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Boys Town Helps Family Leave Fear Behind, Discover Hope and Healing Ahead

Imagine living in fear of your child.

Even for the strongest parent, the worry and constant conflict would exact a tremendous toll — depression, anger, frustration and exhaustion.

This was a way of life for Kate Abel and her family. 

Kate’s son Blake had a long history of dangerous and threatening behaviors. By age 15, Blake faced criminal charges related to his verbal and physical aggression, drug use, mental health issues and academic problems. 

The teenage boy had created a reign of terror at home for his mother and two siblings, and the family lived in a constant state of anxiety and fear of what might happen next.  

Kate loved her son and was desperate to find the help Blake needed. She also was worried about keeping her other two children safe. But as Blake’s behavior continued to worsen, the family’s situation became so toxic that even Kate felt threatened.  

Finally, Kate reached her breaking point. She wanted Blake out of the house.

As a last resort, Kate believed her only option was to have her son placed in a locked detention or psychiatric facility.  

But shortly after Kate started that process, Boys Town Central Florida entered the picture.  

The family became involved with Boys Town through a Child Protective Services referral. Kate had made CPS aware of Blake’s unmanageable behaviors, saying she was desperate for help. She didn’t want to give up on Blake, but she didn’t know what to do on her own anymore. 

Blake soon began receiving services at the Boys Town Central Florida Intervention and Assessment Center. At the same time, one of the site’s Family Consultants began working with Kate and her family in their home, providing intensive in-home services based on the Boys Town Common Sense Parenting® curriculum.  

After two months of Boys Town services, the family had made significant progress in rebuilding relationships and solving problems. Kate learned positive parenting techniques, and the Consultant helped Kate connect with the mental health resources Blake desperately needed for his anger issues. 

Meanwhile, Blake was learning new skills at the Intervention and Assessment Center that were helping him change his negative behaviors and get his life back on track.  

The powerful combination of Kate’s commitment to saving her son and her family and Boys Town’s life-changing assistance eventually led to Blake being reunited with his mom and siblings. And the positive changes in the family have continued. 

Since returning home, Blake has stayed on his path of healing. He is getting along great with his mother and siblings, and no longer engages in substance use or aggressive behaviors. His schoolwork has improved and he has a job. The teen also has stayed out of trouble and is following instructions, staying calm, accepting decisions and even willingly doing chores at home. Most importantly, the fear that once gripped the family is gone. 

Thanks to Boys Town’s support and a mother’s love for her children, the Abel family is happier and stronger than ever.    

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.