Bomb scare at Milhous boys treatment ranch |

Bomb scare at Milhous boys treatment ranch

Boys at special-needs treatment ranch between Nevada City and North San Juan continued their programs Sunday, largely unaffected by a bomb threat that forced evacuations at the compound a day earlier.

Just before 10:40 a.m. Saturday, a man called in a threat that a bomb would go off “any minute” at one of the buildings at the Milhous Treatment Ranch, according to dispatch reports of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

Two of the buildings at the ranch were evacuated, affecting six kids and eight counselors, said Frank Milhous, one of the ranch’s founders, in a phone interview Sunday.

Sheriff’s deputies responded and were unable to locate any trace of a bomb.

“We haven’t gotten to the bottom of who called,” Milhous said.

Attempts to get more information on the incident from the sheriff’s office were unsuccessful as of press time Sunday.

Established in 1969 as Milhouse Boys Ranch, the facility served adjudicated boys between the ages of 7 and 17 diagnosed with developmental disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders.

Treatment involved hard ranch work, the program’s website states, working cattle drives, daily animal care, gardening, wood working and milking and feeding the ranch’s dairy cows.

In 1982, Milhouse Boys Ranch changed its name to FORM Vocational School, and three years later, it opened Sacramento facilities: Pond Lane, Gerber and what is now Bradshaw and Bar Du. While the ranch treats boys only, the Sacramento sites treat both boys and girls, according to the organization’s website.

In 1997, FORM Vocational School Inc. became Milhous Children’s Services Inc.

“The ranching style always served us well in the past — and continued to position us as one of the most unique and successful facilities in California,” reads a portion of the company’s website.

At its peak, the Milhous program service 80 kids. Today, the Milhous Treatment Ranch serves close to 40 kids with about 20 counselors on site during the weekend, said Frank Milhous.

Their diagnoses may include psychotic disorders, depressions, traits of personality disorders and attention disorders.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of Milhous Ranch is our staff — people who genuinely enjoy helping special needs children. … These children are in need of a stable, therapeutic and nurturing environment to allow the successful and untraumatized transition to a permanent growth-oriented placement or even home reunification,” reads the organization’s website. “Such transitions will be greatly advanced by the homelike setting and atmosphere provided at Milhous Children’s Services.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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