How to make Nebraska giving days work for you

May is a big month for nonprofits in Nebraska. This month, both Omaha and Lincoln hold their annual community giving days!

These events were made popular nationwide about 5 years ago. Usually run by the local community foundation, community giving days encourage donors to give online in a specific 24-hour period. If they do, their donation will be matched with funds raised by the community foundation.  It’s a good deal all around because:

  • Nonprofits get to promote themselves to new donors
  • Donors get to amplify their gift with matching funds
  • Excitement around philanthropy is generated for the whole community

Nebraska Children will be participating in both Give to Lincoln Day and Omaha Gives. If you’re planning to join the philanthropic fun, here’s a complete guide on how to maximize your gift.


Omaha Gives! May 20, 2015

Omaha Gives is scheduled to kick off on 12 am on May 20th and run through 11:59 that night. The Omaha Community Foundation has raised $350,000 in “bonus dollars” that will be used to amplify individual gifts. This is NOT a dollar-for-dollar match. The bonus dollars will be given to organizations based on what percentage of total dollars they’ve raised.

For example, if donors like you give $1 million all day during Omaha Gives, and Nebraska Children gifts account for $10,000 of that, we will have raised 1% of the total. That means we’d get 1% of the bonus dollars – so $3,500. Not bad!

Extra bonus dollars!

Thanks to two of our most fervent supporters, NAME 1 and NAME 2, Nebraska Children has raised $20,000 in extra bonus dollars. That means for every $100 raised for us through Omaha Gives, NAME1 and NAME2 will kick in an extra $500. Amazing! 

The rules:

  • Omaha Gives donations must be made online in order to be eligible for the match
  • If you have a charitable giving account at the Omaha Community Foundation, they’ve made using that as a payment option when you’re giving online
  • Donations up to $10,000 will be eligible for the match
  • Each hour we receive a donation, we’ll be eligible for special hourly prizes of $1,000
  • Nonprofits bringing in the most individual contributions will have 45 chance to win participation prizes ranging from $1,000-$3,000
  • You can schedule your donation ahead of time STARTING TODAY so you don’t have to worry about forgetting on May 20.

Schedule your gift now at OmahaGives!


Give to Lincoln Day, May 28, 2015

Give to Lincoln Day is scheduled to kickoff at midnight on May 28 and run through 11:59 that evening.  The Lincoln Community Foundation has raised $300,000 in matching funds, and these work just like Omaha’s matching funds – whatever percentage of the total funds raised your nonprofit accounts for, that’s the percentage of matching funds they’ll receive.

At 5 pm on Give to Lincoln Day, we’ll be gathering in the Community Foundation Garden on N Street, just west of Centennial Mall to enjoy some live music, snacks and celebration. Please join us!

The rules:

  • Give to Lincoln Day donations may be made online or in person at the Lincoln Community Foundation, 215 Centennial Mall South. In person donation must be during between 8 am and 5 pm on Thursday, May 28th. Checks must be made out to the Lincoln Community Foundation with “Nebraska Children and Families” written in the memo area
  • Donations up to $10,000 will be eligible for the match
  • Each hour we receive a donation, we’ll be eligible for special hourly prizes of $300
  • You can schedule your donation ahead of time STARTING TODAY so you don’t have to worry about forgetting on May 28.

Schedule your Give to Lincoln Day donation now!

Protective Factor #2: How Parents can learn more about child development

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs” are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, and even the best parents make mistakes and are unsure they’re always doing the right thing.

The truth is that raising people to be the best they can be is hard work. And it SHOULD be hard. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty your community can do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty that you can do to support yourself.

Protective Factors

Protective Factors are attributes in families that increase health and well-being. All families have protective factors. You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer against risk factors are are even more important in predicting positive outcomes for children.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors. When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent, and build healthy family relationships.

Protective Factor #2: Knowledge of parenting and child development

Being a parent is part natural and part learned. Having a good understanding of how kids develop makes it easier to react positively to tougher stages – like tantrums and defiance. Informed parents are more likely to have realistic expectations, provide appropriate guidance, and build a positive relationship with their kids.

