” “I know their character and I know their heart,” he said. “I just have a hard time embracing the idea that they are serial abusers.” Several times during his conversation with The Star, though, Stephens pointed out that while he vouches for the Householders as long-time friends who are “deeply religious,” he can’t know what has gone on inside the walls of Circle of Hope over the years. “I wasn’t in a closet watching every move every day,” he said. “I don’t lay claim to knowing everything that has gone on all the time. … Were there lines crossed in their approach? There’s no way for me to say so. And I want to make that clear.” Ingle cautions that from her experience as a social worker, what you think you see in people isn’t always what is true. “People can appear to be upstanding citizens in all other facets of their life … and still harm children,” Ingle said. “I experienced that a plethora of times during my career at the Children’s Division, where someone who otherwise seems to be on the up and up has the capacity to hurt people that they are in charge of.” LAWS DENYING OVERSIGHT The complaints about the boarding school go back to 2007, a year after it first opened to three girls. Subsequent investigations didn’t spur change. Not even in the law that exempts some faith-based residential treatment facilities. Residential treatment programs for troubled teens — many of them religious-based — have been operating across the country for decades, often exempt from any oversight. In investigations conducted in 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office discovered thousands of allegations of abuse at residential treatment programs between 1990 and 2007, some of which involved death. Investigators posing as parents also found widespread use of deceptive marketing practices. The GAO said there were no federal oversight laws that pertained specifically to private residential programs, with the exception of psychiatric facilities receiving Medicaid funds. For years, lawmakers have tried to address the issue. The most recent attempt, the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2017, would have prohibited physical or mental abuse; disciplinary techniques such as seclusion; withholding essential food, water, clothing, shelter or medical care; and the use of restraints that impair breathing or communication. The proposal also would have directed the Department of Health and Human Services to implement a review process for overseeing, investigating and evaluating reports of child abuse and neglect in such programs and establish a process to assist states in oversight and enforcement. “There are hundreds of good residential treatment programs that provide services which can truly help youth recover and transition from serious behavioral problems or traumatic experiences,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “But without stronger federal regulation and oversight, programs that engage in abusive practices will continue to slip through the cracks, leaving behind traumatized and abused children and families.” Like similar proposals before it, the bill died. Missouri law requires private agencies that provide residential treatment for children and youth to be licensed by the Department of Social Services’ Children’s Division. But that law includes several exemptions. Among them: “Any foster home arrangement established and operated by any well-known religious order or church and any residential care facility or child placement agency operated by such organization.” That means Circle of Hope is not required to be licensed by DSS — and therefore, DSS does not have oversight over it. “The Department of Social Services does not have authority over the operations of license-exempt facilities,” said DSS spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel in an email to The Star. The statute also says that DSS cannot require those claiming an exemption to prove that they should be exempt. That law, which went into effect in 1982, has only been amended once in 38 years. That was to change the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability.” Ross said she’s not surprised that the state law hasn’t significantly changed in nearly four decades. “Missouri has a very strong lobby against state regulation on anything that involves religion, even to the detriment of our children and vulnerable adults,” Ross said. “Situations like Circle of Hope happen all the time, and are happening now in other facilities across the state, but rarely receive public attention.” Without a facility being licensed by the state, she said, the only action the state can take after substantiated reports of abuse is to put a facility or school on the Central Registry. “The facilities can continue to operate and other vulnerable people continue to be abused,” she said. “But even worse, families who are desperate for help and reach out to these places are often unaware of the dangers their loved ones may face. “If the place is still operating, they will assume that it does what it purports to do.” That’s why she and others say there are lingering questions for law enforcement and the state about Circle of Hope. Did law enforcement investigate alongside the Children’s Division in years past? Was a case ever presented to the county prosecutor? When the four reports were substantiated, did the Children’s Division provide services or take any action? “I would say the state would have the duty to step in if there’s a case like this one,” Ingle said. “Where we have numerous reports and four that were substantiated, I think we do have a duty to the children of this state to shut facilities like that down. “What fell through the cracks that allowed this to happen? Other than this loophole that allows religious