Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Celebrates 20 Years
Back to Home Skip Navigation LinksHome News Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Celebrates 20 Years
Back to News

Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Celebrates 20 Years


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On December 26, 1995, Boys Town National Research Hospital introduced the Residential Treatment Center and began giving the best gift Boys Town could think of for youth with severe mental and behavioral health problems – the gift of a second chance.

In the early 1990s, Boys Town's leaders began to notice America's need for a unique behavioral health service to help youth who were not successful in the programs being offered at the time. Calling on the organization's years of experience with youth care and medical care, the team formed a new model that focused on medically-directed behavioral health treatment.

Under the direction of Child Adolescent Psychiatrist, Douglas Spellman, M.D., the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center opened its doors to youth who continued to struggle, despite placement in foster homes and psychiatric hospitals. Since then, the Residential Treatment Center has changed the lives of more than 37,000 youth from 41 states and eight countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ireland, England, Germany and Iraq.

Part of the nationally-recognized Boys Town Integrated Continuum of Care®, the goal of the Residential Treatment Center is to help children gain the self-assurance and academic and social skills they need to succeed in life.

“This is the place where children with backgrounds of abuse, aggression and unstable homes can get the treatment they need and find hope in their lives," Dr. Spellman said. “We give them a safe and secure environment where they can begin to make positive changes to learn better self-control and social skills."

What began as a 20-bed facility at the downtown Boys Town Hospital grew to a 54-bed center operating at both medical campuses and will shortly be a single 78-bed facility located on Boys Town Campus in West Omaha. The new center not only keeps all youth and residential care resources at one location, but also provides a state-of-the-art facility that focuses on bright, comfortable settings for youth to begin healing.

From the Center's inception, Boys Town Hospital developed a medically-directed treatment environment backed by evidence-based intervention methods. Children exposed to significant trauma, abuse and neglect may experience serious mental health problems such as mood disorders, problems with impulse control, self-harm and aggression. Thanks to neurobehavioral research, like that of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children at Boys Town Hospital, mental health and behavioral experts now have a better understanding of how these early life experiences alter brain development and function. The Residential Treatment Center utilizes this knowledge to develop better intervention methods. As more research uncovers new and better ways to manage and treat children with behavioral and mental health problems, Boys Town Hospital will be at the forefront – changing the way America cares for kids.

The children who come to the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center receive a safe and beautiful temporary home, a second chance and the knowledge that there is a group of people at Boys Town Hospital who believe that they are good kids with a valuable future.

In a speech in 2013, former youth Karly Harrison spoke fondly of the organization that she said helped her change her life. “I try to represent the Boys Town name as best I can and give back in the same way that they gave to me," Harrison said. With each healthy outcome, Boys Town gives the community a strong, confident citizen with the tools to make a difference – a gift that truly keeps on ​giving.