What knowledge of parenting and child development look like

  • Knowing the basics of what to expect at each stage of your child’s development
  • Matching your expectations to fit your child’s stage of development
  • Creating a supportive environment for each stage of your child’s development
  • Managing child behavior through positive discipline techniques
  • Recognizing and responding to your child’s specific needs

Tips for knowledge of parenting and child development

  • Ask your family doctor, child care teacher, family or friends about parenting or stages of child development
  • Recognize that parenting our children like we were parented may come naturally but may not be what we want to repeat
  • Take time to sit and observe what your child can and cannot do
  • Share what you have learned with anyone who cares for your child


Watch the following video on how a child’s brain develops in the early years.

Child development resources:

Getting your arms around some basic parenting is also extremely valuable. There’s no avoiding it – sometimes your child’s behavior will push you to the limit. When you have strategies to deal with typical (but frustrating) childhood behaviors, you’ll be in a better position to react in a way that builds your child up.

Parenting technique resources:

For more information on Protective Factors, download the eBook now:


Protective Factor #1: How parents can build nurturing and attachment

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs”
are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well
that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, where even the best
parents make mistakes and are sometimes unsure that they’re doing the
right thing.

The truth is raising people to be the best that they can be should be hard
work. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and
as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty that your community can
do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty
that you can do to support yourself.

Protective Factors are attributes in people and families that increase health
and well-being. All families have Protective Factors.

You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer
against risk factors and are even more important in the probability of
positive outcomes.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors.
When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without
thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the
Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best
ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent and build healthy family

Think of the Protective Factors as layers of insulation between your family
and the stress of the world. The more layers you have, the better the buffer
for you and your kids. Each of the Protective Factors has been proven to
support positive parenting—meaning happier kids and parents.

Nurturing and attachment means developing a pattern of positive
interactions with your kids over time. Juggling the demands of work, home
and other responsibilities leaves many parents feeling like they do not have
nearly enough time with their children. But even small acts of kindness,
protection and caring—a hugs, a smile or loving words—make a big
difference to children.

What nurturing and attachment look like:

  • Recognizing that your child’s feelings and dignity matter
  • Knowing that even when children are small, they have their own
    personalities, needs and ways of looking at things and need your
    understanding and respect
  • Knowing what you have in common with each of your children and
    knowing how each of your children are different from you and from each
  • Listening ‘on purpose’ instead of only talking to your child or giving
  • Lightening up and enjoying life and knowing what makes your child

Tips for nurturing and attachment:

  • Spend time with each child and as a family whenever you can. Find
    activities you enjoy doing together.
  • Commit to responding, instead of just reacting, to challenges from your
    child. Exercising the self-discipline and self-control we want our children
    to have begins with our own behavior. It requires practice!
  • Why? How? What? Then allow space for your child to find his/her ownanswers.
  • Think about your best memories of family time and recreate those with
    your children or create new memories in time spent together.

Here are some different ways to bond with your child through different stages:

Bonding with babies (Birth to 12 months)

Even when your child is too young to understand you, talk to him. Make eye contact, smile and make exaggerated faces as you converse. He’ll soon start to return the conversation with coos and happy shrieks. Hold your baby as often as you can. Rock her to sleep and cuddle during the daytime.

Toddler time (1-3 years)
Between 1 and 3 years, toddlers want your attention more than anything.
Give it to them! Reward their good behaviors—playing quietly, sharing
with a sibling, being gentle with a pet, eating their food—with praise and
attention. This will give your toddler the attention they crave and strengthen
the bond between you.

Your toddler will start moving farther and farther away from you as she
explores her world. When she comes back, reward her with your attention
and let her know that she’s safe and that you’re proud of her for exploring.
Holding and snuggling are still great ways to bond at this age.

Preschool play (3-4 years)
Connect with your more independent 3 and 4-year olds by playing with
them. Hide and seek, tag and backyard races are great for active games. For
quieter moments, play pretend with dinosaurs and dolls, build a blanket fort
or create something with blocks.

Your preschooler loves snuggling, leaning against you and hearing a story—
sometimes the same one over and over!

Because you’re such a great playmate, your preschooler will test the
boundaries and make sure you’re still in charge. When your child challenges
you, and you hold firm to your boundaries, you reinforce the fact that he is
safe and protected with you. It strengthens the bond!
School-age exploration (5-6 years)
Your child is starting kindergarten, getting involved in sports and activities,
and becoming more involved in life outside your home at this age. She’ll be
discovering new things and wanting to tell you about them.

Encourage her to talk about what she’s learning in school with very specific
questions. Instead of “How was school?” ask “What did you work on at your
math station?” or “Tell me about this art project that was in your bag?”
Giving your child a concrete question will elicit better answers.

