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Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Foster Parent Appreciation Month: The McPhersons Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Foster Parent Appreciation Month: The McPhersons ​<p> <em>​This article is written by Sydney Edwards. It was posted on <a href="http://nebraska.tv/news/local/foster-parent-appreciation-month-the-mcphersons" target="_blank">Nebraska.tv</a>; Friday, May 18, 2018.</em></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month and in Nebraska, thousands of kids are still looking for that parent figure.</p><p>One family has worked to make those numbers a little smaller by making their family a little bigger.</p><p>The McPhersons always wanted kids. When it didn't work for them on their own, they took in two children through foster care."</p><p>Little Miss Mia was even younger when Gena and Cedric McPherson adopted her.</p><p>Her little brother Brody was already apart of the McPherson family.</p><p>"We took on little Mr. Brody straight from the hospital and then miss Mia was already in foster care and we were able to have her move in with us as well and then eventually adopt them, so," said Gena.</p><p>Gena was not new to how the foster care system worked. She said her parents had fostered when she was younger.</p><p>Cedric however, said he was a little wary at first.</p><p>"I had some reservations of you know, not being able to take care of the kids or the kids were going to be so far troubled that you know, it was something that I couldn't handle," said Cedric.</p><p>After what took the family around six months of training and licensing, Cedric said fostering seemed less intimidating.</p><p>"It was nice to know when I got into the training and got involved with everything, just kind of took those first steps just to kind of check it out, was to know that I had a support system," said Cedric.</p><p>Little Miss Mia does not remember much about being in foster care, but she knows she was fostered once before the McPherson's and that she is now with her forever family.</p><p>"What would you say to a child that hasn't found theirs yet but is looking for their forever family," asked NTV News Reporter Sydney Edwards.</p><p>"Keep looking for your new parents," said Mia.</p><p>If you want to grow your family and fostering is something you have considered, the McPhersons said calling your local DHHS or Boys Town office and checking out your options can be a big help. </p><p>For a look into foster care from a child's perspective, you can check out <a href="http://nebraska.tv/news/local/one-girls-journey-through-foster-care">Kloreace Linke's story.</a>​</p>2018-05-23T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="McPhersons" src="/news/PublishingImages/McPhersons.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Central Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | One girl's journey through foster care focuses on perseverance Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | One girl's journey through foster care focuses on perseverance <p><em></em><a href="http://nebraska.tv/news/local/one-girls-journey-through-foster-care" target="_blank"><em>This article is written by Sydney Edwards. It was posted on Nebraska.tv  Friday, May 18, 2018.</em></a></p><p>With more than five thousand children in the foster care system statewide, one of your friends, classmates or neighbors could be someone who has gone through it.</p><p>But what is it like for children to be in the foster care system?</p><p>In Kloreace Linke's case, her time in foster care was about perseverance and triumph.</p><p>She was 16 years old and the oldest of her four siblings.</p><p>Linke said her and her family were living what was a normal life until it suddenly changed.</p><p>"Five including me were able to be placed in the same home. It was a special placement, a case-specific placement and so we ended up living with one of my high school teachers and her husband and daughter," said Linke.</p><p>At the time of their adoption, Linke's youngest sibling was around 5 years old.</p><p>However, not long after the adoption, Linke's parents won custody back of her siblings.</p><p>But she stayed in her new home and worked on taking care of herself, which is something she said many foster kids need to keep in mind.</p><p>KEARNEY, Neb. — With more than five thousand children in the foster care system statewide, one of your friends, classmates or neighbors could be someone who has gone through it.</p><p>But what is it like for children to be in the foster care system?</p><p>In Kloreace Linke's case, her time in foster care was about perseverance and triumph.</p><p>She was 16 years old and the oldest of her four siblings.</p><p>Linke said her and her family were living what was a normal life until it suddenly changed.</p><p>"Five including me were able to be placed in the same home. It was a special placement, a case-specific placement and so we ended up living with one of my high school teachers and her husband and daughter," said Linke.