Boys Town offers Sioux City site
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
Though the main site for Boys Town is in Omaha, Neb., the Boys Town of Iowa office in Sioux City has now been open for two years.
Jason and Amy Hennies, parishioners at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Dakota Dunes, S.D., both work in the Sioux City office, which focuses on in-home family services.
The mission of Boys Town is changing the way America cares for its children, families and communities by providing a continuum of care.
“The continuum of care is probably the neatest part that Boys Town has to provide,” said Amy. “We have the residential programs, the hospital residential treatment facility, foster care and in home family services.”
Jason said that Boys Town promotes and delivers “high quality services and does a good job of training its employees so they are able to fulfill the mission.”
Sioux City office
The Sioux City office covers 14 counties of northwest Iowa. There is also an office in Spencer to help cover the whole area. They are currently working with 240 families and there are 25 family consultants who go into the home.
Jason, who is the intake and compliance specialist, explained that first the Department of Human Services (DHS) receives an abuse or neglect report. After DHS goes in and confirms it is a founded abuse or neglect report with the family, then a referral can be sent for Boys Town to go in and work with the family on whatever they would need – parenting, behaviors of kids, finding employment and a variety of things connecting the family with community resources.
“When the state sends in the referrals, I read through it and make sure our family consultants have the information they need before they go meet with the family,” said Jason. “Meaning they have the reason for the referral and some of the things the state of Iowa wants the family to work on.”
He also makes sure the office is meeting the compliance standards with the state because “it is a performance based contract.”
“In home family services is where things are going,” said Jason. “The states have done research and they find the kids have better results when they are living with their biological family. We are trying to help these families with the struggles they are currently having so their children can stay with them in a safe and healthy environment.”
Amy is a supervisor over five of the family consultants, who are out in the field meeting daily with the families.
“My job is supporting consultants with brainstorming new treatment ideas, more goals and objectives for families and anything that could benefit families,” she said. “I help them understand what the Boys Town Model is and how to implement it the right way.”
The Boys Town Model, explained Amy, works on building skills, linking families to resources in the community (informal or formal) and building healthy supports for the family.
“We work collaboratively with DHS to do everything we can to make families healthier,” she said. “We don’t ever put our values onto someone else, but if they have any spirituality they want to develop or explore, we are there to help them connect with the supports or resources in the community.”
She said recently a pastor was at a court hearing who was willing to find someone in their congregation to help support a family that was struggling.
“We really do reach out to those faith organizations. Some of them are just the church we reach out to and talk to the pastor and some are youth groups,” said Amy.
Amy pointed out she and her husband, Jason, have been married for almost 15 years and for all but one year they have been working together.
“It is all we know,” said Jason.
The couple has worked for Boys Town since 1998. They were family teachers at the home campus in Omaha for eight years. They had up to eight boys in their home at a time.
“It works well for us. We know how to respect each other,” said Amy. “It works pretty good.”
Jason and Amy have two children – Tegan, a seventh grader, and Jaxon, a third grader.
For more information about Boys Town Iowa, contact the Sioux City office at (712) 258-6523 or visit www.boystown.org/locations/iowa.
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