St. Jude's Ranch Keeps Foster Siblings Together

(Jul. 26) -- One of the biggest tragedies in the overcrowded foster care system in Clark County is that children are often separated from their brothers and sisters.

St. Jude's Ranch for Children, though, is committed to keeping large sibling groups together

For nearly 40 years, St. Jude's Ranch in Boulder City has been a refuge for abused, abandoned and neglected children in Southern Nevada like former ranch resident Danny, who is now 19.

Danny said, "I have four brothers and three sisters."

Danny was 11 years old when he and his siblings were removed from their home. His younger sisters moved in with an aunt and he and his brothers were placed at St. Jude's Ranch where being together meant everything at that troubled time in their lives.

Danny continued, "If you're apart, it's like a part of you is lost. You don't feel whole anymore."

Tony Robillard said, "That's what it's all about keeping the kids together."

Tony and Konne Robillard are family teachers at St. Jude's Ranch. They live with and care for eight young boys around the clock in one of several family cottages on the 40-acre ranch that overlooks Lake Mead.

Konne Robillard said, "It's an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to help some kid at risk. The rewards you get internally are really what it's all about."

More than half of the children at the ranch are siblings.

St. Jude's has 37 kids at its Boulder City location, but is licensed for 56.

In order to take in more children, more family teachers are needed now.

Danny said, "We need more people on the front lines fighting this battle for homeless kids. My motto is if you can help one child and make a difference in their life, than your life is worthwhile."

Danny has since moved on from St Jude's Ranch. He works and attends college and remains very close to his brothers and sisters.

For more information about St. Jude's Ranch for Children, or how to become a family teacher call 294-7138.

Send feedback to reporter Alyson McCarthy at amccarthy@klastv.com


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