State officials say Nebraska’s System of Care, established in 2016, is having a positive impact on children suffering mental illness or behavioral problems.
State Behavioral Health Director Sheri Dawson says her office works with schools, the courts, and health providers to meet the needs of children.
“The System of Care really tries to make sure that no matter where a youth or family enters the system, that there’s not a wrong door, that folks can get connected, because partners know what’s going on and where services are located,” Dawson tells reporters during a news conference hosted by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Dawson reports that as of March, the state has handled 500 crisis calls and has been largely able to get the services need to keep families together.
Dawson does say feedback has disclosed gaps in the state System of Care.
“And one of the gaps that we have heard, from the beginning of our System of Care, is that opportunity to serve children that have mental health and developmentally disabilities in services that really meet both of those needs,” according to Dawson.
The state has a partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation.
Foundation President Mary Jo Pankoke says the foundation has provided three million dollars for prevention and early intervention programs.
“We know that by making supports and services available in the community, we can reach kids and families early and prevent problems from escalating to the point that more intrusive and more expensive interventions are needed,” Pankoke says.