Correction: Boys Town Shift story
Aug. 30, 2017
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — In a story Aug. 28 about Boys Town lessening its focus on residential care, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the nonprofit was closing a residential care site in Florida. Its Florida site is not being closed.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Nebraska-based nonprofit shifts away from residential care
As Boys Town celebrates its centennial birthday in Omaha, the organization is lessening its focus on the kind of residential care model that made it well-known
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — As a Nebraska-based organization that helps at-risk youth celebrates its 100th birthday in Omaha, the nonprofit is focusing less on the residential care model that made it well-known.
Boys Town officials announced in June that the organization was closing residential care sites in New York, Texas and California.
The organization began a century ago when a young Irish priest welcomed homeless boys into a run-down mansion in downtown Omaha. The residential care model involves placing groups of six to eight children with emotional and behavioral issues in single-family homes with married couples. The average stay is 12 to 18 months with the goal of returning kids to families, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Boys Town leaders are investing in alternatives to residential care, including in-home family consulting. Officials say the organization helped nearly 9,000 children nationwide last year through family consultants, compared with 1,100 children in the residential care model.
"Evidence is pointing to the fact that young people do best when they have permanency and are cared for in a family setting," said Polina Makievsky, a member of nonprofit Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, which is based in Washington, D.C.
The Rev. Steven Boes, president and national executive director of Boys Town, said the original mission of caring for American families and children remains, despite what he called tough decisions to close sites.
The site closings leave nine Boys Town sites in six states and the District of Columbia. The organization had 16 sites in 2000, though some were shelters without residential care.