Author: Robert McEwen

We’re taking a stand against the human rights violations in our state prisons

No Nebraskan should ever have to suffer cruel and unusual punishment; we’re a state that cares about its people. Yet across Nebraska, incarcerated people are subjected to severe human rights violations in our prison system. That’s why we’re working with the ACLU of Nebraska on a federal lawsuit against the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services over unlawful conditions of confinement… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – December 2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Nebraska Appleseed’s Agenda of Opportunity Court Opinions: In re Interest of Nettie F. Legislative Actions: Nebraska Interim Studies Announcements: Foster Care Reform Update Survey, Alternative Response Know Your Rights Guide POLICY SPOTLIGHT Nebraska Appleseed’s Agenda of Opportunity This week at Nebraska Appleseed, we released our 2017 “Agenda of Opportunity,” a series of local, state, and… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – November 2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Interim Study Examines Nebraska’s Age of Majority Court Opinions: In re Interest of Antonio J. et al Legislative Actions: Nebraska Interim Studies Announcements: Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT Interim Study Examines Nebraska’s Age of Majority An interim study hearing was held on November 15th with members from the Health and Human Services and Judiciary Committees to… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – October 31, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Legislative Resolution Hearings Court Opinions: In re Interest of Jameson S. et al., In re Interest of Angeleah M. and Ava M. Legislative Actions: Nebraska Interim Studies Announcements: Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Legislative Resolution Hearings As the 2017 Nebraska Legislative Session approaches, legislative resolution hearings… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – September 29, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: OIG 2015-2016 Annual Report Released Court Opinions: In re Interest of Cristalyla. et al., In re Interest of Julia D., In re Interest of Jaina W. et al. Legislative Actions: Federal Legislative Update, Nebraska Interim Studies Announcements: CLE Webinar, Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT OIG 2015-2016 Annual Report Released The Office of Inspector General of Nebraska… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update

POLICY SPOTLIGHT New Social Security Income Policy Supports Youth Aging Out of Foster Care As advocates and attorneys working with youth aging out of the foster care system, more can often be done to support their transition by navigating public benefit programs. Many of these youth are living with disabilities that may qualify them for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI).… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – June, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Family First Prevention Services Act Court Opinions: In re Interest of Mitoria R. and Cortez T. Legislative Actions: 2016 Interim Studies Announcements: Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT The Family First Prevention Services Act After much anticipation in the child welfare community, the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016 (HR 5456) was introduced as a bipartisan… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – May 2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Foster Care Hackathon Court Opinions: In re Interest of Sebastian D. & Lillian-Jo D., In re Interest of Abbie L. Legislative Actions: 2016 Child Welfare Legislative Bills and Interim Studies Announcements: Free CLE Webinar, Volunteers needed: Camp Catch-Up, Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT Foster Care Hackathon May is National Foster Care Month, a time to acknowledge… Read more →

The Fosters Season Recap: Not all “foster care advocates” are bad

Warning: This blog contains spoilers about this season of The Fosters   After a long hiatus, we are back blogging about the hit Freeform show, “The Fosters.” Since we last left you, there have been many changes with our favorite T.V. foster family. On a show that deals with almost every topic you could imagine (cancer, the sex offender registry,… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: The Family First Act Court Opinions: In re Interest of Jackson E., In re Interest of My’Kyng K., In re Interest of Alec S. Legislative Actions: 2016 Child Welfare Legislative Bills Announcements: Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT The Family First Act The Family First Act is proposed federal legislation that may soon be introduced, by Senate… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update 03/01/2016

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: H.R. 4472 – Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act Court Opinions: In re Interest of Tavian B., In re Interest of Precious H. & Blut Law La H., In re Interest of Miah T. & DeKandyce H. Legislative Actions: 2016 Child Welfare Legislative Bills Announcements: Camp Catch-Up, Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – January 2016

