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Persistence, Patience Pays Off for Troubled Family

Sometimes, good intentions are not enough to keep a family together. There has to be action behind a parent’s resolve to keep his or her children safe and make sure their needs are being met.

That was the dilemma facing Roy and Virginia Ripley when they first began working with Boys Town In-Home Family Services®. The family — Roy, Virginia and their three children — faced some serious problems. There wasn’t always enough food to eat, the house was dirty and unsanitary, and bills were going unpaid. The stress caused by these and other issues often led the parents to fight in front of the kids.

More than once, police had been called to quell disturbances in the house, and child protective services considered removing the children.

That’s when the family was referred to Boys Town. When a Family Consultant first began services, Roy and Virginia insisted that they were ready to change. They wanted to get their lives back on track and be better parents for their kids. At first, they made some progress and seemed to be headed in the right direction.

But there was something holding them back. Roy had lived with mental health issues for most of his life. He could never admit he was sick, so he never even gave a thought to seeing a doctor or seeking treatment. Now that stubbornness and pride was getting in the way of the family’s efforts to move forward with Boys Town’s help. In fact, Roy moved out of the house for a while because Virginia and he were arguing over the matter.

The Boys Town Family Consultant was patient and persistent. She saw that the family was on the verge of making a turnaround, so she kept up a steady dialogue with Roy. While continuing to help Virginia solve the day-to-day housing, food and bill payment issues, she gradually helped Roy understand that avoiding treatment was only hurting him and his family.

The persistence paid off. Roy eventually agreed to seek treatment, and was diagnosed as being bipolar. He soon was attending counseling and taking medication.

It was the breakthrough the family needed. With the family reunited and Roy’s mental health issues being addressed, Virginia and Roy were able to focus on the skills the Family Consultant was teaching them. The couple learned new parenting skills and ways to resolve problems without fighting and violence. The Consultant also helped connect the family to a local church where they could get help with food and clothing needs.

Virginia started keeping a cleaner house, and the children and their parents started coming together as a stronger family.

By the time services ended, Roy and Virginia were attending weekly couples’ counseling, working full-time jobs and successfully managing their children’s behaviors and busy schedules. Today, all three children are excelling in school and have a safe, clean home to live in. The family remains committed to its community supports to help get them through tough times.

Like many families, the Ripleys learned the journey to healing is not always easy. But in the end, it’s worth the trip.

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.