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Boys Town Washington D.C. Care Coordination Services Making a Difference at School and in Homes

One of the fastest growing programs for Boys Town Washington D.C. may also be one that holds the greatest value – helping keep kids in school.

Thanks to a relationship and previously awarded grant that allows Boys Town to partner with D.C. schools, the two are working together to help reduce truancy in the District. Schools identify students who have missed more than three classes and notifies Boys Town, which then starts to work with the family. The program to battle truancy typically lasts for 6 to 9 months.

Damian Kinsey is the Care Coordination Director for Boys Town Washington D.C. He says there are several key reasons for his program's success with the truancy issue.

“What makes our program so different is that we are the only one going into the homes of the families we help," Kinsey said. “We know truancy problems do not have one simple cause and when we are able to work with the families closely, we can enact real change."

Kinsey said the quality time spent with the families also pays dividends.

“The 6-to-9-month service we provide is much longer than the typical two-month period other organizations utilize," he said. “By working with the family for so long we can give them a level of support that is not found elsewhere. Normally, our coordinators visit with their families at least once a week to set up goals and ask what barriers the family is currently experiencing. This helps to create buy-in and trust from the families that we help. Both attributes -- our approach of working within the home and our length of service -- help our team have the highest family engagement rate. And this is recognized by educators and other school personal because we have the highest level of referrals out of all the other programs working to reduce truancy."

Kinsey said his team's approach also allows it to use all aspects of the Boys Town Model. The Well-Managed Classroom is used in school, while Common Sense Parenting and In-Home Family Services are used in the home. During its annual summer camp, the team stresses the Boys Town Family Home Model.

“When you combine all these models and use them in the appropriate situation, you are best preparing the family for life after Boys Town," Kinsey said. “Both the kids and the parents are being helped at the same time, providing an even more effective treatment."

While truancy was the initial target, Kinsey said his team wants to help families battle all the issues they may face.

“Ultimately, we want to provide the absolute best care to the families," Kinsey said. “We want to ensure their service needs are being met. This helps empower the family and reduces barriers like joblessness and homelessness. This creates change. The parents know they have an ally who they can rely on. Our team works both at school and at home, working with every aspect of the family. Other organizations can't offer that."

And Kinsey said he has lofty goals for the future.

“We don't want to stop here," he said proudly. “We would like to add more consultants, a behavioral interventionalist and add more school partnerships. We are making a difference."​