Feb. 10, 2024 – Children can often be the overlooked victims of the drug epidemic, with some kids losing one or both parents to drug addiction. “At full capacity, we see possibly 50 children living here on this ranch,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of Still Waters Youth Ranch of Appalachia. Smith said his work as a prosecutor led him to take a closer look at the foster care system.

“As a prosecutor, I saw a lot of children who were left in the hands of grandparents, extended family, neighbors and acquaintances. In situations like COVID, we saw failing health,” he said. “What do they do when the health does fail, or another situation develops where they can’t care for them?”

He said the new facility would serve children impacted by the drug epidemic in Kentucky who may be placed in secondary care.

“This is the type of situation we want to come and assist by giving an alternative to foster care,” Smith said.