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Equality Before the Law: Commentary Series Part 5, Child Welfare Indicators

This year’s Kids Count in Nebraska Report featured a commentary debuting our new Index of Race & Opportunity for Nebraska Children. This blog post is the fifth in a series diving into the commentary. In the first post we introduced the commentary and detailed our methodology, the next posts looked at the indicators in the health section, the three indicators in the education section, and our three economic stability indicators. We continue the series today with the indicators in the Child Welfare section.

Voices for Children believes that Nebraska must ensure all children grow up in safe, permanent and loving families. We know that by strengthening families, we prevent abuse and neglect. When maltreatment does occur, our child welfare system must work in a way that minimizes trauma to children and families through swift and thoughtful action.

The indicators in our child welfare section of the Index of Race & Opportunity, chosen based on their ability to predict future health, success and overall well-being, as well as their proxy power – the indicators strength in representing the general direction and central importance of a variety of similar indicators, are:

  1. Children not involved in the child welfare system: This is defined as the number of children per 1,000 who are not involved (court or non-court) in the child welfare system.
  2. State wards receiving in-home services: This is defined as the percentage of children who are wards of the state but are living at home.
  3. Children with three or fewer out-of-home placements: This is defined as the percentage of children living in out-of-home care who have changed placements three or fewer times.

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