Tag: Families

Better Breakfast Leaders: Brady Public Schools reduces stigma and feeds more kids through alternative breakfast

School and District leadership plays a vital role in whether students get the food they need during the school day. It’s their observations, attention to data, and decisions that dictate many students’ meal-time experiences in school.  Superintendent James McGown of Brady Public Schools, about 30 minutes east of North Platte, is one leader whose decisions helped reduce hunger in his… Read more →

Better Breakfast Leaders: Bayard Public Schools leaders learned by doing

The national benchmark, for school breakfast participation is 7 low-income students eating breakfast for every 10 eating lunch. Nationally, we serve a little over 5 in 10 kids. In Nebraska, we serve 4 in 10, placing us 48th in the nation. However, around 17 districts in our state are hitting or exceeding the national benchmark including Bayard Public Schools.  About… Read more →

RELEASE: Nebraska Appleseed files lawsuit seeking stability for Nebraska’s child welfare system

***For Immediate Release*** Tuesday, September 3, 2019 Contact: Magdalena Cazarez Communications Director Office: (402) 438-8853 Ext 119 Cell: (402) 504-0074 mcazarez@neappleseed.org   Nebraska Appleseed files lawsuit seeking stability for Nebraska’s child welfare system Suit says current private contracts violate Nebraska’s Constitution   LINCOLN – Today, Nebraska Appleseed filed a lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court on behalf of a child… Read more →

Hatred does not reflect American values. Immigrants bring vibrancy and resiliency to our communities

Immigrants bring vibrancy and resiliency to our communities Once again, hatred and violence devastate communities across our country As we mourn the devastating attacks that occurred this weekend in El Paso,TX and Dayton, OH, we stand with these vibrant and resilient communities. Inhumane and violent actions toward our neighbors do not reflect our core values as a country. Below is… Read more →

RELEASE: Nebraska continues to rank near bottom of U.S. in Summer Meals

***For Immediate Release*** Thursday, July 11, 2019 Contact: Magdalena Cazarez Communications Director Office: (402) 438-8853 Ext 119 Cell: (402) 504-0074 mcazarez@neappleseed.org Nebraska continues to rank near bottom of U.S. in Summer Meals Participation in summer meals helps children get prepared for classroom success   LINCOLN – Nutritious summer meals should be available to all children all year round. However, national… Read more →

Take Action: Dream and Promise Act passed the House Judiciary!

Last week, the American Dream and Promise Act passed out of the House Judiciary committee. These bills would provide protections to Dreamers and longtime residents with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status who are part of the fabric of communities across our state of Nebraska and the nation. Did you know the average age of a… Read more →

Statement: A Step in the Right Direction for Positive Immigration Laws

***For Immediate Release*** Thursday, May 23, 2019 Contact: Magdalena Cazarez Communications Director (402) 438-8853 Ext. 119 mcazarez@neappleseed.org A Step in the Right Direction for Positive Immigration Laws Longtime immigrant Nebraskans need permanent protections to continue contributing to local communities   LINCOLN – Yesterday, the Dream Act and American Promise Act passed out of the House Judiciary committee. These positive, long… Read more →

Family-based and humanitarian immigration strengthen our communities

***For Immediate Release*** Friday, May 17, 2019 Contact: Magdalena Cazarez Communications Director Cell: (402) 504-0074 mcazarez@neappleseed.org Family-based and humanitarian immigration strengthen our communities Keeping families separated undermines our American values   LINCOLN – Yesterday, the Administration gave a speech at the Rose Garden about changing the current immigration system. His message included cutting the number of family-based and humanitarian visas… Read more →

The ‘Invisible Wall’ is creating real barriers for local residents

The ‘Invisible Wall’ is creating real barriers for local residents Processing wait times for U.S citizenship are getting longer Recent headlines have focused on the numerous attacks on asylum seekers and refugees, program terminations for certain immigrant groups, and a call to build one large wall at the southern border of the United States and Mexico. Meanwhile, the administration is… Read more →

Education under ADC is a proven success

Education is the clearest pathway out of poverty. And in Nebraska, we have emphasized the importance of education in our Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program. ADC is Nebraska’s cash assistance program for low-income families with children. Most people who participate in the ADC program must engage in a work activity every week. Under Nebraska’s ADC program, participants can choose… Read more →

STATEMENT – Compromise a first step toward stability for Nebraska’s poorest families

***For Immediate Release*** May 5, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Appleseed Statement on working families aid funding Compromise is first step to increase stability for working, low-income families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement on the announced compromise reached on adding aspects… Read more →

Legislative Update – May 4, 2015

Last week was quite the week at the State Capitol. The Legislature gave first-round approval to the state budget and debated several of Appleseed’s priority bills.   Governor vetoes bill that fights poverty for hard-working families On Thursday, April 29, Governor Ricketts vetoed LB 89, a bill that fights poverty for Nebraska’s poorest families. LB 89, which passed Final Reading… Read more →

STATEMENT – Governor’s veto of LB 89 harms poorest Nebraska children and families

***For Immediate Release*** April 29, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed Statement on Governor’s Veto of LB 89 Governor’s uses first veto to harm state’s poorest Children and Families   LINCOLN — Tonight, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement regarding the Governor’s veto of LB… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 27, 2015

Several of Appleseed’s priority bills to help hard-working families and protect Nebraska children received great votes in the Legislature last week! Here is our legislative roundup from last week and what lies ahead this week.   Working Families bill passes Final Reading LB 89 – This bill to raise the payment rate for the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) benefit… Read more →

RELEASE – Appleseed praises passage of LB 89

***For Immediate Release*** April 23, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org     Appleseed Statement on passage of LB 89 Legislature’s vote will strengthen Nebraska’s working families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in support of the Legislature’s vote to pass LB… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 6

Nebraska Appleseed’s Legislative Update News and Updates from the Nebraska Unicameral April 6, 2015   This is shaping up to be one of the biggest weeks of the Legislative session for Appleseed’s priority bills.   Medicaid Redesign Act set for debate Wednesday afternoon, the Legislature will begin debate on LB 472 – the Medicaid Redesign Act. Passing this crucial bill… Read more →

New report shows Minority working families in Nebraska are falling behind

***For Immediate Release*** March 16, 2015 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Report: Minority Working Families in Nebraska falling behind Latino Immigrants at Greatest Risk; Study Concludes State Can Address the Problem LINCOLN – A new study concludes that a sharp racial and ethnic divide has emerged within the world of low-income… Read more →

Legislative Update

This is your weekly Nebraska Legislature update. Committee Hearings last week Appleseed testified on several bills during Legislature committee hearings last week. LB 12 – A bill to streamline the Medicaid process for eligible Nebraskans who enter and leave the criminal justice system. This bill will improve health care access while saving costs in the corrections system. Appleseed testified in… Read more →

‘500 by the 15th’ campaign to encourage Nebraskans to get health coverage

***For Immediate Release*** December 1, 2014 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org  “500 by the 15th” campaign aims to help Nebraskans get health coverage Statewide health care organizations available to provide free assistance Today, community and health care organizations across Nebraska announced the kickoff of a new effort to ensure Nebraskans get… Read more →

