Goliath comes in many forms~
It is time to stop the devastation to innocent families which is occurring daily across the country.
My Family Rights Affiliation


Friday, December 3, 2010

State Urges Patience With Foster Care Reform

This recent article caught my attention> Link> http://www.ketv.com/news/26000434/detail.html .
(Dec. 2, 2010) Here are two paragraphs taken from the article. This is a prime example of the Attitude the agency takes against our Families.

"Todd Reckling, the director of Children and Family Services, said, "I find it comical at times that people don't understand that reform takes time," Reckling said. "I'd rather prefer the Foster Care Review Board could join us in that effort to be solution-focused, rather than going back to past history and beating us over the head for things we already know about."
He said reform will take about three to five years."

I hate to say this, but reform for our families will not happen until "Our Families are Recognized as the Most Important Resource we have in Our Nation, if not the World"

How do we stand up to the agency?? "We as Individuals must become Advocates for Ourselves to Protect Our Family" OR put it another way using this quote>>  
"Sometimes it just takes one small voice to make a world of difference...
I challenge you to be one of those voices"
And back to Nebraska. Here are just a few additional articles by another great Advocate Website, KidJacked

Nebraska News Coverage (Link: http://kidjacked.com/states.asp?st=Nebraska)

by JoAnne Young
Two weeks ago, Nebraska Foster Care Review Board member Marcia Anderson called the state's child welfare reform an "environment of chaos."
On Friday, the board and its director, Carol Stitt, stepped forward with serious concerns about how child welfare reform is progressing. "Now they are talking about dismantling our whole case management system, and lead agencies have not shown the ability to take over these responsibilities," Stitt said. Mindy Parker, a six-year Lincoln foster parent, said that since the transition to reform she has felt children's safety is no longer a priority. Getting cases closed seems to be the most important issue, she said.
Lincoln Journal Star
October 22, 2010

by Ben Schwartz
Less than one year after being awarded a state contract to coordinate child welfare services in central, western, and northern Nebraska, Boys and Girls Home is out as the lead contractor.
Boys and Girls Home's contract with the state will end Oct. 15, according to a statement released Oct. 1 by the Department of Health and Human Services. Omaha-based provider Visinet went bankrupt earlier in 2010, and Lincoln provider Cedars withdrew from their contract in May. Cedars cited a projected loss of $5.5 million had they remained a lead provider.
The North Platte Bulletin
October 14, 2010

by Kim Schmidt
KEARNEY -- An "absolute failure of the system." That's how Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Meister labeled the December 2009 death of 4-year-old Landon Payne.
"We have to take care of our kids. We've got to get this foster care privatization nonsense out of the system. We need to understand we're dealing with people, not commodities." Meister spoke of foster care failures throughout the state, the recent contract separation from the Boys and Girls Home, the Beatrice State Development Center, and the closure of Goodwill in the northeast part of the state as examples of HHS's failure.
Kearney Hub
October 09, 2010

OMAHA, Neb. -- A former Omaha youth group director and licensed foster care parent us going to prison for sexually assaulting to girls.
Mark Hild was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of sexual assault of a child. His victims were 11 and 13-years-old.
KETV News 7
October 01, 2010

A group that helps families navigate Nebraska's child welfare system may have to shut its doors. Budget cuts may be to blame for the loss of those services.
Employees with a group called Parents to Parents in Norfolk Nebraska have been told they may soon be out of a job, and the news is not being taken lightly. While the doors are still open at parent to parent, inside are worried employees.
Channel 9 KCAU-TV
September 25, 2010

by Tracy Overstreet
Paul and Marty Harding are professional parents. But after 36 years on the job as Nebraska foster parents, they aren't getting paid. In fact, the couple with three foster children in their care are owed $8,472 in back payments.
If not for the couple's personal savings, they wouldn't be able to continue covering the costs of caring for their foster children, who are all teenage girls. Those costs include $200 a week in groceries, $350 a month in electricity, $500 a month in fuel to transport the children to therapy sessions, court hearings and team meetings.
The Grand Island Independent
September 24, 2010


Foster care suit dismissed


Jan 19 1/19/2007 
A class-action lawsuit alleging that the state Health and Human Services system endangered 6,000 Nebraska children in the foster-care system was dismissed Friday by a judge
January 19, 2007
North Platte Telegraph

A class-action lawsuit alleging that the state Health and Human Services system endangered 6,000 Nebraska children in the foster-care system was dismissed Friday by a judge.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf dismissed the class-action suit that alleged the state endangered children with an understaffed, underfunded and unresponsive foster-care system. It was filed in 2005 by New York-based Children's Rights, the Nebraska Appleseed Center for law in the Public Interest and several private law firms.

"This decision consigns Nebraska's most vulnerable children to an empty promise that the courts will protect them," said Jennifer Carter, staff attorney for the Appleseed Center.

"This is just closing the best avenue for legal relief for these children."

The center and other plaintiffs could appeal the decision to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Carter said a decision has not yet been made.

Court precedent that says relief provided by federal courts should not interfere with the action of state courts was a basis for the decision. Children in foster care are involved in ongoing state court cases.

"Federal court injunctive orders against HHS would undermine and interfere with the Nebraska juvenile court's ability to exercise the full extent of its authority over juvenile court proceedings," the ruling says.

The lawsuit helped prompt state action to improve the system, including a series of directives issued last year by Gov. Dave Heineman. The ruling pointed out that the state is making efforts to improve the system.

The directives from Heineman focus on decreasing the length of time children spend in the system by achieving permanent placements earlier -- particularly for young children -- and freeing up resources to allow workers more time to focus on high-priority cases.

"The state has been making steady improvement from the end of the Johanns administration into this administration," said Aaron Sanderford, Heineman's spokesman. "We'll continue to make progress."

Problems in foster care partially revealed the need for a more nimble and accountable Health and Human Services system, now being sought by Heineman through a reorganization of the state agency, Sanderford said.

Nebraska continues to have one of the nation's highest rates of out-of-home placements per thousand children. In 2003, Nebraska had a rate of 13.8 children per 1,000 in out-of-home care, compared with the national average rate of 7.2 per 1,000, according to the Child Welfare League of America.

The lawsuit alleged that the state failed to address long-standing systemic problems such as a drastic shortage of foster homes, dangerously high caseloads for caseworkers assigned to monitor child safety, a lack of critical mental health services, the lowest "per diem" payments to care for foster children of any state in the nation and a lack of services and resources to get children adopted.

"The child welfare system is failing the children it is legally obligated to care for," Carter said.

May you find Strength in Your Higher Power,
Granpa Chuck
Keeper of the web files for http://nfpcar.org
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