The mission of Watersprings Ranch is to provide healing and restoration through God’s love and grace for children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. Our staff focuses on breaking generational cycles of hopelessness and fear, knowing that as a child accepts God’s unconditional love, their futures will forever be changed and negative patterns interrupted and broken.
HOMES FOR CHILDREN IN NEED
In 1984, David and Carla Whatley dreamed of starting a home to provide hope and security to abused, neglected, unwanted and behaviorally challenged children. After living as foster care parents for two years, the couple decided to expand their reach to help more children, opening their first home for children in need in September of 1989.
The Ranch consists of six group homes licensed to serve a total of 48 children at a time, a learning center and office. Spread across 120 acres in Texarkana, Arkansas, children are given the freedom to be children again. They participate in classes and extracurricular activities, and receive the counseling and special services they need including speech and occupational therapies. The Ranch accepts children from birth to 12 years old for a minimum of two years, with most remaining until the age of 18. The Ranch works with each student as they graduate to apply and enroll for college, the military, vocational school, Charis Bible College or the workforce. Each home at our ranch houses up to eight children and functions as a family unit, staffed with Christian couples functioning as House Ministers who are responsible for taking children to and from school and activities, preparing meals and creating a nurturing, Christian environment for each child to thrive. Through equal parts of love, encouragement, grace, discipline and training, staff members promote the children’s overall development and instill personal responsibility and accountability, build self-esteem and develop positive personality traits.
David and Carla Whatley formed Watersprings Ranch out of a deep conviction and desire to offer hope to abused, neglected, and needy children, reminding children that they are first and foremost loved by God. The first group home for children in need was opened in 1989 and today six homes exist on 120 acres of property.
David and Carla serve as Executive Directors for Watersprings Ranch. In 1996, they jointly received the prestigious Wilbur Award for outstanding work with basic human needs. In 1997, David was appointed by the Governor of Arkansas to serve on the Child Welfare Agency Review Board, which regulates all residential child care facilities, foster homes, therapeutic foster homes, psychiatric treatment facilities, and sex offender programs.
David and Carla are true advocates for families, children, and moral principles. David currently is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Whatley Sign Company, LLC and is involved in numerous community activities. David and Carla reside in Texarkana, Arkansas and have four sons.