Families USA report: Working Nebraskans being left without coverage

***For Immediate Release*** December 1, 2014 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   New report shows vast majority of Nebraskans in Coverage Gap are working Nearly three-quarters of those unable to get health coverage have held jobs in past year LINCOLN — A new report released today by Families USA, the national… Read more →

You’re Invited – Panel discussion on Paid Family Leave

With the changing nature of the workforce, it’s getting more and more challenging to balance the demands of the jobs we need and the families we love. States around the country are starting to establish policies that promote more family-friendly workplaces, and both businesses and families are seeing the benefits. Please join us for a discussion featuring national expert Ellen… Read more →

Nebraska Court of Appeals makes influential decisions on Indian Child Welfare Act

***For Immediate Release*** May 20, 2014 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Nebraska Court of Appeals makes influential decisions on Indian Child Welfare Act Court holds ICWA protections apply to state wards placed in parental home LINCOLN – Today, the Nebraska Court of Appeals ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act’s… Read more →

A failed deportation policy: Breaking up families for minor offenses

We’ve reached an unfortunate milestone under the Obama Administration – 2 million people have been deported from the U.S. under outdated policies, taking a devastating human and economic toll. Last week, The New York Times published a study that shows two-thirds of those people deported have committed only minor infractions such as traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all.… Read more →

New report shows more working mothers in Nebraska make low incomes

More than 26,000 low-income families in Nebraska are headed by working mothers according to the new report, “Low-Income Working Mothers and State Policy: Investing for a Better Economic Future.” The report, which was released today by the Working Poor Families Project and utilizes the latest data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, finds that Nebraska ranks 15th in the… Read more →

Documentary “American Winter” shows strain poverty puts on U.S. families

The true face of poverty and its damaging effects on real American families is on display in the eye-opening documentary “American Winter,” which tells the stories of several families in the Portland, Oregon, area as they deal with job losses, mounting bills, losing their homes, and the toll these challenges can take on a family. A synopsis from the film’s… Read more →

Nebraskans hold vigils, events to urge House action on immigration this year

The four-person dinner table contained settings for only three.  The head of the table sat empty, its absence most conspicuous. The symbol was a powerful one.  Representing Nebraska families who are missing a loved one because of detention or deportation, this dinner scene was not whole, incomplete. Thursday, Nebraskans in several cities gathered together to urge our state’s House of… Read more →

November 1 reduction in SNAP funding is about to hurt Nebraska families

At the end of this week, thousands of Nebraska families who receive food assistance will face even more uncertainty because of a nationwide reduction in payments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. On November 1, there will be a nationwide reduction in payments from SNAP, formerly called ‘food stamps’, which helps about 180,000 Nebraskans – or 10 percent of our… Read more →

“Valiant Voices” exhibit shows true stories of poverty and perseverance in Omaha

Since May, Appleseed has been partnering with Heart Ministry Center and a group of Omaha women who are fighting to break the cycle of generational poverty.  A grant from the Women’s Fund of Omaha allowed us to provide these women with digital cameras to document the challenges they face on a daily basis. The result is a moving and enlightening… Read more →

“Valiant Voices: Portraits of Strength” opens tonight in Omaha

Tonight, you’re invited for a first look at the new exhibit “Valiant Voices: Portraits of Strength” at the First Friday art walk in Omaha’s historic Benson neighborhood. “Valiant Voices” is a special photo project that cuts through the clutter and stereotypes of what you think you might know about what it means to live an everyday struggle with poverty. This… Read more →

Government shutdown could have consequences for Nebraska families with low incomes

As you likely know by now, Congress has not been able to come to an agreement to continue to fund many activities and programs.  That means on Tuesday, the federal government was shut down. Although many public benefits programs will be able to keep operating because they currently are able to access funding from the prior year, an extended shutdown… Read more →

Nebraska youth and families ask Rep. Lee Terry “Keep Nebraska families together.”

OMAHA — One of the most damaging consequences of our outdated immigration system is the havoc it wreaks on families.  Nationwide, an estimated 4.5 million children who are U.S. citizens have a parent without immigration papers, including thousands here in Nebraska. Today, Nebraska families, youth, and faith leaders delivered children’s drawings and constituent postcards calling on Rep. Lee Terry to… Read more →

Young Nebraska immigration advocates ask Rep. Jeff Fortenberry “Keep our Nebraska families together.”

One of the most damaging consequences of our outdated immigration system is the havoc it wreaks on families.  Nationwide, an estimated 4.5 million children who are U.S. citizens have a parent without immigration papers, including thousands here in Nebraska. Today, Nebraska families, youth, and faith leaders delivered children’s drawings and constituent postcards calling on Rep. Jeff Fortenberry to support common-sense… Read more →

Nebraska children ask Congressmen “Keep Our Families Together”

One of the most damaging consequences of our outdated immigration system is the havoc it wreaks on families.  Nationwide, an estimated 4.5 million children who are U.S. citizens have a parent without immigration status, including thousands here in Nebraska. Kids are more likely to suffer physical and emotional health problems and not do as well in school when separated from… Read more →

TAKE ACTION – Support immigration reform at Town Hall meetings with Nebraska congressional delegation

Now is the time to make your voice heard on a common-sense immigration system that keeps Nebraska families together, strengthens our economy, and reflects our values! Our members of Congress are back in Nebraska for five weeks of recess starting this week.  They are holding a series of town hall meetings throughout August to hear from people like you on… 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 →

Take Action! Protect SNAP for Nebraska children and families!

SNAP is at risk – We need your help! No Nebraskan should go hungry.  However, nearly 14 percent of Nebraskans were food insecure in 2012. This means about 250,000 people in our state struggled to get enough to eat, including 80,000 children who received SNAP benefits. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a vital support to these Nebraskans who… 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 →

Take Action: Senate passes immigration reform bill. Now, it’s the House’s turn.

The U.S. Senate took a great step toward fixing our outdated immigration laws last week when it voted overwhelmingly to pass a historic immigration bill with a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans. The bipartisan vote was 68-32! Unfortunately, Senator Johanns and Senator Fischer voted against the bill. On the same day, more than 40 diverse Nebraska groups gathered in… 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 →

Reviewing “The Fosters” – Playing by the (unwritten) rules

As mentioned in our last blog, this week’s premier of the new ABC Family television show “The Fosters” covered a diverse range of topics, including same-sex parenting, multi-ethnic family dynamics, unreported foster home abuse, placement/school instability, the strength of sibling relationships, and an unhealthy meeting with a biological parent.  Basically everything but the kitchen sink. As I sat curled up… 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 →

Take Action to support accessible and high quality child care

Every Nebraska child should be safe while their parents are working, so affordable, quality child care is vital to allow our state’s families to be strong. You have a chance today to take action to strengthen working Nebraska families.  Please call your senator and ask them to support LB 507, “The Step Up to Child Care Act.” Each year about… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Statement on Senate Immigration Bill

Darcy Tromanhauser, Director of Nebraska Appleseed’s Immigrants & Communities Program, issued the following statement on today’s Senate immigration reform bill. “This is a historic moment as our country takes a long-overdue step toward modernizing our immigration laws,” Tromanhauser said. “This bipartisan bill would finally create a process for millions of aspiring Americans — people who are our friends, neighbors, and… Read more →

