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25 for 25: In the beginning…


We are commemorating our 25th Anniversary with 25 posts about our history and accomplishments between now and the Spotlight Gala on September 15.  Join us for a celebration of Voices for Children and all of the  organizations, lawmakers, and individuals who have supported our work on behalf of children.    For details event, visit voicesforchildren.com/spotlight-gala.

Voices for Children in Nebraska was founded in 1987 by Kathy Bigsby Moore.  Kathy and her husband Craig were foster parents in the 1970’s and saw firsthand the issues that the children in their care faced – both from the difficult home lives they had and the problems with the system that was supposed to be taking care of them.  Kids in foster care needed help with basic needs like clothing and transportation, and access to health and behavioral health services.  Kathy saw that changes to the policies and systems were needed to make it easier and more efficient to get kids access to the resources and services needed.  She worked with other foster parents and advocates to create the Foster Care Review Board in 1982 to address some of the issues faced by children in the system.
Kathy saw a larger need for a multi-systems approach to solving the larger struggles that children and families faced that put them in the child welfare system in the first place.  Voices for Children in Nebraska was founded to address that need in Nebraska.

As an organization, were founded on the principles of being an independent, statewide, multi-issue, system advocacy organization.  We have been (and always will be) an outspoken voice for kids.  So what does that mean and why are those things important?

Independent – We are beholdin’ to no one but the kids we represent.  We do not seek or accept state funding so that we can  speak out on the issues that affect kids without fear of losing our funding.  And we have a broad base of individual, corporate and local and national foundation support so we can be independent from other organizations’ political agendas.

Statewide – We don’t just look at how issues impact Omaha or Lincoln, but try to keep a feel for what is happening to and for kids around the state.  Our aim is to think through how policies impact kids in a variety of locations and find solutions to the struggles children face that meet their needs where they live.

System advocacy – To advocate is to speak on behalf of another.  Often times advocates work with individual cases.  While all kids need to have an adult in their corner as their advocate, our role is to speak on behalf of all kids wherever decisions are being made about the systems that are meant to serve them.

Data-driven – Our annual Kids Count in Nebraska Report is the foundation upon which we build our advocacy agenda.  Everything we produce is supported by research and, as often as possible, Nebraska-specific data.

Multi-issue – Despite our roots in the child welfare system, we don’t just work on child welfare issues.  We know that poverty, health care, child care, and education are interrelated.  We look at the whole range of systems children are served by, not isolated systems or cases.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will explore what some of these principles mean and take a closer look at our accomplishments through the years.


Have a Voices for Children memory from back in the day?  Or a photo from our 25 years? Share it in the comments below.


Thank you to taking the time to share!

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