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Boys Town Nebraska Family Helpline Takes 20,000th Call

Boys Town Nebraska Family ​Helpline (NFH) has been taking phones calls and creating a safe haven for crisis communication since January 2010. NFH has now taken more than 20,000 calls and assisted more than 13,000 families in 88 counties throughout Nebraska.

The NFH was created in response to Nebraska’s Safe Haven crisis in 2008, when children were being dropped off at Nebraska Hospitals mostly due to behavioral and mental health concerns. Parents reported they needed help and didn’t know where to turn. The state of Nebraska recognized the need for additional services in order to help parents and children that were not already “system involved.” The LB 603 was passed which created the Nebraska Family Helpline, a service that Boys Town operates for the Nebraska Department of Human Health Services.

Parents can call NFH when they are concerned with their child’s behaviors and think they need additional help to address situations. NFH provides support for families to deal with their immediate crisis and help them gain access to services in their area for a long-term solution. The Helpline has provided 20,758 agency referrals to callers and 72% of families reported using at least 1 referral, within 3 months of initial calls.

In 2014, the top three issues that parents called about were children not following the rules of authority figures, children out-of-control, and lying. Parents call for the above reasons, among others, and these calls are classified into standard, information, inbound follow-up, and high risk. The majority of calls are standard with a small number reported high risk. Single-parent households made up 43% of callers.

“As a father going through a lot of problems with my teenage son, the Helpline counselors were as helpful as they could possibly have been. They did steer me in the right direction and gave me some very nice advice on how to handle a very difficult situation with my son. Everything that was given to me really did help and he is getting the help that he needs right now. Everything went very smooth. The advice was very, very good. And I appreciated it and I’m thankful that we have that kind of service here in Nebraska,” said one anonymous caller.

The Nebraska Family Helpline is a free, 24/7 helpline provided by Boys Town and funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.