Bill would combat Nebraska’s high level of food hardship

Recently, the Food Research Research and Action Center (FRAC) released a new report examining the national percentage of households facing a food hardship – not having enough money to buy the food they or their families need. According to the report ”Food Hardship in America 2012” Nebraska has a food hardship rate of 13.8 percent.   Although this is better than… Read more →

Aid to Dependent Children rate must be raised to strengthen our families

Effectively addressing poverty is not only fundamental to the well-being of children and families in our community, it is also one of the keys to preventing the unnecessary entry of children into the foster care system. That is why Appleseed is proud to support LB 508, a bill introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell that would incrementally increase the Aid to… Read more →

Child care assistance bill would strengthen Nebraska families

Affordable child care is vital to allow families to work and to keep children safe. In Nebraska, the Child Care Subsidy Program provides assistance to low-income families that are working their way toward independence by helping cover the costs of childcare.  Unfortunately, Nebraska ranks at the bottom of the country in income eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy Program, creating… Read more →

Appleseed testifies in support of bill to better enable kinship homes in foster care

On January 31, Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey testified before the HHS Committee in support of LB 265. LB 265, introduced by Senator Colby Coash, would enable children in foster care to be placed with a family friend or person with whom the child has a previous, significant contact – known as a “kinship home” – without the foster… Read more →

Statement on the introduction of bills establishing more adequate ADC & foster care rates

Today, Senator Kathy Campbell introduced LB 508, a bill to incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) rate in Nebraska to a more adequate level.  Also today, Senator Annette Dubas introduced LB 530, a bill which, among other things, directs the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services to implement the recommendations of the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee… Read more →

Free screening of Precious Knowledge highlights importance of cultural education

On Tuesday, January 22, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and several Omaha organizations will sponsor a FREE showing of Precious Knowledge, a film that highlights one of the final years of the highly successful Mexican-American Studies Program at Tucson High School and the fight to abolish the program after Arizona lawmakers abolished ethnic studies classes in 2011. Following the 7:00 p.m. screening at the… Read more →

Working Poor Families Report shows more families working low-paying, unstable jobs

Despite more families holding jobs, the ranks of the working poor are increasing according to a new report from the Working Poor Families Project. The report, “Low-Income Working Families: The Growing Economic Gap,” shows nearly one-third of the nation’s working families are paid wages so low they struggle to meet their basic needs. Indeed, according to the report, 32 percent… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed issues response to State of the State Address

Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State Address today. “This morning, Governor Heineman laid out his priorities for the next year in his State of the State Address.  We agree that the State of Nebraska is strong and a great place to live.  Because of this, we are… Read more →

New immigration policy change will help preserve American families

How we treat immigrants should reflect our commitment to the values that define us as Americans. We all believe families should stick together and yet, our current immigration policies, unfortunately and too often, tear families apart instead of strengthening them – including U.S. citizens and immigrant family members. On Wednesday, however, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a change in… Read more →

Appleseed 2012 Year in Review – Welcoming new Nebraskans for stronger, united communities

This is part of a series looking back on Nebraska Appleseed’s work in 2012. Nebraska Appleseed believes communities in which all people are welcome and engaged become stronger and more enriched.  Our work in 2012 pursued the goals of creating a stronger Nebraska by fighting for the rights of new Americans. Promoting Common-Sense Immigration Laws Appleseed believes we need a… Read more →

Nebraska’s Children’s Commission Releases Strategic Plan for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Reform

Late last week, the Nebraska Children’s Commission, created by LB 821, released its Phase I Strategic Plan for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Reform.  The Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee of the Legislature will likely rely heavily on this strategic plan as they continue to work on improving Nebraska’s foster care system this coming Legislative Session. In their report, members of… Read more →

Appleseed 2012 Year in Review – Expanding Opportunities for Nebraska’s Low-Income Families

This is part of a series looking back on Nebraska Appleseed’s work in 2012. Protecting right to treatment for young children with developmental disabilities In May, Nebraska Appleseed filed a lawsuit on behalf of two children with developmental disabilities who were denied Medicaid coverage of medical treatments despite the treatments being deemed medically necessary by their doctors. Read the petition… Read more →

Appleseed 2012 Year in Review – Child Welfare

This is part of a series looking back on Nebraska Appleseed’s work in 2012. Repairing Nebraska’s Broken Child Welfare System In 2012, Nebraska Appleseed responded to the crisis condition of Nebraska’s child welfare system. During the 2012 Legislative session, Appleseed worked with state senators and partners to support a package of five bills designed to stabilize and reform Nebraska’s struggling child welfare… Read more →

Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments on Fremont’s anti-immigrant law

Earlier Today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments over Fremont’s anti-immigrant ordinance, a draconian law that established significant barriers to housing and employment in an attempt to make life for immigrants in Fremont nearly impossible. Although the core of the housing ordinance was found to be unconstitutional by the district court, a licensing provision that would force… Read more →

Extra Credit: Resources for Non-Traditional, Parenting, and Low-Income Students

Getting a degree is one of the best long-term pathways out of poverty for low income families.  Degree completion is also important to colleges and universities, especially important now as more non-traditional students are seeking post-secondary education. Research shows that access to public assistance programs, such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, can help keep students in school… Read more →

Opportunity Scorecard reveals struggles, suggests solutions for working families in Nebraska

Economic security for Nebraska families is key to making our state great.  But, despite working hard, too many Nebraska families struggle. A new assessment from Nebraska Appleseed released today examines how Nebraska stacks up in key economic indicators for working families.  The Nebraska Opportunity Scorecard measures economic security, economic mobility, and economic opportunity in the state compared to the rest… Read more →

Choosing Education

At a time when the highest-paying occupations and fastest-growing fields in Nebraska all require some type of academic credential or training, job-seeking adults with limited educational backgrounds are often at a disadvantage. Fortunately, parents in the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program have the right to take part in meaningful work activities that help them reach their goals – including… Read more →

The Power of a Voice – Sen. McGill thanks youth for sharing their perspectives on the foster care system

“Your voice does matter to state senators, and your voice CAN make a difference.” These powerful words were spoken by Senator Amanda McGill in her modernized version of a thank you card to the more than 100 youth who participated in statewide focus groups and/or responded to surveys about an extended services and support to 21 program this summer. Such… Read more →

Outstanding contributions to justice recognized at Good Apple Awards

Nebraska Appleseed recognized several courageous Nebraskans Thursday night whose work has contributed to the fight for justice and opportunity for all at the 2012 Good Apple Awards. More than 300 people attended the Good Apple Awards at the Omaha Livestock Exchange Building ballroom.  Thursday’s event was the fourth such awards celebration for Nebraska Appleseed and drew its largest crowd ever.… Read more →

Ruth Marimo, an Immigrant from Zimbabwe, Tells her Harrowing Story

Ruth Marimo is a thirty-one-year-old single, lesbian, African mother of two. While awaiting deportation almost two years ago, she began her incredible memoir, Freedom of an Illegal Immigrant. Her story begins in Zimbabwe. At five years old, she lost her mother to suicide, and her sibling died the same year. She was raised by her mother’s relatives and lived with… 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 →

Child Welfare Forum brings national experts to Lincoln

Last Thursday, six national child welfare experts met with nearly 100 local stakeholders for a Child Welfare Forum focusing on evidence-based practice in prevention and early intervention. After testifying at the Legislature interim study in the morning, the team of experts provided information in an afternoon session on best practices and what is working across the country. Attendees also met… Read more →

