Hacienda Girl’s Ranch, Melbourne, is a program of the Children’s Home Society of Florida, Brevard Division.
Hacienda was originally established in 1968 by a group of caring Brevard citizens. One family anonymously donated the 25-acre campus and the Florida Federation of Women’s Club funded the construction of three buildings. In 1999, Hacienda partnered with CHS’s Brevard Division to improve and expand services.
Today, Hacienda can shelter 45 girls, ranging in age from 10-17 years old, in comfortable residential-style homes on a 25-acre campus that includes a swimming pool and basketball court. Hacienda offers mental health counseling, remedial education and vocational opportunities for each child. Some girls take part in an Independent Living Program aimed at preparing them to live on their own.
Hacienda Girl’s Ranch is based on the philosophy that regardless of circumstances which may have left a girl homeless, she should be given an equal opportunity for healthy, emotional and physical growth. At Hacienda, girls receive unconditional acceptance and support which can lead to better habits. With increased self-esteem, a girl can initiate responsible thinking and self motivational habits. Hacienda Girl’s Ranch seeks to provide a homeless girl with new beginnings, new opportunities and a new hope for her future.
Hacienda Girl’s Ranch is a residential child care facility located in Melbourne and licensed by the State of Florida. The Florida Federation of Women’s Club contributed funds to build three homes on the twenty-five acre campus. Hacienda continues to be funded by the Florida Federation of Women’s Club, other public donations, and monthly foster care payments from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). In 1998 Hacienda joined wit the Children’s Home Society of Florida.
A young girl may not be able to live in her own home for many reasons. She may have been orphaned, neglected, abused or abandoned. Divorce, alcohol, drugs, death or other tragic realities may have robbed her of the security of living with her parents. Past trauma may have caused a previously well-adjusted, bright girl to resort to inappropriate behaviors and not to take responsibility for her own actions. She is not delinquent; she is a complex, growing child struggling for survival.
Hacienda is prepared to meet her needs. Loving house-parents are available to the girls at all times. Counselors with master’s degrees provide individual, group and family counseling. A full-time teacher on staff provides supplemental education through computerized learning activities, tutoring and crafts.
The primary goal of Hacienda is to reunite the family if at all possible. When circumstances do not provide for the family to be reunited, Hacienda seeks to provide a home for the girl where she may remain through high school.
All homeless, dependant girls residing in Florida between the ages of 10 and 17 are eligible for admission. Girls are referred by Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Community Based Care agencies. A formal application and interview initiate the process, but the final decision is made by the child.
How you can help
It takes the dedication, determination and personal sacrifice of many people to make Hacienda one of the finest facilities of its kind in the State of Florida. The needs of Hacienda Girl’s Ranch are ongoing. You too, can be a supporter of the ranch, so come aboard… the girls need you!
Contact: Children’s Home Society at (321) 752-3170
or visit: www.chsfl.org