IN THIS ISSUE   Policy Spotlight: 104th Legislative Session Court Opinions: In re Interest of Dante S. Legislative Actions: 2016 Child Welfare Legislative Bills Announcements: Introduced Legislation Chart, Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT The 2nd session of the 104th Nebraska Legislature began on January 6, 2015. Here are a few of the bills that Nebraska Appleseed will be monitoring closely this… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – December 22, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Recent Education Reforms Protect Foster Youth Court Opinions: In re Interest of Gavin S. and Jordan S., In re Interest of Grace H. Legislative Actions: 2015 Child Welfare Interim Studies Announcements: Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT Recent Education Reforms Protect Foster Youth This month, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (S.1177),… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – November 30, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Memorial March to Honor Lost Children Court Opinions: In re Interest of Mya C. Legislative Actions: 2015 Child Welfare Interim Studies Announcements: Ethics CLE, Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT Memorial March to Honor Lost Children Last Wednesday, advocates for Native American children led the 13th annual Memorial March to Honor Our Lost Children in Sioux City.… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – October 30, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE Policy Spotlight: Letting Kids Be Kids: The Implementation of the Strengthening Families Act in Nebraska Court Opinions: In re Interest of Joseph S. et al., In Re Interest of Enyce J. Legislative Actions: 2015 Child Interim Studies Announcements: Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative Lecture Series 2015, Appleseed Blog POLICY SPOTLIGHT Letting Kids Be Kids: The Implementation… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – August 2015

In This Issue Policy Spotlight: Implementing the Strengthening Families Act in Nebraska Court Opinions: No cases this issue Legislative Actions: 2015 Child Welfare Interim Studies Announcements: Good Apple Awards, Appleseed Blog Policy Spotlight Implementing the Strengthening Families Act in Nebraska This month, a group of Nebraska stakeholders including youth, foster parents, and other advocates convened to develop recommendations regarding Nebraska’s… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update 07/27/2015

In This Issue Policy Spotlight: Court victory allows children access to vital behavioral health treatments Court Opinions: In re Interest of Trenton W. et al., In re Interest of Jassenia H., In re Interest of Jahon S., In re Interest Estrellita L., In re Interest Lindsey W. & Victoria W. Legislative Actions: 2015 Child Welfare Interim Studies Announcements: Appleseed Blog… Read more →

Celebrating team effort in big children’s health victory

On June 30, a great legal victory for Nebraska children’s health was won when a Lancaster County District Court handed down a ruling in the case of K.D./S.L. v. Winterer. The Court ruled children who are in the Medicaid program should have access to certain medically necessary behavioral and mental health treatments – treatments their doctors have prescribed and that… Read more →

Foster Care Reform Update – June 2015

In This Issue Policy Spotlight: 2015 Child Welfare Legislative Recap Court Opinions: In re Interest of Monty S. and Teresa S. v. Jason W. and Rebecca W., In re Interest of Zanaya W., In re Interest of Nery V. Legislative Actions: 2015 Child Welfare Bills Announcements: Appleseed at Urban Abbey, Appleseed Blog Policy Spotlight 2015 Child Welfare Legislative Recap The first… Read more →

Legislative hearing discusses ways to improve disparity of Native children in foster care

The high rate of Native American children removed from their homes by Nebraska’s foster care system continues to be a concern. In Nebraska, Native children represent 1 in every 10 children in the foster care system.  That’s 10 percent, which is drastically higher than the percentage of our state’s population that identify as Native American (1.5 percent).  That’s an alarming… Read more →

“The Fosters” – Immigration and Foster Care

Note: The new ABC Family series “The Fosters” portrays a same-sex couple and their family of biological, adopted, and foster children. Appleseed’s child welfare team will provide periodic reviews of episodes and discuss the real-life issues raised by the show. Hello everyone, our child welfare team is back from our recent trip to Washington D.C., and we have been looking… Read more →

“The Fosters” – Issues of Race and Culture in Foster Care

On The Fosters this week, the two common themes that arose throughout the episode were race, ethnicity, and culture. This week, we are going to focus on Marianna’s quinceañera, a Latin American celebration of a girl’s transition into womanhood at age 15. During this week’s show, Steph and Lena were preparing to throw a quinceañera for Mariana specifically to help… Read more →