Appleseed Testifies at Interim Study Hearing on Poverty and Child Welfare

On Thursday morning, Nebraska Appleseed participated in an interim study, LR529, on the “front door” or entries to Nebraska’s child welfare system. Appleseed’s Executive Director, Becky Gould, testified about the role anti-poverty programs can play in supporting families and preventing children from ending up in the child welfare system. “We believe that effectively addressing poverty is not only fundamental to… Read more →

You’re Welcome in Omaha Celebrates National Welcoming Week

This week, You’re Welcome in Omaha will join Welcoming America affiliates across the country to celebrate the first National Welcoming Week. Across Omaha, throughout schools, public places and businesses, posters designed by local artists will spread a message of “Welcome” in many languages. Other community activities will be posted at NebraskaIsHome.org More than 20 Omaha organizations and businesses have signed… Read more →

September News from Nebraska Appleseed

In this September edition of “Appleseed in Action”: New data on poverty in America UNMC report reveals Medicaid expansion would cover 90,000 uninsured Deferred Action Forum: a new opportunity for DREAMers Appleseed files petition for hearing on meatpacking worker health & safety Join us at the Good Apple Awards on October 4 New data on poverty in America On Wednesday,… Read more →

More groups take stances opposing Fremont’s oppressive anti-immigrant ordinance

Last week, several civil rights organizations filed amicus briefs in the federal case opposing Fremont’s anti-immigrant ordinance.  It is encouraging so many groups are standing against this measure that is clearly damaging to the fabric of the community. Nebraska Appleseed filed our own amicus brief in opposition to the ordinance in July.  In our brief, we highlighted the Voices from… Read more →

Community Organizations Work Together to Provide Hundreds of Young Nebraskans with Information about New Policy for DREAMers

Omaha, Lincoln, and Columbus — A wide variety of community and faith organizations worked together on Sunday to provide approximately 500 young Nebraskans and family members with information about a new immigration policy for DREAMers. The new Department of Homeland Security policy (DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) provides relief from deportation for law-abiding, immigrant youth who arrived in… Read more →

Photography project shows the true faces of homeless youth

Craig Blankenhorn is an award-winning photographer, whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of the City of New York.  His recent project titled “Child Homeless” is a collection of photos that document some of the 1.6 million homeless children in the U.S. Blankenhorn spent time with homeless families in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Florida, and his… Read more →

Join Us for a Child Welfare Forum Sept 13, 2012

Please JOIN US for a child welfare forum on evidence-based practice related to prevention and early intervention! DATE: Thursday, September 13th TIME: 1:00-4:00 p.m. LOCATION: The Cornhusker Hotel, The Lancaster 123 Room, 333 S. 13th St., Lincoln, NE RSVP: online at http://neappl.es/sparcrsvp or to Cynthia Davis at cynthia@neappleseed.org The forum will be structured in three parts: an overview presentation to the… Read more →

Nebraska ICWA Coalition to be honored with Appleseed’s “Seeds of Justice” Award

Over the next few weeks we will be telling you about this year’s recipients of our Good Apple Awards, which will be honored at the Good Apple Awards on October 4, 2012 in Omaha. This year, we are proud to present our Seeds of Justice Award for outstanding legal contributions to public interest law to the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare… Read more →

UNMC Report Reveals Medicaid Opportunity We Can’t Miss

Today, the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Center for Health Policy released a report examining the potential economic impact the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) new Medicaid program would have on Nebraska. The results paint a clear picture that the state would receive significant returns on an investment made in the good health and well-being of its citizens through this new… Read more →

Across-the-Board Budget Cuts will Hurt Crucial Nebraska Programs

Nebraska and all the states will face devastating cuts to their federal funding beginning January 1, 2013, if no action is taken by Congress to address the automatic cuts required by the Budget Control Act. The Budget Control Act required a committee to come to a deal regarding budget cuts to make for deficit reduction. Unfortunately, the committee did not… Read more →

A Summer of Youth Focus Groups

You may remember past blogs about an exciting new program that would extend services and support for youth who age out of foster care to the age of 21.  These services and supports would include, among other things, Medicaid coverage, housing assistance, and youth-directed case management. State Senator Amanda McGill introduced LB 1150 in January of this year, which would… Read more →

We Are Still Fighting the War on Poverty

Milo Mumgaard is the founder and former Executive Director of Nebraska Appleseed. Peter Edelman recently wrote an on-point opinion piece in The New York Times on the challenge of ending poverty. This article is sobering stuff with the release of the annual poverty figures coming out next month, which will show the highest percentage of Americans living in poverty since… Read more →

Omaha Community Leaders Know Diversity is Strength

This evening, more than 20 community organizations, numerous Omaha artists, and other welcoming Omahans will gather for You’re Welcome at House of Loom starting at 8:00pm for a night of art, music, and inclusion. This evening’s kick-off event marks the beginning of You’re Welcome’s work to celebrate Omaha as a diverse and connected community through artistic expression, community engagement, and… Read more →

Health Care, Immigration, Fair Pay & You’re Welcome!

In this edition of “Appleseed in Action”: Health Reform: Quality, affordable and constitutional health care for all; Arizona’s SB1070: Socially toxic and unconstitutional; Lilly Ledbetter in Omaha: One Woman’s Battle for Justice; You’re Welcome in Omaha!; Take Action: Opportunity for DREAMers Read more →

Defending the First Line of Defense Against Hunger

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps), is frequently referred to as the nation’s first line of defense against hunger.  Since the beginning of the program, SNAP has helped millions of Americans avoid hunger and malnutrition, especially children, the elderly, and people with disabilities (for a historical perspective on SNAP, watch “Food Stamps Make America Stronger”).… Read more →

You’re Welcome! Photo Anthology

Nebraska’s summer cultural festivals create a perfect opportunity to recognize and appreciate the diversity in our state. By sharing music, food, and art — as we have for generations — communities come together and begin to create a culture of inclusiveness. Throughout the summer, we’ll be presenting photos of Nebraskans sharing why they believe Nebraska is and should be a… Read more →

Supreme Court Strikes Down Most of Arizona’s Immigration Law

Nebraskans emphasize toxic social and economic outcomes Today the Supreme Court issued a first ruling on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. In response, Nebraska Appleseed issued this media release: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s notorious “show me your papers” law, a state-level immigration policy that Nebraska and many other states have already… Read more →

The Spring 2012 Edition of “At the Core”

The end of the 2012 Nebraska legislative session finished with a flurry of activity on prenatal care, child welfare, and a number of Appleseed’s priority bills passing. You can read about these successes and other recent efforts in the latest edition of our bi-annual newsletter “At the Core.” Download a printable copy of “At the Core” Inside you can read… Read more →

My Experience at Appleseed

Appleseed is a place full of movers and shakers, and over the course of my internship here, I have been moved and shaken. I am constantly shown that people are changing things. Appleseed is uprooting the distressing and unacceptable life conditions that some consider permanent. But here, we know that nothing is permanent except change. And we are agents of… Read more →

THANK YOU! Prenatal Care Restored!