</p><p>At the time of their adoption, Linke's youngest sibling was around 5 years old.</p><p>However, not long after the adoption, Linke's parents won custody back of her siblings.</p><p>But she stayed in her new home and worked on taking care of herself, which is something she said many foster kids need to keep in mind.</p><p>"Their world is just flipped upside down and to be able to take care of themselves and understand that asking for help for themselves is okay, that they don't always have to be cleaning up everyone else's mess," said Linke.</p><p>Kloreace Linke is now 23 years old with a psychology degree. She said her foster family and the resources she had from the Central Plains Center and PALS helped her get there.</p><p>Now she is on her way to getting an Education Specialist degree in school psychology.</p><p>"I think I found my calling because I'll be able to advocate for maybe kids who are in foster care and do some of that early intervention."</p><p>Kloreace Linke gives another piece of advice to any child in foster care: Find someone you can trust and trust them.</p><p>She said sometimes it is hard to believe someone when they say they will be there, but you can find someone that will help you through it.</p><p>For a look into foster care from the administrative side, you can hear from Department of Health and Human Services and Boys Town representatives <a href="http://nebraska.tv/news/local/a-look-into-the-foster-care-system" target="_blank">here.</a></p>2018-05-22T05:00:00ZNewsCentral Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | A look into the foster care system Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | A look into the foster care system <p><em></em><a href="http://nebraska.tv/news/local/a-look-into-the-foster-care-system" target="_blank">This article is writte by Sydney Edwards. It was posted on Nebraska.tv  Friday, May 18, 2018.</a></p><p>A system in the United States that brings children to their forever home: Foster care.</p><p>According to the Department of Health and Human Services, foster care affects over 500 children in central Nebraska alone.</p><p>Deana Peterson with the Department of Health and Human Services said the goal of placing a child in foster care is to make it as easy as possible for the child.</p><p>That means finding a new family for the child is not their first choice.</p><p>Peterson told NTV News that they first look for family members, teachers or friends in the community to take children in.</p><p>"We try to keep the kids in their same school district if at all possible, same doctors, day cares, those sort of thing's so that they're not having everything in their life change," said Peterson.</p><p>Peterson said she notices the need for foster parents even more when she sees how many older children are still without a home to call their own.</p><p>Fannye Placke with the Grand Island Boys Town told NTV News that becoming a foster parent might be easier than you think.</p><p>"So as far as becoming a foster parent, I mean really anyone who has space... Anyone who has time and I mean really, the heart for children. Really anyone can be a foster parent," said Placke.</p><p>Placke said it is a case-by-case basis, but if the backgrounds check, checks out, there are just a few other important steps one needs to take.</p><p>If you are interested in hearing more about foster care and adoption, you can check out the McPherson family's story.</p>2018-05-22T05:00:00ZNewsCentral Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Hilltop Mall, Boys Town creating exhibit for child abuse prevention Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Hilltop Mall, Boys Town creating exhibit for child abuse prevention <p> <em>​​​This article was published March 31, 2018 at <a href="http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/business/hilltop-mall-boys-town-creating-exhibit-for-child-abuse-prevention/article_08be67fa-349f-11e8-b44d-97f00704d56d.html">kearneyhub.com</a></em></p>​ <p>April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Hilltop Mall and Boys Town are creating an exhibit to highlight the 100th-year anniversary of Boys Town and to draw attention to the services available in central Nebraska.</p><p>The exhibit will remain in the space next to J.C. Penny for the duration of April.</p><p>Over 700 children from Central Nebraska were served by Boys Town last year. Boys Town wants parents to know that help is available.</p>2018-04-03T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Mall Exhibit" src="/news/PublishingImages/Central-Nebraska-April-Mall-Exhibit-.