entities not to have to undergo the same licensing standards and therefore not have the same oversight?” AN EARLY ALLEGATION Donna Maddox was livid after arriving at Circle of Hope in November 2007 for her first visit with her daughter. Kelsey’s clothes were filthy, she was sleeping on a foam mattress pad on a piece of plywood, and she’d barely done any school work in the three months she’d been there. And when the 14-year-old took her mom aside and described the verbal and physical abuse she said she and the other girls had endured, Maddox had seen and heard enough. She pulled Kelsey out of Circle of Hope and took her home to Oklahoma. Then she started contacting every agency she could think of to report the concerns. “I tried every possible angle,” Maddox told The Star. “I called the Department of Social Services, I called the sheriff, I called the Highway Patrol, the local police. I contacted the attorney general about the violation of the consumer protection laws because they were not educating my daughter, and I called the FBI. “I even went to D.C. and walked around the Capitol, trying to let them know that these abuses were going on at these institutions. But basically, it was brushed off. Lots of people said, ‘Oh, that’s out of our jurisdiction.’ Someone could have done something, but nobody wanted to mess with it.” Maddox also contacted the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, asking whether Circle of Hope was registered with the State Board of Education. At the time, the Circle of Hope website said that it was. In a Sept. 2, 2008, letter, an education department official told Maddox that non-public schools — private, parochial and home schools — “do not fall under the purview of the Missouri State Board of Education or its administrative branch, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.” State law only grants the department oversight of public schools, the letter said. Non-public schools are not required to register with the department or the state Board of Education. “On a voluntary basis, some non-public schools submit data to the department in order to be listed on our non-public information report,” the letter said. “However, the department has no record of the Circle of Hope Boarding School.” That remains the case today, a department spokeswoman said. Maddox had placed her daughter at Circle of Hope in late summer 2007 because she’d gotten in trouble for drinking alcohol at her Oklahoma middle school. “Before school one day, me and some girls, I took a sip — a sip — of vodka,” Kelsey, who is now married and goes by Maddox-Dunn, told The Star. “And I got suspended for that.” The day she returned to class, she was suspended again for getting in a fight with one of the girls who had been drinking. Donna Maddox — who as a child of alcoholics had been placed in foster care, aged out at 18 and ended up homeless — said she panicked and decided she had to “nip it in the bud” before things got out of control. While the family spent that summer in Syracuse, N.Y., Donna Maddox researched some options online and came up with what sounded like a good solution: Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch. So on the drive back to Oklahoma, she pulled into a church parking lot in Springfield, where Householder was waiting. “She opened the car door and Boyd Householder grabbed my arm, twisted it around and yanked me out of the car,” Maddox-Dunn said. “I had no idea what was going on. It was awful.” She still vividly recalls what happened when they got to the ranch. “I had just eaten, and they were eating dinner,” she said. “It was Brussels sprouts. I was like, ‘I’m not hungry.’ He said, ‘If you don’t eat, I’m gonna shove that down your throat, and if you puke it up, you’re gonna eat that, too.’” Like other former residents The Star has interviewed, Maddox-Dunn recited some of the rules the girls had to follow. Only two changes of clothes a week, just a few squares of toilet paper when using the restroom, 10 pushups for every second you go beyond three minutes in the shower. And absolutely no talking. “You couldn’t talk to anybody,” she said. “One time I said, ‘The cheesecake smells good.’ And they made me eat cheesecake until I threw up, with another girl, just for saying it smells good.” In the three months she was there, Maddox-Dunn said, “I only did school once, maybe twice.” At one point, she said, she was ordered to write something in a letter to her mom that wasn’t true. When she refused, she was shoved to the floor and restrained by Householder and several staff members. “Literally, I was eating carpet,” she said. “Rug burns, bruises, everything.” She said she had to fake being “saved” in order to be allowed a visit from her mom. When her mom arrived, Maddox-Dunn took her outside, saying she wanted to show her the animals. There, in a rare moment away from the Householders’ scrutiny, she told her what had been going on. “Then when she saw our rooms and saw that I had no bed, she saw the worn-out shoes and the dirty uniforms, she took my word for it,” she said. “And she took me out that day.” Donna Maddox said she felt terrible for sending her daughter to Circle of Hope. “I was shocked that I had entrusted my daughter to them,” she said. “I honestly thought my daughter was going to a caring, loving environment.” Her stay at Circle of Hope, Maddox-Dunn said, made her life worse, not better. “When I came home, I went really downhill,” she said. “I spiraled really quick. I used drugs, I had to go to rehab.” Donna Maddox said she continued the effort to get someone to investigate Circle of Hope. “I was trying to raise awareness to let everyone know I made a huge mistake, and to please don’t make the same mistake,” she said. At one point, she said, Householder