Yesterday was a great day for Nebraska’s children.  The Legislature voted 30-16 to override the Governor’s veto of LB 599 and restore Nebraska’s decades-long policy of providing prenatal care and prioritizing the health of Nebraska children. Thank you for calling and emailing throughout this debate. Being engaged in this process truly made a huge difference! We also must thank the 30 senators… Read more →

JOIN US TODAY, 5pm Vigil to Restore Prenatal Care!

VIGIL TO RESTORE PRENATAL CARE TODAY: Wednesday, April 11, 5pm Help ensure that all Nebraska babies have the chance at a healthy start in life.   Join us! Wednesday, April 11 5pm-6pm State Capitol, Lincoln (West side of the capitol building – at the statue of Lincoln – 14th Street & Lincoln Mall.) The effort to restore prenatal care is… Read more →

Timeline of Prenatal Care Coverage in Nebraska

The Nebraska Legislature is on the verge of passing LB 599, a bill to restore prenatal care to all low-income children. For decades the State of Nebraska maintained the wise and fiscally smart health policy to provide prenatal health coverage and ensured that all children had a chance at having a healthy start to life. Our state’s investment in prenatal… Read more →

Legislative Update

There has been a good deal of activity at the Legislature on Appleseed’s priority issues since the last update.  Here is a quick summary: “Green Lights” In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights”… Read more →

Time, Patience, Justice

Here at Nebraska Appleseed, we have heard a lot about ACCESS Nebraska, the new system for managing Health and Human Services programs using on-line applications and call centers instead of caseworkers. We’ve heard from intake callers, folks who participated in listening sessions this fall, and people who testified at the interim study hearing and bill hearing. The case for action… Read more →

Happy Birthday, ACA!

Two years ago today, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, representing a significant step toward health care reform. The purpose of the ACA was to make healthcare accessible and affordable for the millions of Americans without health insurance, and many Nebraskans are already benefitting from the reform measures that have gone into effect… Read more →

Nebraska Organizations Urged to Sign SNAP Support Letter to Senators Nelson and Johanns

Every five years, Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill, a comprehensive piece of legislation that includes, among other items, SNAP/Food Stamps. This year, the Farm Bill is up for reauthorization. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senators Nelson and Johanns are key players in the Farm Bill reauthorization effort. As Farm Bill deliberations heat up, we need to demonstrate… Read more →

Educate, Innovate to Compete

It’s March Madness. If your office is anything like Nebraska Appleseed’s, the intense water cooler conversations have begun. Competition can bring out the best in us. It can push us to stretch our boundaries, find new ways to get things done, and do our best. It’s time for Nebraska to educate and innovate to compete. LB 1079 is currently under… Read more →

Youth Share Their Experiences and Perspectives with Senators

During last week’s first round of debate on the package of child welfare bills, Lincoln Senator Bill Avery noticed the apparent absence of the usual lobbyists in the State Capitol’s rotunda.  As noted by Senator Avery, there “are no highly paid lobbyists working on behalf of kids.”  While Nebraska Appleseed, Voices for Children, and some other child advocates were present,… Read more →

Marching Forward in the Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights

Today, Gabrielle Liwaru, Benito Sanchez, Kevin Lytle and I will be joining thousands of others Americans in the historic Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March. It commemorates the 1965 voting rights marches which were a key moment in the civil rights movement and led to the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act. But the 2012 March isn’t only about… Read more →

No Tearful Reunions, No Happy Endings

“When it was over, we all sat there in silence for a moment, shocked by what we had seen, waiting for the happy ending ” said Rebecca Gonzales. Last Wednesday night, Appleseed, along with the NAACP Lincoln Branch, the Ethnic Studies Department of UNL and the UNL Progressive Student Coalition hosted a free screening of Luis Argueta’s film “AbUSed: The Postville Raid” at the Ross Theater. Read more →

Nebraskans Increasingly Experiencing Food Hardship

Nearly one in five Americans and one in seven Nebraskans had difficulty affording food in the last year according to a report, “Food Hardship in America 2011,” released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “It’s concerning that food hardship continues to increase in our state, as does participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Free and… Read more →

A Father’s Perspective on Prenatal Care for All

My name is Brian Schnieder, and I’m part of the ambassador family for the March of Dimes in Omaha, Nebraska.  Seven years ago, my son Jackson was born prior to twenty-five weeks. My wife had a medical condition that was undetected until she was further along in her pregnancy.  He was born weighing one pound, one ounce, and was small… Read more →

Statement on General File Debate on Child Welfare Bills

Rebecca L. Gould, Executive Director of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, issued the following statement today in response to the advancement of a package of five bills to reform the state’s child welfare system: “Today and yesterday, the Nebraska Legislature voted to advance a package of five bills designed to stabilize and reform the state’s… Read more →

Fremont Ordinance: Unconstitutional and Unproductive

The court’s decision Monday to strike down the core of the Fremont immigration enforcement ordinance is no surprise. Every such ordinance with a rental component has been found unconstitutional — but not before creating great cost, division, and sense of loss in the local community. Even though the Fremont ordinance never went into effect, it has torn the community apart.… Read more →

Appleseed Welcomes Amy West as New Child Welfare Policy Coordinator

Amy West wears many different hats. On any given day, she could be sitting in class as a MSW/MPA graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, advocating for a teen in Nebraska’s foster care system as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, or working on a research project with the Nebraska CASA Association through her practicum. Nebraska Appleseed is… Read more →

A Win-Win for Business Growth and Work Experience

Nebraskans have a strong work ethic, and our labor force is one of our most important economic strengths. Nebraska businesses, especially small businesses, rely on our workers to help create economic growth and success. LB 1136 would utilize existing funds to provide employers opportunities to bring on additional employees with time-limited wage subsidies to help their businesses grow. It would… Read more →

Legislation Leads to Higher Education for Parents

Legislation passed by the Nebraska Unicameral in 2009 is opening the doors to higher education for low-income parents, according to a report released today by the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest entitled “Choosing Education.” The report indicates that 13.3% of Nebraska’s cash welfare caseload is currently engaged in education that could lead to an Associates Degree, thanks in… Read more →

LB 1063 Aims to Fill Medicaid Gaps & Help Parents Keep Their Kids

The state’s child welfare system is in great need of reform. A vital piece of ensuring reform is effective is to prevent children from entering the system unnecessarily. LB 1063 is intended to address gaps in Medicaid services for children, which needlessly push children into the system to obtain the mental health services they need. Indeed, LB 1063 makes certain the Medicaid program plays its… 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 →

Strengthen Transparency, Accountability and Oversight of Nebraska’s Child Welfare System

We support LB 1160 because it would establish much needed oversight of what is really happening to children and families in the child welfare system. We fully support that the data collected as part of LB 1160 is targeted to provide accountability in individual cases but also seeks to use the information for ongoing systemic monitoring and improvement. Importantly, LB… Read more →

Address Fiscal Oversight Problems in Nebraska’s Child Welfare System

LB 949 would create a separate budget program for appropriations of funds for child welfare in Nebraska. LB 949 would also require regular financial reporting by the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services to the Legislature’s HHS and Appropriations Committees. We also strongly support that LB 949 would require that the Department’s appropriations request process include a strategic plan… Read more →

Appleseed Welcomes New Intake Coordinator Trisha Thompson

It all began when Trisha Thompson landed an internship here at Nebraska Appleseed. “I started interning on the intake line at Appleseed last summer and pretty much fell in love with it,” said Trisha. After graduating with her B.S. in psychology from Peru State College, Trisha is happy to be officially on board at Appleseed serving as our new Intake… Read more →

