Welfare initiative ‘Bring Up Nebraska’ aims to expand

NORFOLK- Locals gathered in one Nebraska city on Wednesday night to learn more about a statewide initiative.

Bring Up Nebraska is a statewide effort to give local communities the ability to develop long-term plans by helping to reduce entry into the child welfare system and other higher-end systems of care (behavioral health, juvenile justice, etc.)

One of the founders of Bring Up Nebraska is Governor Rickett’s wife, Susanne Shore, who is an advocate for children and families. She has worked in child welfare both professionally and as a volunteer for over 18 years.

She spoke at an event held for business professionals and community leaders at U.S. Bank in downtown Norfolk.

Bring Up Nebraska is administered by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation of Lincoln. The Norfolk Family Coalition is a partner of the foundation.

The goal of those attending was to learn more about the program and how to become involved in prevention efforts across Madison County.

Norfolk Public Schools Director of Human Resources and Accreditation Mike Hart, who has been a part of the coalition from the start said, “together when we’re working to understand perspective, we can offer a collective hand-up, and these collaboration efforts make all the difference in the world in building a brighter future family story for these communities. It helps students not just survive, but to thrive.”

First Lady Susanne Shore went on to say, “we need to look at any child in need as one of our own, we need to be the solution”. Shore was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) and explains that she saw how the system worked “and felt like we could do things better.”

Norfolk Family Coalition Coordinator Leonor Fuhrer, says everything they do is data-driven, ” We assess their community’s needs, strengths, and issues using the latest strategies, data, and evidence to help make appropriate decisions and implement solutions.

Fuhrer adds that anyone can be a resource to a family.

Some of the partners in the collaborative include schools, police, hospitals, homeless shelters, private sectors, clinics, and individuals.

The effort is underway in 11 communities, and more communities are expected to join the Bring Up Nebraska effort which will not only prevent life’s challenges from becoming a crisis but also strengthen families throughout the state.