told her, “You can complain to whoever you want to, but no one will ever believe.” When she learned about the recent investigation, Donna Maddox said, she cried. “I’m happy that action has finally been taken,” she said. “But look at how many children could have been saved from these abuses and these horrendous actions if they’d have done the right thing years ago.” Maddox-Dunn said in some ways, she understands why nobody wanted to get involved. “I get it,” she said. “There’s a lot of troubled girls. People are going to think that’s all it is, they just want attention. But these aren’t things you make up. I would take a lie detector test today. And I’m sure most of the girls would.” She said she’s now “at a good place” in her life. “I have children, I have a husband, I’m very blessed.” And she wants to turn her bad experience into something positive. Getting the law changed to stop allowing exemptions for religious-based residential treatment facilities would be a good start, she said. “It’s just beyond me that they can be exempt,” she said. “Religion shouldn’t be above the law. Nobody should be.” When her mom started calling authorities 13 years ago, Maddox-Dunn said, “I didn’t have any hopes.” “But now, I feel like we’re really getting close,” she said. “We should not be afraid to speak our voice. We’re not the victims; we’re the survivors. If we’re victims, they’ve won. We’re survivors, because we’re gonna win.” Source: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article245661315.html|
|Circle of Hope owners speak out, close doors, amid state level investigation Owners say doors will be closed permanently. Posted: September 17, 2020 6:20 PM by Zachary Dodge spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreen shift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% CEDAR COUNTY, Mo. – The owners of Circle of Hope Girl’s Ranch, a boarding school in Cedar County, say they will be keeping their doors closed for good amid an abuse and neglect investigation by the state. The state has been investigating the boarding school after allegations of physical, mental, and sexual abuses started to arise from former residents. So far they have removed around 20 girls from the facility, which happened in August and served a search warrant on September 1st. In recent years, the state substantiated four reports of abuse and neglect, one for neglect, one for physical abuse, and two for sexual abuse allegations, says Rebecca Woelfel, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services. She also says since the recently closed reform school is exempt from state licensure, the state doesn’t have authority over its operations. Owners Stephanie and Boyd Householder claim those allegations are untrue, and they want their reputation restored. They say the allegations come from girls who are frustrated that their lives didn’t turn out the way they wanted after leaving the school. “They’re angry and they’re bitter, and they want to blame somebody,” says Stephanie Householder. “They feel like they’re victims, and they just want to take their anger out on somebody.” “I’m really upset at the fact that they’ve said that the girls who are speaking out have gone nowhere in life,” says Amanda Householder, the adult daughter of Stephanie and Boyd. “Some of these girls have master’s degrees in education. Some of them have worked with autistic children. Some are nurses, some are veterinarians, some are stay-at-home moms. We’ve all gone somewhere in our life. They’re trying to get people to still think of us as troubled teens. And so I think maybe they’re just so delusional they think that they can just continue to blind people with their narcissism and lies.” Stephanie and Boyd also commented on a video that was recorded at the school in March that appeared to show Boyd Householder endorsing violence among the girls. Boyd says the video was edited, and that he was simply telling one girl that she could defend herself against another. Amanda says that she’s glad to see the doors are closed but will continue to push for legal repercussions against her parents. “I was relieved, but I honestly feel like this is their way of trying to hide from all of this,” says Amanda. “They know the truth and we know the truth, and we’re not gonna stop fighting until they stop denying it and until they are held accountable.” The Circle of Hope website has been taken down, and Google lists it as being “permanently closed.” The sign outside of the ranch has also been taken down. Missouri Representative Keri Ingle has asked the state’s Office of the Child Advocate to conduct a complete review of the allegations against Circle of Hope and called for a legislative committee hearing on the matter. “I want to know what happened, what happened in the system?” Ingle says. “Was it they weren’t following their own policies, they weren’t following existing laws? Or are there laws and policies that need to be put in place to prevent this from happening again?” The Associated Press contributed to this report. Previous reports on the investigation into Circle of Hope: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/children-removed-from-cedar-county-boarding-school-as-state-launches-investigation/ https://www.koamnewsnow.com/search-warrant-served-at-circle-of-hope-girls-ranch/ Source: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/circle-of-hope-owners-speak-out-close-doors-amid-state-level-investigation/|
*(Circle of Hope Girls' Ranch, like many other programs in this industry, keeps a "tight lid" on any specific information regarding their staff, qualifications, and practices. Please contact us with the names of any staff of which you have firsthand knowledge or experience. Thank you for your help.)
Last Updated:September 17th, 2020