Ensure Foster Parents Receive the Resources to Meet Children’s Basic Needs

LB 926 ensures that foster parents in Nebraska will be provided with the resources necessary to meet children’s basic needs.  We thank Sen. Dubas and the other co-sponsors for their commitment to improving the child welfare system and ask that you vote to advance LB 926. [DDET LB 926 Testimony] Senator Kathy Campbell Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Room… Read more →

Appleseed at the Legislature

The 2012 Legislative session is off to a fast and furious start.  We are already a third of the way through this short (60 day) session and Nebraska Appleseed is working on more bills than ever before.  We’d like to highlight some of the key issues we are working on in our programs and give you an opportunity to get… Read more →

An Opportunity for Investment in the Futures of Youth in Foster Care

Yesterday, the HHS Committee held a hearing on LB 1150, a bill, introduced by Senator McGill with input from Project Everlast youth members, that would extend foster care services on a voluntary basis up to age 21 in Nebraska. For years, adolescents aging out of foster care have struggled with the transition into adulthood. Typical 19-year-olds are able to turn… Read more →

Improve Service Delivery and Efficiency in the Department of Health & Human Services

On February 1, the Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on LB 1041 and LB 1016. Both of these bills are intended to address problems with the ACCESS Nebraska system. Appleseed supports both of these bills. LB 1041 would streamline HHS systems to make them more efficient and effective for everyone. LB 1016 would provide resources to community… Read more →

Appleseed Supports the Creation of a Children’s Commission

[DDET LB 821 Testimony] Senator Kathy Campbell Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Room 1402, State Capitol Lincoln, NE 68509 Chairwoman Campbell and members of the Health and Human Services Committee, On behalf of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, I am here to testify in support of LB 821. We support LB 821 because it… Read more →

Help Children Access the Food They Need to Learn & Grow

LB 1090 will help children access the food they need in the summertime to learn and grow.  Providing access to healthy, nutritious foods is important for children’s health.  The Summer Food Service Program provides federally funded meals to sites at nonprofit organizations, schools, and other locations to reach hungry children in the summer when free and reduced price meals are… Read more →

HHS Budget Should Invest in Children and Families

On Monday, Nebraska Appleseed’s Executive Director testified at the Appropriations Committee in response to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services’ appropriation request.  Appleseed believes that DHHS’s budget must invest in and protect low-income children and families’ needs. [DDET Appleseed Testimony] Senator Lavon Heidemann Chair, Appropriations Committee State Capitol, Room 1004 Lincoln, NE 68509 Re: Agency 25, Department of… Read more →

Immigrants and the Child Tax Credit by the Numbers

Denying the Credit to Some American Children Doesn’t Make Sense By Marshall Fitz , Sarah Jane Glynn of The Center for American Progress As the February deadline for Congress to extend the payroll tax holiday through 2012 approaches, members of Congress continue to come up with inhumane and counterproductive ways to offset the loss of tax revenue. Rather than look to the wealthiest citizens… Read more →

Testimony supporting LB957 to Adopt the Office of Inspector General for the Nebraska Child Welfare Act

Senator Kathy Campbell Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Room 1402, State Capitol Lincoln, NE 68509 Chairwoman Campbell and members of the Health and Human Services Committee, On behalf of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, I am here to testify in support of LB 957. We support LB 957 because we believe ongoing oversight and… Read more →

Return Foster Care Case Management to the State

Sarah Helvey, Child Welfare Director at Nebraska Appleseed, testified last Thursday at the Unicameral’s Health & Human Services Committee in support of LB961. The bill would return foster care case management to the State of Nebraska.  Case management is a core government responsibility. While there is a role for private-public partnerships, and for private agencies to provide certain services, the… Read more →

Statement on KVC Contract Amendment & Additional $1.8 MILLION Infusion

Yesterday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that it entered into another contract amendment with KVC on December 24th to infuse an additional $1.8 million into the state’s failing child welfare privatization effort even as the the Legislature’s HHS Committee had just the week before released recommendations to make significant changes to the system, implement oversight, and… Read more →

Thousands March in Alabama

Freedom Riders Meet with DREAMers in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Church [thethe-image-slider name=”IICP Blog 12/22/2011″] Last weekend, thousands came together in Montgomery, Alabama, to protest that state’s notorious immigration enforcement law. Carrying “One Family, One Alabama” and “Not in My America” signs, Civil Rights leaders from across the country and thousands of Alabamians called for the state and country to… Read more →

Legislature’s HHS Committee Releases LR 37 Report and Recommendations on Child Welfare

Yesterday, the HHS Committee of the Legislature released its report as part of LR 37, an interim study investigation of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) child welfare reform and privatization.  Among the 18 recommendations were the following: Return case management to the state by July 1, 2012 Create the Nebraska Department of Children’s Services Create the… 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 →

Waiting for Midnight

“Waiting for Midnight” has nothing to do with Cinderella.  Instead, NBC’s Rock Center recently drew attention to a different kind of “mad dash.”  Hungry families across America are waiting for midnight at the first of the month when funds under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) become available. With our country’s current economic woes, more… Read more →

New Report Shows (Again) Alarming Problems in Detention Facilities

As America continues to call on Congress to bring our immigration system into the 21st century – with workable solutions that uphold our values and move us forward – a new report released today by two Midwest human rights organizations highlights alarming problems in immigrant detention facilities as well. The report, Not Too Late for Reform, authored by the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights… Read more →

It’s That Time of Year…

The holidays are a time of year when our thoughts turn to people who are struggling in our communities.  It’s a time of year when we are not only thinking of the needs of our friends and neighbors, but also of the reasons behind their difficulties, and hoping for a year ahead with new possibilities and opportunities for family success.… Read more →

Thousands Gather for Civil and Human Rights in Alabama

Today thousands of Alabamians are gathering to launch the “One Family, One Alabama” campaign to challenge state lawmakers to repeal the nation’s most vicious anti-immigrant law.  Members of Congress will hear from people whose lives have been damaged by the law. Local leaders and civil rights leaders from around the country will speak at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Numerous… 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 →

Huskers Fighting Hunger

Confronting Food Insecurity in Our Communities Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mariana Chilton, Center for Hunger-Free Communities FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, STUDENTS, STAFF AND FACULTY November 16, 2011 5 PM—7:30 PM Henzlik Hall, Room 124, University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus Millions of Americans experience hunger and food insecurity on a daily basis. Hunger has long-term impacts on child and human… 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 →

The Myth of Chain Migration

Written for and originally Posted at Forbes A common criticism of the U.S. immigration system is it tilts toward family admissions. This criticism rests, in part, on the mistaken notion that any close relations sponsored by U.S. citizens come to America quickly as permanent residents. However the wait times for sponsoring a close family member are long and, in some… Read more →

Build A Stronger Nebraska Together

This summer, I met up with Omaha graphic designer Justin Kemerling of The Match Factory to discuss an idea for an Appleseed art exhibit.  We’ve worked with Justin on a number of Appleseed projects – most recently our Voices from Fremont poster exhibit chronicling how residents witnessed a sense of division, hostility, and suspicion in Fremont since the town passed a restrictive immigration ordinance in 2010.  Justin’s work… Read more →

