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Boys Town: Helping families solve problems on their own

South Florida Family

This article was posted on palmbeachpost.com on ​​November 29, 2017.

What does Boys Town do?

Founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in December 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan, Boys Town celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year. Originally a home for orphaned and wayward boys, Boys Town began accepting girls into its programs in 1979. Over its century of service to America's children, families and communities, the organization has brought life-changing care to those in greatest need, developed research in youth and health care that has led to improved, more-effective practices, and advocated for reform in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

In the 1980s, Boys Town expanded its locations and programs in order to reach more children and families. This expansion saw Boys Town affiliate sites develop in numerous cities across the country. Boys Town South Florida was established in 1991 to provide effective, compassionate treatment for the behavioral, emotional and physical problems of children and families in communities across South Florida.

How does your agency benefit the community?

Boys Town South Florida services take the unique approach of identifying and addressing family problems early, before they reach a crisis where children have to be removed from the home. This is generally more effective and less costly than placing children in more expensive programs, like foster care and residential treatment. It also ensures that families receive the right care, at the right time, in the right way.

When society fails to support vulnerable youth, particularly at critical times in their lives, it ends up spending enormous sums of money on the consequences of that failure – higher dropout rates, criminal behavior and drug use. In recent years, this cause-effect relationship has put a greater emphasis on reaching the very young child, a concept reinforced by brain research and the logical case for early intervention and prevention.

By identifying at-risk children early and providing them and their families with the assistance they need, Boys Town South Florida helps kids stay out of the social services system and stay in their homes, setting the stage for future success. When children can live in a safe, nurturing home, they are more likely to succeed in school and in life. With improved skills, parents and other caregivers can provide proper guidance for their kids and solve family problems on their own, while society can save millions of dollars on social services.

What is your agency's focus for 2017?

Boys Town South Florida will continue to promote and market the services we provide so more families have access to the help and support they need.

We will continue to grow awareness about our services and reach out to individuals and businesses that can help support our mission. This will enable us to provide effective, high-quality care to more children and families.

We also will promote the 100th anniversary of Boys Town as a national organization, and stress the strong connection we have as an affiliate site in terms of program development, research and evidence-basing, all of which enable us to consistently produce positive outcomes.

How can the community help?

We rely on the ongoing support and generosity of the community to carry out our mission. Opportunities to partner with Boys Town South Florida include:

-Donations: Monetary gifts of any amount help support our programs.

-In-kind gifts: We accept gift cards and certificates as well as household items.

-Event donations: Tickets to community and sports events allow the kids and families we serve to enjoy special times together.

-Event sponsorships: Individuals and businesses can sponsor and attend our events throughout the year.

-Volunteering: The time and talents of volunteers are always welcome.

-Facility use: We have an ongoing need for host sites for our Common Sense Parenting classes.

MISSION STATEMENT

Changing the way America cares for children, families and communities by providing and promoting an Integrated Continuum of Care® that instills Boys Town values to strengthen body, mind and spirit.

KEY PROGRAMS

Common Sense Parenting® (CSP) classes: Provide parenting advice and guidance that can be used by any family. The program's easy-to-learn techniques address issues of communication, discipline, relationships, self-control and school success. The proactive skills and techniques taught in these classes have helped parents from diverse backgrounds create healthy family relationships that foster safety and well-being at home, in school and in the community. Professional parent-trainers teach the courses.

Care Coordination Services program: Provides a lifeline to children suffering from behavioral and mental health issues by ensuring they receive care at the right time. In this intensive, family-centered case management program, Boys Town consultants help parents and caregivers navigate, access and monitor the services their children need. Boys Town is a core partner in the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative in Palm Beach County.

In-Home Family Services program: Helps to keep struggling families together. Trained family consultants work in the homes of families to enhance parenting skills, make sure children are safe and enable families to solve problems on their own.

Parent-Child Home program: In partnership with the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition, we provide the program to families with very young children. This home-visiting program promotes early literacy, nurturing and positive parenting.

Primary Project: Is available in select Palm Beach County elementary schools. Primary Project's goals include improving students' adjustment to school and enhancing their social and emotional well-being.

BOYS TOWN SOUTH FLORIDA, 3111 S. Dixie Highway, No. 200, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. 561-612-6000; www.boystown.org/locations/south-florida/

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