State officials hope to expand a program that seeks to help communities come to the aid of families which are struggling.
It’s called Bring Up Nebraska, a public-private partnership attempting to provide local communities the tools needed to address problems families face.
First Lady Susanne Shore said Nebraska needs to get to the source that causes broken families and wayward youth.
“Any child in need is not the state’s problem or Washington’s problem or some nameless faceless agency’s issue to deal with,” Shore told an audience gathered in the Warner Chamber at the state Capitol. “They’re our kids. These are Nebraska kids. And each one of us needs to be part of the solution.”
According to state statistics, slightly more than 5,000 Nebraska children and youth have been removed from their home. Nearly half of the children up to the age of five have at least one parent who also was a state ward.
Bring Up Nebraska forms local collaborative efforts to address the needs of families. They will work to understand the resources available, to develop long-term plans to coordinate services for families, and to assess both community strengths and weaknesses.
So far, 11 communities are involved, many covering wide swaths of Nebraska, including a partnership which covers the Panhandle.
Siouxland Human Investment Partnership’s Matt Ohman said during the event that several groups work hand-in-hand to address northeast Nebraska problems.
“What we’re doing now is we are investing in long-term community collaboratives,” according to Ohman. “The collaboratives are figuring out what the problems are, identifying that together and continuing to address those problems before they become crises.”
The goal of the program, according to state officials, is to give local communities the tools needed to develop long-term plans to prevent challenges families face from becoming crises.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]