- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - An organization known for its work with troubled children is aiming to expand community-based services across Nebraska.

Dave Reed, central Nebraska director for Boys Town, says there’s still a need for quality residential care for participating children with behavioral, emotional and academic issues. The organization, known for its village outside Omaha, opened a Columbus office last November to increase the number of kids served in their own homes and communities.

About 90 percent of the Omaha-area children served by Boys Town stay in their communities, Reed told the Columbus Telegram (https://bit.ly/1BtjSzQ ). The goal is to continue that trend across the state so participating kids aren’t forced to stay in group homes during care, he said.

Boys Town hopes to help families become more self-sufficient by providing services, such as foster care and counseling, that allow parents to keep their children at home rather than seek long-term residential programs. Often, probation offices or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services refer cases to Boys Town.

Boys Town consultants meet with families to identify “stress factors,” such as substance abuse, marital issues or health challenges. Sometimes a consultant will connect a family with a local church or mentor.

The organization is expected to help more than 1,000 kids outside Omaha next year, up from about 600 this year, Reed said.

Boys Town also has Nebraska offices in Kearney, North Platte and Grand Island.

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Information from: Columbus Telegram, https://www.columbustelegram.com


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