Step Up for Kids

Do the new census figures reflecting that one child in five in Nebraska struggles with poverty worry you? Have you followed recent child welfare system developments with concern? Do you think that access to prenatal care should be available to all who need it to protect the health of mothers and babies? The newspaper headlines in our state have been… Read more →

Health Insurance Exchange Legislation Must Go Forward

Reports indicate that Governor Heineman has decided that the state should wait to fully implement a state-based exchange until the United States Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is critical that the state pass enabling legislation during the next legislative session to allow the state to create a state-based health… Read more →

Step Up for Kids

Please join representatives from Nebraska Appleseed, A.S.K., Behaven Kids, Boys Town, Building Bright Futures, KVC, NAMI-Nebraska, NASW-Nebraska Chapter, Nebraska Families Collaborative Nebraska Family Support Network, and Voices for Children in Nebraska for the STEP UP FOR KIDS 2011 event. Tuesday, October 11, 2011 3:00-4:00 p.m. North Steps of the State Capitol Special Guest: Tom Osborne In these financially uncertain times, it is… Read more →

Five Facts You Should Know about the U.S. Census Bureau Poverty Data

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data about the economic well-being of our nation and our state.  Here are five facts you should know about poverty in Nebraska: More than one in five children (18.2%) in Nebraska experienced poverty in 2010.  This is 3% higher than 2009. Minorities in Nebraska experience poverty at a disproportionate rate compared to… Read more →

Supreme Court Reinforces Juvenile Court’s Authority to Enforce Orders when HHS Fails to Comply

On Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued a decision that strengthens the authority of juvenile courts in Nebraska to hold HHS in contempt when the Department willfully fails to comply with orders designed to serve the best interests of children.  The case involved an order by the Cheyenne County Court, sitting as a juvenile court, requiring HHS to place a… Read more →

Enough Is Enough

Last week, the State Auditor released a report on the child welfare privatization, which detailed, among other things, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ gross mismanagement and lack of oversight of valuable taxpayer dollars intended for the state’s most vulnerable children.  Appleseed is deeply troubled by the severity of the information in the Auditor’s report.  So much so,… Read more →

Creators of Strong, Vibrant Communities: Karen X. Gómez & Maria Dávila

Nebraska Appleseed is honored to announce that Karen X. Gómez & Maria Dávila of Columbus, Nebraska, will be one of the inaugural recipients of the Roots of Justice Award. Karen and Maria truly embody the vision of this award. Unsung grassroots heroes, these two are quietly working to build important nonprofit infrastructure in rural Nebraska and to do their part to create strong,… Read more →

It’s a SNAP

Have you ever wondered about whether or not you or your clients qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps)? Is your organization a Community Based Partner for ACCESS Nebraska, the new on-line public benefits application, and you are looking for tools and resources? If so, Nebraska Appleseed’s new Guide to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Outreach in… Read more →

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding: FREE Screening

On Thursday, September 1st, the UNL Progressive Student Coalition is excited to partner with Nebraska Appleseed to host a FREE screening of the film “Tony & Janina’s American Wedding.” This film, about a Polish immigrant family, is a feature length documentary that gets to the heart of the broken, red tape ridden U.S. immigration system and provides a fresh perspective… Read more →

Advocates Advance Principles for Governance & Oversight within a Nebraska Health Insurance Exchange

 As a follow-up to a report released in early June, eight Nebraska advocacy organizations representing consumer interests put forward a set of principles concerning governance and oversight within a Nebraska health insurance exchange.  These principles are designed to help guide the conversation that will take place among legislators and state officials in the coming months.The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires… Read more →

Kids Can’t Wait

Recently, state officials and national experts have commented that privatization can take a number of years to see results.  But, as Appleseed and other advocates have said – and this cartoon in Tuesday’s Omaha World Herald points out: children in the system don’t have years to wait. Over the past year and a half since privatization was initiated, the reform… Read more →

Public Assistance Programs DO Matter for Kids and Families

We all know that a lower income means more struggles for families. Families with greater economic resources are not only able to better provide important inputs into their children’s development such as nutritious meals, safe neighborhoods, and higher-quality educations, but higher incomes have also been shown to improve parent’s psychological well-being and parental interactions with children. However, public perceptions remain… Read more →

Organizations Urge a Balanced, Values Based Approach in Federal Budget Negotiations

Nebraska Appleseed joined organizations from across the state Tuesday to urge the President and Nebraska’s federal representatives in Washington to develop a budget that reflects Nebraska values. In a Statement of Principles, Nebraska organizations called on the President and Congress to address the federal deficit while also protecting vulnerable Americans and economic security. It is important that we are speaking… Read more →

New Academic Research Shows Medicaid Good for Nebraskans and People Generally

Economists at Harvard and MIT recently examined the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid coverage under new health reform laws will translate into medical care that people need. The outcome? The results were encouraging, providing evidence that Medicaid does indeed make a very positive impact on the lives of recipients. Medicaid, a federal-state program for low-income and severely disabled… Read more →

An Undocumented Immigrant’s Story

In this powerful story in the The New York Times Magazine, a journalist discusses his life as an undocumented immigrant. His experience shows the talents our country stands to lose by delaying reform of our outdated immigration system. He also describes “a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks… Read more →

The Federal Budget Debate: Nebraska Appleseed’s Perspective

Important discussions have been happening this summer as members of Congress debate how to balance the federal budget and address the national deficit. Many of the deficit reduction proposals would severely affect Nebraska’s most vulnerable populations and have a negative impact on our state’s economy. Several proposals being considered would reduce the deficit by implementing deep spending cuts in public… Read more →

Additional Child Welfare Funding and Restructuring Raises Additional Questions

On Friday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that the state will be providing an additional $5.5 million in the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 and an additional $7.4 million in the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2011 to the state’s faltering child welfare privatization effort.  Also on Friday, KVC, one of the remaining… Read more →

Voices from Fremont Debuts to More Than 300 People

Last Friday, more than 300 people visited a first-look unveiling of the Voices from Fremont art exhibit at The Leekers’ studio at Parrish Studios. The one-night unveiling took place during Lincoln’s monthly First Friday gallery walk. The exhibit highlights Fremont residents’ thoughts and experiences, showing how a local immigration enforcement proposal can devastate a community. Their voices help to document… Read more →

Voices from Fremont: A Civil Rights Project by Nebraska Appleseed

Nebraska Appleseed is proud to unveil a new art exhibit “Voices from Fremont.” The exhibit shares the stories of Fremont residents who have witnessed a growing sense of division, hostility, and suspicion in their community since the city passed a restrictive immigration ordinance in 2010.  Special thanks to designer Justin Kemmerling for his hard work on this project. On the… Read more →

Legislative Bill 465 and Lawful Permanent Residents

In April 2011, the Legislature passed LB 465. This new law changes eligibility for some public benefit programs for certain lawful permanent residents. A lawful permanent resident (LPR) is an immigrant with a green card, who is legally admitted to the U.S. to live and work on a permanent basis. Below is a Q&A to help you understand who is… Read more →

Moratorium Agreement Reached in Child Welfare Reform, But Oversight Legislation Delayed

