Christian Encounter Ranch in Grass Valley, CA

Overall Rating

(4.7 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
PO Box 1022
Grass Valley CA 95945

Christian Encounter Ranch Philosophy

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Founded in 1970, Christian Encounter Ministries (CEM) is one of California’s 335 long-term treatment facilities. It offers long-term residential treatment for young people who have experienced abuse, neglect, family dysfunctions, and/or other kinds of turmoil, including problematic substance use. The center is located on an 86-acre ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, northeast of Sacramento..

The center is currently accepting young women aged 16 to 25 and young men aged 16 to 21. All new residents must be free from pending legal action, must not have a history of violent behavior, and must come to the ranch voluntarily, willing to participate in programming. Detox is not available onsite.


The admissions process at CEM begins with an online application process. Clients fill out the application online and submit it to the facility. Once that is complete, clients can contact the facility by phone or email to inquire about joining the program.

CEM is a long-term treatment facility where the average length of stay is 14 to 18 months, though the duration of treatment varies according to the individual client's needs. According to a 2016 SAMHSA report, the program is one 472 programs for young adults and 317 programs for adolescents in California.

The treatment method is faith-based. The program focuses on helping residents to establish a relationship with God through discipleship, worship, and studying the basics of Christian faith. The program is rounded out by counseling services, schooling, and social interactions. Counseling is primarily offered in once-weekly sessions with an assigned counselor, in Christian-oriented therapy.

In addition, all residents participate in a wilderness experience, of which there are several per year. Under the supervision of experienced leaders, expeditions take residents away from distractions, to enable them to deepen their relationships with Jesus. Such trips include a two-week backpacking trip in the Tahoe National Forest at the end of summer, and a four-day igloo backpacking trip in the winter.


CEM's team includes trained staff members as well as interns. Counseling is provided by marriage and family therapists, and Christian staff members provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. The single individual polled by to date gave the facility five out of five stars for its staff's level of training and experience.


The ranch house is an attractive property overlooking a lake, and the center makes use of its rural setting to offer extracurricular activities such as ski days and a ropes course. There's also an accredited high school on-site that's authorized by the State of California to grant diplomas. Class sizes are no larger than 12 clients. Residents must also complete chores and maintenance work around the property, promoting a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. Chores include caring for farm animals.

The single individual polled by to date gave the facility five out of five stars for its cleanliness and meals and four out of five stars for its accommodations and exercise/leisure offerings.

WHAT ALUMNI SAY has not yet received any reviews directly from alumni of this facility, though secondary review sites yielded mostly positive coverage at the time of this writing: the facility had three five out of five star ratings on Yelp and a 4.6 out of five star average rating based on 34 reviews on Facebook, where the center can manage its own page.[1] [2] In addition, the facility has an average of four out of five star review from four reviews on Google. [3]

The positive reviewers repeatedly credited the facility with their successful lives and long-term sobriety. Reviewers provided positive feedback about the staff and its religious focus. "This is a place where I was met by people who showed me God's grace and acceptance and also provided me with direction. Their genuine care for me extended beyond my time as a student," R.M. wrote in a representative review on Facebook. There were, however, two strong notes of complaint among these reviews, including a Facebook review from S.G. describing treatment as "nothing Christ like, dividing and devastating."


The single loved one polled by to date would recommend the Christian Encounter Ranch. "They focus on preparing them for life," the anonymous reviewer wrote, offering four stars for the facility's counseling options and its discharge planning. The loved one also awarded five-star ratings for the center's overall treatment effectiveness, family participation, and ability to treat co-occurring disorders.


Secondary review sites yielded just two staff reviews of the ranch, both five out of five stars. [4] Both described fulfilling work with the ranch's residents and an overall positive experience. "It is a interesting place, it is very driven to help teach teenagers how to act in the work environment and in a shared living space environment as well," one reviewer wrote. With a positive perspective, the other wrote how staff was “stretched and challenged everyday.”


CEM receives donations from individuals and groups that allow it to offer services to low-income families. Financial assistance may cover up to 90 percent of fees, and there are also opportunities to defer payments. The single individual polled by to date gave the facility five out of five stars for its affordability.


CEM uses excursions as a primary component of treatment. Clients are involved in multi-week excursions as a spiritual and fitness building experience. More information on these excursions may be found through its Facebook page.

[3] Google Reviews

Published on November 2018

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It is for youth...they focus on preparing them for life.

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