US authorities may shut down Ranch for Kids - Astakhov
MOSCOW, April 24 (RAPSI) - US regulators may close the Ranch for Kids program that accommodates several Russian orphans rejected by their adoptive families, Children's Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov's press office told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
A district court ordered the ranch owner Joyce Sterkel to obtain a license as a private alternative adolescent residential program and to submit details about everyone employed on the ranch last month.
"She was also ordered to pay $25,000 in litigation costs. The ranch will be shut down unless she fulfills all of the requirements by May 20," the press office said, citing the most recent investigation results.
The Russian General Consulate in Seattle continues to search for information about the Russian children who study there. It has also asked the local social services to clarify what will happen to these children if the program closes.
The Ranch for Kids was established as a respite home for adopted foreign children when their new US parents fail to cope with their problems. The ranch has been operating without a license since 2010. An inspection that was part of the license application process found a host of deficiencies. The ranch management was given time to prove that they had corrected these deficiencies.
According to Astakhov's press office, Sterkel refused to provide the licensing board with any information about the children at the ranch, such as how many children have been enrolled over its existence, including their age and gender.