We believe Nebraska’s child welfare system should support, uplift, and strengthen all youth and families it interacts with, especially including youth and families of color that the system disproportionately targets and harms.
There are a lot of incredible individuals, organizations, and work happening in and around Nebraska to educate, improve, and support those touching the child welfare system, especially from a Race & Equity perspective. Below are just a few of the many that we encourage you all to check out, as well as some suggested educational resources to take in:
Local Direct Services, Supports, & Programs
- Carol’s House of Hope – Transitional living for young women and mothers who have aged out of foster care or who have become homeless.
- Connected Youth Initiative (“CYI”) – Provides services, services coordination, and financial support to youth (14-26) with foster care experience and unconnected youth.
- CULXR House – Community hub providing space for artists and activists, including youth, to perform, grow, present, and advocate.
- Douglas County Community Response – Connects youth and families to resources to prevent child welfare system involvement.
- Girl’s Inc. – Provides programs and education to girls (5-18) in Omaha, encouraging them to be “Strong, Smart, and Bold,” through STEM and health education, after school activities, and provides counseling and other services.
- Latino Center of the Midlands – Community center providing services for the Latino Community in Omaha through educational support, workforce development, leadership opportunities, and family and community well-being services.
- Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition – Community health care and services for urban American Indian and Alaska Native populations in the Omaha, Lincoln, and Sioux City, Iowa areas, including rehabilitative treatment, transportation, PEER support programs, and other supports.
- Project Everlast – Youth-led space providing supports and services, service navigation and coordination, and social connection for older youth (14-26) in Omaha & Lincoln as they transition out of foster care.
- Protege House – Provides housing for girls (19-24) transitioning out of foster care in the Omaha area.
- Youth Mart – Provides needed household items for youth with foster care experience, living on their own.
Local Advocacy & Education
- Immigrant Legal Center – Provides legal advocacy services and education for immigrants in Nebraska and Iowa.
- Movement in Omaha for Racial Equity – Fights for racial equity in Omaha through community engagement, education, and advocacy.
- Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition – “Educate(s), advocate(s) and bring(s) people together to protect Indian children’s rights, preserve their cultural connections, and ensure(s) the [Indian Child Welfare Act] is respected for Nebraska children.”
- Voices for Children – Conducts research, data collection, and policy advocacy relevant to child welfare, health care, economic stability, and juvenile justice.
National Advocacy Organizations & Partners
- Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign – Campaign to support policies that promote family acceptance and safe and supportive care for LGBTQ+ children and families.
- Foster Club – Supports young people in and from foster care “to become connected, educated, inspired and represented so they realize their personal potential and contribute to a better life for their peers.”
- National Foster Youth Institute – Connects current and former foster youth to elected representatives and decision makers.
- Think of Us – Research & development lab for child welfare systemic change, ensuring that people with lived experience are leading.
- Journey to Success – Federal policy advocacy campaign seeking to improve opportunities and outcomes for youth with experience in the foster care system.
Here are some suggested educational resources to start with:
- To do: Project Implicit – Implicit Bias Test
- To watch: No Kids in Prison – The Digital Experience
- To listen: INNOVATE!” Podcast – “Re-Envisioning of Foster Care in America”
- To read now: Dorothy Roberts – Five Myths About the Child Welfare System
- To read now: Voices for Children in Nebraska – Equality Before the Law: Race & Ethnicity in the Front End of Nebraska’s Child Welfare System
- To read over time: Shriver Center on Poverty Law Child Welfare Reading List
- To read over time: Dorothy Roberts – “Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare”
There are so many more experts, advocates, organizations, and people leading this important work and conversations. We encourage you to share others in the comments so that we can continue to educate ourselves, engage, and support.
Next week, in our last week of Foster Care Awareness Month, we will be suggesting alternative language to use in discussing the system, potential solutions, and next steps as the system moves forward. As always, if you feel compelled to share your personal experiences and thoughts on the child welfare system, please reach out to Schalisha Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this blog. We would love to hear and learn from you.