In our day to day tireless efforts to improve child well-being and build pathways to opportunity for all children, it is so easy to get bogged down by what our state is not doing right. We are constantly looking at data and research on how our policies harm children and how we can always do so much better for our youngest Nebraskans. Oftentimes we forget how wonderful a place Nebraska is to raise a family and be a kid. Thanksgiving is a time for sharing food with those you love and care for most and for being mindful of all the countless good we have in our lives. In the spirit of the holiday, we thought it would be a great time to remind ourselves and all of our readers what the top 5 best new policy changes or data points on kids in Nebraska.
- More than 1 in 3 youth in juvenile court did not have access to an attorney. With the passage of LB 894, all children in our largest counties facing the court will be automatically appointed an attorney.
- Early childhood professionals will receive a tax credit if they reach a certain level of education ensuring more of our children are in the care of highly educated, well trained professionals.
- When children are removed from their home, more are going to the care of friends and families than are going to traditional foster homes, reducing the trauma of being removed from their parents care. In 2014 Nebraska saw 45.7% of kids in out-of-home care being placed with family and kin.
- Fewer uninsured children are from low-income, meaning more children who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP are enrolled.
- Nebraska is tied at first place in the nation for percent of high schoolers graduating on time at 93%.
As we sit around our tables with our nearest and dearest this weekend, let’s be thankful to live in a place with so much going right for kids and families. As we roll in to the gift-giving holiday season, please remember Voices for Children on Giving Tuesday, and also remember to shop smart by using Amazon Smile to support Voices for Children or any other of the countless charitable organizations working to ensure that Nebraska remains a great place to be a kid. Happy Thanksgiving!