The Fosters and the Sibling Placement in Foster Care

As promised, the child welfare team tuned in for The Fosters again this week, and for a second consecutive week we were fairly impressed by the show (and equally so by the show’s soundtrack, Missy Higgins and Brandi Carlile anyone?). Although I was occasionally distracted by the unmistakable likeness of Callie’s brother Jude to Freaks and Geeks star John Francis… Read more →

Two bills passed this session encourage government transparency and accountability

During the last couple weeks of the legislative session, the Nebraska Legislature passed two bills that seek to increase the accountability and transparency of Nebraska’s state government. While these bills haven’t received as much public attention as some other bills, we wanted to highlight them because we think they will go a long way to make the system more fair.… Read more →

Child Welfare Team tunes in and reviews new foster care TV show

This week, the television network ABC Family aired a new show called “The Fosters” about a same-sex couple and their family of biological, adopted, and foster children. Nebraska Appleseed’s child welfare team tuned in to watch the episode and were curious about how the show would portray some of the issues that children in foster care face. Many television shows… Read more →

Join Appleseed for free webinar on the ACA and Youth Formerly in Foster Care

On January 1, 2014 several important provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will start being enforced. Some of these provisions directly benefit former foster care youth so it is important for advocates and professionals working with youth in foster care to understand the pertinent eligibility criteria so they can successfully help youth access health care as they transition out… Read more →

Interim study to assess state’s compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act

An alarming figure illustrates that Nebraska has the second-highest imbalance in the country when it comes to the number of Native American children in the state’s foster care system.  Though Native Americans make up roughly one percent of Nebraska’s population, native children represent eight percent of the total number of children in foster care. Nebraska Appleseed, the Nebraska ICWA Coalition,… Read more →

Meet the Law Clerks!

Throughout the year, Nebraska Appleseed is fortunate to work with exceptionally bright young advocates through our intern and law clerk program. These students provide valuable support sharing their energy, creativity, and passion for social advocacy. This summer, Appleseed was fortunate to have eight public interest-minded law students clerk in our office: three from the University of Nebraska College of Law,… Read more →

A Timely Path to Permanency Requires True System Reform

LB 1172 requires the County Attorney to file a petition to terminate parental rights when a child under the age of five is in an out-of-home placement for twelve months.  We thank Sen. Pirsch and the judiciary committee for their commitment to increase permanency for younger children in foster care, but believe that reducing case load size and increasing access… Read more →

Busy Weeks in Child Welfare

Last week was a busy one for child welfare advocates and this week promises to be the same with the final LR 37 report scheduled to be released on Thursday.  Below is a brief recap: On Monday, December 5th, the Legislature’s Children’s Behavioral Health Oversight and HHS Committees held a hearing on LB 603 regarding recent changes to Medicaid coverage… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Leads a Community Discussion about the Child Welfare System and Privatization

On Wednesday of last week, a community discussion was hosted by the Lancaster County Democratic Party at Gere Library in Lincoln. Nebraska Appleseed’s Sarah Helvey was invited to speak at the event which focused on Nebraska’s child welfare system and the progress of LR 37. LR 37 is an interim study which provides for the HHS Committee of the Legislature… Read more →

NPR Releases a Three-part Investigative Report on the Current State of the Indian Child Welfare Act in Nebraska and South Dakota

Last week National Public Radio (NPR) released a three-part, yearlong, investigative report focusing on Native American children in the child welfare systems of South Dakota and Nebraska. Specifically, the piece dealing with Nebraska follows the story of Dwayne Stenstrom who is now a history professor at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Stenstrom lived on… Read more →

Appleseed Presents Results of Survey of Attorneys’ Perceptions of Child Welfare Privatization to Legislative Committee

On Tuesday of last week, the Health and Human Services Committee of the Nebraska Legislature continued its investigation of the effects of privatization on the state’s child welfare system through the LR 37 interim study process.  As part of the LR 37 process, Nebraska Appleseed conducted a survey of juvenile court attorneys across the state and asked them to share… Read more →