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Central Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | G.I. Boys Town officials talk about past, present, future of facility Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | G.I. Boys Town officials talk about past, present, future of facility <p> <em></em><a href="http://www.theindependent.com/news/local/g-i-boys-town-officials-talk-about-past-present-future/article_1bdc3622-fb20-11e7-9419-efb7ca191b59.html"><em>This article is written by Austin Koeller. It was posted on the independent.com January 16, 2018. </em></a></p><p>In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan borrowed $90 to rent a boarding house on the corner of 25th and Dodge in Omaha. Now, more than 100 years later, Megan Andrews, senior director of program operations at Grand Island Boys Town, said Boys Town is "not just an orphanage."</p><p>Andrews spoke about the shelter's operations, its history and its future goals during a presentation to the Grand Island Noon Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon.</p><p>Sometimes, Andrews said, people tend to think the Grand Island Boys Town shelter is a detention center, which she said is not true.</p><p>"It is truly a homestyle environment," she said. "We also eat meals as a family. The family-style environment is really important. We eat together and we pray together. The kids have self-government meetings where they have make decisions as a group for themselves.</p><p>"It is a good environment for these kids to get some of the help they need."</p><p>Andrews said Grand Island Boys Town does not just take in juvenile justice kids, but also serves Grand Island families "privately." She said if a parent is struggling with their children, but do not feel law enforcement or Health and Human Services is warranted, they can call Boys Town and place children at their facility for a period of time.</p><p>"We want to serve kids where their needs are," Andrews said. "We do not believe the answer is just taking them out of their homes and putting them in our family homes or shelters. Sometimes, we can prevent that from happening if we reach them earlier."</p><p>Andrews added the Grand Island Boys Town shelter is the only Boys Town shelter in the state between Scottsbluff and Lincoln.</p><p>Andrews and Stan Kontogiannis, regional major gifts officer, also told Rotarians in attendance about its planned kitchen renovation. According to a document provided at the Rotary meeting, the kitchen renovation project consists of repairing the floor and sub-floor, cabinets, counters and labor costs.</p><p>In addition to the work required for kitchen renovation, Grand Island Boys Town also plans to replace a stove, a sterilizer, lighting, blinds and a roll-up counter door. The total fundraising goal for the project is $100,000. Kontogiannis said Boys Town has raised about $30,000 since the fundraising campaign kicked off in the second half of 2017.</p><p>"It is the original kitchen from 1991 when our facility was built. So it has been used constantly for about 27 years," Andrews said. "I did some math to figure out how many kids have been in and out and we used to serve about 300 kids per year. With all these kids, we've served over 500,000 meals.</p><p>"When you think about the wear and tear your own kitchen has with kids — for us, 12 to 18 teenagers at a time — it is past due for a remodel."</p><p>Kontogiannis asked Rotarians in attendance to donate funds to the kitchen renovation fundraising campaign. He told them the project is about more than just a floor and a kitchen.</p><p>"This is about kids. When you invest in kids today, you are saving your money and lives tomorrow," Kontogiannis said. "The physical structure is something we need to address. For 27 years, we served so many meals and so many individuals coming through the shelter."</p><p>Kontogiannis added that anyone interested in donating to Grand Island Boys Town's kitchen renovation project is encouraged to call his office at (402) 498-7979. He said the project has received donations from the Grand Island Community Foundation and TOBA Inc.</p><p>Andrews said the kitchen renovation project is expected to be completed this fall.</p><div class="hidden-gal"> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/news/PublishingImages/Stan.jpg" title="Photo copyright: Independent/Barret Stinson"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/news/PublishingImages/Megan2.jpg" title="Photo copyright: Independent/Barret Stinson"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/news/PublishingImages/Stan2.jpg" title="Photo copyright: Independent/Barret Stinson"> </a> </div>2018-01-17T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Photo copyright: Independent/Barret Stinson" src="/news/PublishingImages/Megan.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Central Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town offers several programs to help kids, families in the community Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town offers several programs to help kids, families in the community <p><em>This article is written by Harold Reutter of the Grand Island Independent. It was posted on <a href="http://www.theindependent.com/news/local/boys-town-offers-several-programs-to-help-kids-families-in/article_7f40f556-a191-11e7-be69-8bd947314b58.html">theindependent.com</a> </em><em>on September 24, 2017.