“Boys Town Iowa” is moving to a larger facility in Council Bluffs. The organization serves 10 counties in southwest Iowa and helped 524 families last year. Brian Fox, director of in-home family services for Boys Town Iowa, says the agency has outgrown its space, as they expect to serve even more families this year.
“What we’ll do is we’ll also link them to our Boys Town National Hotline,” Fox says. “Together as a group we’ll explore their needs as a family and determine the level of need and the level of services that we may be able to provide them.” Boys Town Iowa has gotten a federal grant to launch a new program called “Parent-Child Connection Services.”
“We have a lot of dads that don’t have custody,” Fox says. “And because he and the mother of the child don’t get along, he ends up missing spending time with them.” According to U.S. Census data, one out of every three children in America was living apart from their biological father in 2009.
“What we want to do is make sure that the person who does not have custody of their children still has ample opportunity to interact with their children,” Fox says. About 30 percent of American children who don’t live with their biological fathers have no contact with their dads. Boys Town was founded in 1917 by a Catholic priest who rented a boardinghouse in Omaha that was originally called the “Home for Boys.”
Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for playing the role of Father Flanagan in the 1938 movie, “Boys Town” — the first time someone won an Oscar for portraying a person who was still alive. The Boys Town organization now has operations in eight other states and the District of Columbia.