As you may recall, the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act was passed by the Nebraska Legislature and signed into law in June. This law creates a young adult-driven, age-appropriate system of services and support to age 21 for young people who age out of foster care.
Although the program won’t be officially begin until sometime after January 2014, stakeholders are already fervently working to plan for implementation.
One section of the bill created an Advisory Committee tasked with developing initial recommendations for a statewide implementation plan. Appointed by the Nebraska Children’s Commission, this Committee is made up of service providers, advocates (including our own Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey), young people with experience in foster care, representatives from DHHS, and other stakeholders.
The Advisory Committee’s first meeting was held in July. Committee members and other attendees broke up into six workgroups, including policy/rules and regulations, case management, case oversight, fiscal, communication and marketing, and evaluation. Each workgroup will develop 5-10 draft recommendations for their area of focus, which will then be presented to the full Advisory Committee in September. Pending approval from the Committee, these recommendations will be shared with DHHS, the Nebraska Children’s Commission, the Health and Human Services Committee of the Legislature, and the Governor by October 1.
As you can imagine, the past couple of weeks have been filled with workgroup meetings, reading and research, and lots of collaboration. Nebraska Appleseed is involved in all six of these workgroups (and co-leading two of them), so we have been deeply immersed in this work.
It can be a bit difficult to see the forest for the trees, so to speak, but we are moving in the right direction. We strongly believe that the key to success is meaningful input and investment from both stakeholders and young people. In the end, we know that all of this work and dedication will be worth it.
For more information on the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support, read a timeline of services or check out this Prezi video we created about the bill’s passage. Click here to view the Prezi at your own pace, without the voiceover.