</em> </p><p>Boys Town Grand Island has been in the community since 1989, serving simultaneously as a very high-visibility facility because of its location at 3230 Wildwood Road along Highway 281 south of Grand Island and as a low-key member of the community because relatively few people actually go into that residential treatment center.</p><p>"We've added several programs over the years to meet kids and families wherever they're at," said Megan Andrews, site operations director.</p><p>Boys Town programs in Omaha and locally include:</p><p><strong>Psychiatric residential treatment center:</strong> This is Boys Town's highest level of care and also the most restrictive level of care. The facility is located in Omaha, which is the only place where those services are offered. It is intended to serve youth ages 5 to 18 who have more several behavioral and mental health problems.</p><p><strong>Intervention and assessment program:</strong> This program is offered in the shelter on the east side of Highway 281 south of Grand Island. The average length of stay for a young person was 21 days for the year 2016, although there is a wide variety depending on the young person. Most youth are placed at the shelter by juvenile probation, although private placement is also accepted.</p><p>If parents are having difficulties and are not sure what to do, they can place their child at the shelter for a week until treatment options can be devised. The shelter includes a PASS program for Positive Alternatives to School Suspensions. The shelter has an agreement with some area school districts: if a student is suspended, he or she will serve that suspension the intervention and assessment program at the shelter</p><p><strong>Family home programs</strong> are the third-highest level and third-most restrictive program. Married couples and single adults or parents take in children to live with them as part of the Boys Town Village in Omaha The adults are called family teachers. They usually have six to eight kids living in their homes, with homes designated either for boys or for girls. "The goal is to keep them there at least a year in order to be effective." The system includes support staff who serves as assistant family teachers.</p><p><strong>Foster family services:</strong> This is the next level of care. Boys Town helps train and support the foster home. A consultant is available for these homes 24/7 in case of a crisis. Foster homes are always needed for older children, with some studies show that kids can be difficult to place in foster homes as early as 4, and the older the kids get, the more difficult they are to place. "We're always looking for good quality homes that are going to take older kids."</p><p><strong>Ecological in-home family treatment model:</strong> Children stay in their homes as Boys Town helps family members work through conflicts. Boys Town performs assessments to determine what skills, resources and support the family needs to help them be successful and to keep children at home. The consultant coaches and guides parents "right then and there" as they interact with their children. Parents also work on skills such as interviewing for and getting a job, and managing personal finances. In-home family services have been offered in Grand Island for four years, with Boys Town and University of Nebraska Lincoln doing research to provide evidence of the program's effectiveness. The formal name of the program is the ecological in-home family treatment model.</p><p><strong>Community support services</strong> is the sixth and least-restrictive level of service. Services include a behavioral health clinic in Grand Island, in which families can go in and get assessments or see a therapist in a typical therapy office setting.</p><p>Boys Town also offers an alternative K-12 day school in Duncan that educates about 40 students.</p><p>To celebrate the Boys Town's Centennial, Boys Town Central Nebraska is inviting the public for a special screening of the Oscar-winning movie "Boys Town" on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Grand Theatre, 316 W. 3rd St. The evening begins with a cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres from 6 to 7 p.m., with live instrumental music. A showing of the 1938 classic, starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, will follow.</p><p>People will meet Boys Town Central Nebraska staff and local community leaders who are dedicated saving children and healing families. People can have their picture taken with the Best Actor Oscar that Spencer Tracy earned for his performance. Tickets, which are $25, can be purchased at <a href="http://boystown.org/central-nebraska"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">boystown.org/central-nebraska</span></a> or at the Grand Island HyVee.</p><p>People with questions may contact Megan Andrews at (308) 224-3338 or <a href="mailto:megan.andrews@boystown.org"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">megan.andrews@boystown.org</span></a>.</p>2017-09-27T05:00:00Z<img alt="Megan Welch" src="/news/PublishingImages/MeganWelch.