Yesterday, following a letter from the Governor agreeing to hold off on contracting with a new lead agency to provide child welfare services in the rural areas of the state until June 2012, the Legislature voted to delay consideration of LB 95.  (As a reminder, LB 95 would have placed the moratorium the Governor promised into statute and also would… Read more →

State Fostering Connections Bill Advances

Yesterday, the Legislature voted 40-0 to give first round approval to LB 177, a bill that would place key provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act into state statute.  This bill would strengthen the enforcement and local implementation of requirements to prioritize placement of children in foster care with their siblings when that is not… Read more →

Enforcing Court Orders in the Best Interests of Children

Yesterday, the Nebraska Supreme Court heard arguments in an appeal of a juvenile court’s order holding HHS in contempt for failure to provide counseling services as ordered for a child in an out-of-home placement. In this case, HHS also questioned the authority of juvenile courts to hold HHS responsible for payments by HHS’s lead contractor under the child welfare privatization… Read more →

Proposed Legislative Moratorium on Child Welfare Privatization

On Tuesday, the HHS Committee voted 7-0 to advance LB 95, a bill to require accreditation of lead contractors, with an amendment calling for a moratorium on returning to privatization in the central, northern and western service areas of the state until June 2012.  Essentially, this would prevent the state from contracting with a new agency to replace Boys &… Read more →

Smart Choices, Silver Linings

In good times and in bad, families and communities remain priorities for Nebraska.  The economic downturn has had an impact on state budgets and on family budgets, and our state leaders are facing difficult choices in the 2011 legislative session. In spite of this challenge, several bills that are positive for families are gaining momentum.  These bills help our government… Read more →

A Personal Reflection on Nebraska’s In-State Tuition Law

Alex Gibilisco is a Junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an intern this semester at Nebraska Appleseed.  Alex immigrated with his family to the United States from Guatemala at the age of 10. Alex submitted the following testimony to the Legislature’s Education Committee Monday, February 7 in opposition to LB 657, which would repeal Nebraska’s in-state tuition law. Dear… Read more →

Voices for Children’s Kids Count Report Illuminates Children’s Behavioral Health Needs

Last week, Voices for Children in Nebraska released their 2010 Kids Count in Nebraska report.  This valuable report tracks the status of children in Nebraska using the best available data across several key indicators including educational, social, economic and physical well-being. This year’s Kids Count report includes a special feature on Children’s Behavioral Health in Nebraska. The report estimates that… Read more →

Nebraskans Oppose an Arizona-Style Law, Support Common-Sense Federal Reform

Nearly 500 Nebraskans came to the state Capitol on Thursday, 01/27/2011, to say that Nebraska values do not support an Arizona-style law in this state. Participants and speakers from around the state, representing the League of Nebraska Municipalities, the Methodist Bishop, Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, other faith groups, veterans, the NAACP-Lincoln, the Anti-Defamation League,… Read more →

Opportunity: Points of View

A small business of her own. A chance to coach sports. A college degree. These are just a few of the American Dreams of Nebraskans profiled in “Opportunity: Points of View” a new photography exhibit supported by Nebraska Appleseed. The exhibit reflects the stories of hardworking Nebraskans who have overcome life obstacles, ranging from a young Mom in Ogallala to… Read more →

Jobs Jobs Jobs

Jobs: they’re what’s on everyone’s mind as we work to build economic recovery.  What job opportunities are available in Nebraska?  What jobs are “good jobs”?  What jobs have growth potential?  What jobs pay wages that support families? Our “Nebraska Appleseed’s Top Jobs for Families in 2010: Jobs that Contribute to Economic Recovery and Family Success“ report is intended to contribute… Read more →

Smart Choices in Hard Times

Best practices for addressing state budget shortfalls have been identified by a group of ten nonprofit organizations today in a report entitled “Smart Choices in Hard Times: Best Practices for State Budgets.” “When budgets are tight, families are counting on smart budget choices that protect what matters most.  We have to look at the budget as a whole so that… Read more →

“Next steps” in Child Welfare Reform – But Is This the Right Direction?

On Friday afternoon, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its next steps in the child welfare reform in a press release. These next steps include transferring additional case management responsibilities from the state to the remaining private agencies.  This has and will mean layoffs of a number of state caseworkers.  Yet nowhere in the press release… Read more →

A New Month, A Small Reminder

It’s a new month: October. Fall is officially here bringing with it crisp cool weather and Halloween. But for many Nebraska families, the turn of the calendar page means much more. Public benefits programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) and Aid to Dependent Children (cash welfare) “kick in” at midnight on the first day of… Read more →

Loss of Third Child Welfare Lead Agency Demands State Reconsider Reform

On September 30th, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Boys and Girls Home and HHS have mutually agreed to terminate their contract with the state as one of three remaining lead agencies in the child welfare reform. Boys and Girls Home had the contract for the entire central, northern and western service areas of the… Read more →

Gaps in Children’s Behavioral Health System on Collision Course with Fragile Child Welfare Reform

On September 22, the Legislature’s Children’s Behavioral Health Oversight Committee held a hearing and listened to testimony from parents of children with unmet behavioral health needs. The stories were heartbreaking. Many told of the support they received from peer mentors. However, several of the family organizations that provide this service testified that they may have to close their doors due… Read more →

Nebraska Poverty Rates Better than Nation but Nebraska Families with Children Still Struggle

In spite of poverty rates that show Nebraska faring better than the rest of the nation, data show thousands more Nebraskans are low-income, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009“. One in ten Nebraskans (9.9%) faced poverty in 2009. This is equal to the rate of… Read more →

Smart Choices in Hard Times

Nebraska’s budget should reflect Nebraska’s priorities. This seems like a simple statement, but really, it says quite a lot. It says that Nebraska values of family and community should drive our budget choices, it says that our shared resources should be directed at strengthening our families and workers, and it says that we should invest in opportunities that allow people… Read more →

Economic Independence and Access to Health Care Go Hand-in-Hand

For many years, Nebraska Appleseed has worked to protect access to health care for low-income families in our state. We continued to strive towards this goal recently in the Nebraska Supreme Court, by representing a class of over 400 low-income families that had lost Medicaid health care coverage. In the case of Davio v. Nebraska Department of Health and Human… Read more →

Our Friends and Neighbors

What does the economic downturn and emerging recovery mean to Nebraskans? Specifically, what does it mean to our friends and neighbors, the folks we sit next to at church or PTA meetings at the high school track meet? Over the past few years, we’ve heard multiple answers to those questions. We hear that times are getting better and that times… Read more →

Healthy Babies or Politics?

Monday, March 1st was not a good day for Nebraska.  On Monday, over 1,500 women and their unborn children lost their access to prenatal care.  For decades Nebraska has been a state that prioritized the health of the mothers and babies in this state.  On Monday, the Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services decided that wasn’t important… Read more →

Kitchen Tables

I love Thanksgiving.  My Dad (my favorite farmer) cooks for us, and this year, I have not one but two beautiful nieces to giggle with at the table.  This is what valuing family means to me.  I am grateful for a good meal, for family, and even for the baby drool and stuffing that will inevitably end up on my… Read more →

Thousands of Families Call for Immigration Reform

I just returned from an inspiring march on Washington, D.C., where thousands of families gathered on Tuesday to call for action to fix our broken immigration system. At the event, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) – who earlier this year hosted a Families United interfaith tour to help educate members of Congress about the effect of the current system on families… Read more →