This week, Voices for Children in Nebraska is saying goodbye to one of its long-time advocates for children and families – Sarah Forrest.
During Sarah’s time as Policy Coordinator for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice at Voices for Children, we have achieved significant victories for kids. These victories were due in large part to Sarah’s steadfast commitment and work ethic.
During Sarah’s four years at Voices for Children, we were able to make significant improvements in our juvenile justice system. We improved truancy law to put increased focus on engaging kids and families at school before court intervention. We limited the prosecution of youth as adults. We prevented Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center transfers to Corrections and we made investments in community-based juvenile justice services, including diversion and alternatives to detention.
Sarah’s work on child welfare has been no less impressive. She has worked to ensure that when kids have to be removed from their homes, they are in the least restrictive, most family-like setting by reducing the use of congregate care. And just last session, the Legislature passed an alternative response pilot project to help move Nebraska away from a one-size fits all approach and give more flexibility to better address the needs of low and moderate risk cases. Sarah has worked tirelessly to encourage stability and transparency in the child welfare system.
On behalf of Voices for Children, I want to thank Sarah for her work and the positive difference she has made for Nebraska kids.
While we are sad to see Sarah leave, we are heartened that she will continue to be a voice for kids in her new capacity at the Office of the Inspector General of Child Welfare. No doubt, Sarah will serve the State of Nebraska well. We offer her our full support and congrats!
Voices for Children in Nebraska looks forward to continuing Sarah’s work and achieving new victories for children in the coming years.