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Central Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Emily's Story Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Emily's Story <p><em>Today, Emily is 20 years old and employed full-time as a waitress in Grand Island, Nebraska. She has plans to start school soon to become a nurse, and her future looks bright.</em><em>  </em></p><p><em>But Emily's journey from adolescence to adulthood was filled with darkness, pain and uncertainty. Here, in her own words, she describes her experiences of loss and loneliness and, finally, with Boys Town Central Nebraska's help, her redemption. </em><em> </em></p><p>This story will make you sad, angry and, in the end, happy. </p><p>I am one of many youth who have had a troubled childhood. That doesn't make me different or special, but it for sure made me stronger. </p><p>At first, my story will seem like it's all over the place. It perfectly reflects how bad my situation was growing up.</p><p>We often take things for granted, especially the ones we love. This is exactly how I was feeling as I stood outside my mom's hospital room with my stepdad as the nurses were calling a code. I was 15 when I unexpectedly lost my mom that day, and I didn't think life could possibly get any worse. </p><p>Before I go on, let me rewind to give you a little background so you'll fully understand my story. </p><p>My biological father and my mother divorced when I was 10. To be honest, it didn't bother me because they fought constantly. </p><p>My mom later met a wonderful man who became a big part our lives. I still had visitations with my biological father until I was 12. But in that two-year span, he also met someone else and my visitations with him became unhealthy and emotionally abusive. So I stopped going to see him.</p><p>Fast forward to that day outside my mom's hospital room. Two things were running through my mind: the unbelievable grief I felt and the dread running through me knowing I was going to have to get in touch with my biological father. </p><p>I called him later that night and told him I wanted to continue living with my stepdad. But I offered to start visitations again. All I got in response were rude and unnecessary comments. The next few weeks were filled with the fear that I would be taken away at my mom's funeral, that there would be more unhealthy visitations and, finally, that a court order would be issued saying I had to live with my biological father. </p><p>All I wanted to do at that time was grieve for my mom. But instead, I was being eaten up by everything else going on around me. I eventually moved in with my biological father, but I only stayed there three days. Then I ran away.</p><p>I was on my own for a month before turning myself in. I became a ward of the state and was placed in the Boys Town shelter in Grand Island as the custody battle between my biological father and my stepdad started. </p><p>When I first got to Boys Town, I was an emotional mess. All I wanted to do was cry all the time. And I wanted to go home, to my real home with my stepdad. The first few days were very hard since I couldn't have any contact with any friends or family. I felt isolated, and I didn't open up to any of the staff. It wasn't that I didn't want to; it was more that I didn't want to break down crying in front of everyone. </p><p>After a couple of weeks, things started to change. I started to grow close to many members of the Boys Town staff. They were very helpful once I was able to talk to them about what I was going through, and they all made special efforts to make a positive difference in any way they could. </p><p>Megan, a supervisor at the shelter, was so kind. She made arrangements so she could personally drive me to the cemetery to visit my mom's grave. And when I had a call with my biological father, Angela, another supervisor, sat with me since I wasn't comfortable talking to him alone. The call was not a positive experience, and Angela later wrote a letter to the court on my behalf. </p><p>To this day, I believe she is the reason I was placed with and eventually adopted by my stepdad, who is now my real dad. Because of her, the courts were able to truly see what a negative environment my biological father would provide if I had to live with him.</p><p>I write this story now so others can understand how wonderful Boys Town is. To be honest, before my two-month stay there, I thought it was a place where terrible juveniles go. I was right about the juvenile part, being that I was one myself. But the only terrible parts are the painful situations that most kids who live at the shelter are going through. </p><p>To the Boys Town Central Nebraska staff, I want to say <em>THANK YOU</em>. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. You really do make a difference.</p>2017-09-18T05:00:00Z<img alt="Emily's Story" height="528" src="/news/PublishingImages/090817_aEmilyphotoCentralNebraskashelterstory.jpg?RenditionID=2" width="288" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Central Nebraska;#