At the core of our child welfare system are two key objectives: strengthening families to prevent abuse and neglect; and responding thoughtfully and swiftly to ensure all Nebraska’s kids have the best possible chance to grow up in safe, stable, and loving homes.
This is no easy feat. It requires dedication and persistence from many people: state agencies, legislators, caseworkers, service providers, advocates and watchdogs, caring adults willing to provide support to children and their families, and parents themselves.
We have a lot to celebrate when it comes to our child welfare system in Nebraska. Over the past few weeks, we’ve dug into some very positive data:
- the number of child victims of abuse and neglect has fallen;
- fewer children are being made state wards, instead families are being served in new ways; and
- children are exiting the child welfare system to loving families – usually their own.
Leadership is paying off, and things are getting better for children and our state. But that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels and take a break!
Our look at the data also revealed that Nebraska still has more work to do.
We can make sure that families can access services even if their case doesn’t get a response by child protective services, so that abuse and neglect never happens in the first place.
We can make sure that kids and families served in new and different ways have access to all the services and supports they need to thrive.
We can do more to shorten the length of time kids are in the state’s care and provide what families need so that they don’t reenter the child welfare system.
We know what works when it comes to the child welfare system. If we maintain our commitment, we can continue to make progress improving the child welfare system and making Nebraska a state where all kids are safe and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.