Father and Son Together Again Monday, Feb 24, 2014 Page Image Page Content Turning around a troubled home and the life of a hurting child never happens overnight. But through perseverance, commitment and the help of Boys Town’s In-Home Family Services®, Zachary and his dad can now say they are a family again. The nearly two-year journey of healing for Zachary’s family was complicated by many obstacles — distance, unemployment, resentment, marital conflict, severe behavior problems and mental health issues. At every turn, these factors threatened hopes for recovery and reunification. Zachary lived with his mother after he was born. When he was 4, his mother, unable to care for him any longer, surrendered the little boy to his father, who had remarried. Unfortunately, Zachary landed in the middle of his dad’s strained marriage and a less-than-loving relationship with his wife. With the family in turmoil, Zachary began acting out. His behaviors quickly worsened, and he was expelled from school for fighting. The boy also was diagnosed with severe mental health disorders. After a few months, Zachary was placed in a foster home many miles away from his own home and began attending a special school for his behavior problems. That’s when Boys Town got involved. An In-Home Services Family Consultant began working with Zachary’s foster parents to make sure Zachary visited his dad. The Boys Town Consultant also helped dad begin to understand his son’s mental health issues and the resulting negative behaviors. Dad learned new ways to respond when Zachary acted out. He also ended his marriage and found a new apartment. But those changes weren’t enough. Zachary continued to get in fights at school, and again faced being expelled. Through no fault of his own, this little boy was living a nightmare that seemed to have no end. Reunification with his father still seemed like a long shot. With the Family Consultant’s help, school staff and the mental health professionals who were working with Zachary met and decided to move Zachary closer to his dad’s home. They also completed a new assessment to make sure his classroom instruction fit his developmental level. It was a major turning point. In a new environment with an improved service plan, Zachary’s behaviors improved greatly by the end of the school year. His aggressive behaviors stopped, and he was able to enroll in the local public school. To complete the transition, the Family Consultant set up trial visits for Zachary at his dad’s home. The Consultant supervised the visits and provided coaching for dad. After several months, Zachary and his dad were permanently reunited. With ongoing support from Zachary’s school and Boys Town, Zachary and his dad finally found the place they both always belonged — together. The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names and details may be changed, and stock photos may be used, to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.