Our Story

Ranch entrance


O’Connell Youth Ranch was established in 1975 through a generous land gift from Mrs. Elsie O’Connell and her late husband, Dan. The Ranch continues to help youth throughout Kansas and the Kansas City area. The first Ranch house was opened in 1978 and two others followed. O’Connell is a unique child caring home for boys ages eight to eighteen. The Ranch is a non-profit organization, fully licensed and approved by the Kansas Department for Children and Families. The case coordinators and house parents are dedicated professionals trained to help the youth whose lives are in serious turmoil because of family or personal life crisis.

The Ranch was incorporated in the state of Kansas on February 12, 1976. It is located just east of Lawrence, Kansas on 120 acres of beautiful farmland. Over one hundred youth from sixteen counties were placed at the Ranch in just the last four years. The impact of the services provided by this facility touches rural Kansas as well as communities in cities and the suburbs.

The Ranch is designed to give young boys a second chance for a fresh start in life by providing a structured and yet loving home life in a clean, healthy rural setting. O’Connell Youth Ranch seeks to help young boys overcome the problems that have kept them from directing their lives toward a fulfilling and purposeful future. Through their participation in the educational, social and sports programs of local schools, churches and other community facilities, the Ranch seeks to provide the “normality” of community living which their early life has lacked, while at the same time, providing them special guidance through the unique problems that have deterred them.