Listen when your child is talking, and you’ll learn about some of the things
that really interest him. Aside from just helping with homework, enjoy time
doing the things that interest your child. He’ll know that you’re important to
him, and you’ll get the joy of watching his face light up because he’s doing
something he really likes.

What are Protective Factors?

We’ve all heard of risk factors that contribute to problems within families.
Protective Factors are the positive counterpoint to risk factors. Protective
Factors help families stay safe, healthy and strong.

According to national research, when multiple risk factors are present in a family,
there’s a greater likelihood of negative outcomes, including delayed
development and child maltreatment. But when multiple Protective Factors
enter the picture, we see a greater probability of positive outcomes for
children, families and communities.

Protective Factors are critical for all children, youth, families and
communities. They are the difference between families and communities
that not only survive, but thrive. Each of us has a role to play to help
strengthen Protective Factors in our community and the families around us. is dedicated to helping visitors discover basic
characteristics and resources all families need to thrive and what you can
do to develop as a parent, caregiver, teacher, service provider or other
community member.
Research shows that babies who received affection and nurturing from their
parents have the best chance of developing into children, teens and adults
who are happy, healthy and have relational, self-regulation and problemsolving
skills. Research also shows that a consistent relationship with caring
adults in the early years of life is associated with better grades, healthier
behaviors, more positive peer interactions and increased ability to cope with
stress later in life.
As children grow, nurturing by parents and other caregivers remains
important for healthy physical and emotional development. Parents nurture
their older children by making time to listen to them, being involved and
interested in the child’s school and other activities, staying aware of the
child or teen’s interests and friends, and being willing to advocate for the
child when necessary.
Parents who understand the usual course of child development are more
likely to be able to provide their children with respectful communication,
consistent rules and expectations, developmentally appropriate limits and
opportunities that promote independence. But no parent can be an expert
on all aspects of infant, child and teenage development or on the most
effective ways to support a child at each stage. When parents are not aware
of normal developmental milestones, interpret their child’s behaviors in a
negative way or do not know how to respond to and effectively manage
a child’s behavior, they can become frustrated and may resort to harsh

As children grow, parents need to continue to foster their parenting
competencies by learning about and responding to children’s emerging
needs. Information about child development and parenting may come
from many sources, including extended families, cultural practices, media,
formal parent education classes or a positive school environment that
supports parents. Interacting with other children of similar ages also helps
parents better understand their own child. Observing other caregivers
who use positive techniques for managing children’s behavior provides an
opportunity for parents to learn healthy alternatives.

Parenting styles need to be adjusted for each child’s unique temperament
and circumstances. Parents of children with special needs may benefit
from additional coaching and support to reduce frustration and help them
become the parents their children need.

Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well as an
occasional crisis, have resilience—the flexibility and inner strength to
bounce back when things are not going well. Parents with resilience also
know how to seek help in times of trouble. Their ability to deal with life’s ups
and downs serves as a model of coping behavior for their children. This can
help children learn critical self-regulation and problem-solving skills.
Multiple life stressors, such as a family history of abuse or neglect, physical
and mental health problems, marital conflict, substance abuse and domestic
or community violence—and financial stressors such as unemployment,
financial insecurity and homelessness—can reduce a parent’s capacity to
cope effectively with the typical day-to-day stresses of raising children.
Conversely, community-level protective factors—such as a positive
community environment and economic opportunities—enhance
parental resilience.

All parents have inner strengths or resources that can serve as a foundation
for building their resilience. These may include faith, flexibility, humor,
communication skills, problem-solving skills, mutually supportive caring
relationships or the ability to identify and access outside resources and
services when needed. All of these qualities strengthen their capacity to
parent effectively, and they can be nurtured and developed through skillbuilding
activities or through supportive interactions with others.
Parents with a network of emotionally supportive friends, family and
neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves.
Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need
a sympathetic listener, advice or concrete support such as transportation or
occasional child care. In other words, a positive community environment—
and the parent’s ability to participate effectively in his or her community—is
an important protective factor. On the other hand, research has shown that
parents who are isolated and have few social connections are at higher risk
for child abuse and neglect.

Social connections support children in multiple ways. A parent’s positive
relationships give children access to other caring adults, a relationship-level
protective factor that may include extended family members, mentors or
other members of the family’s community. Parents’ social interactions also
model important relational skills for children and increase the likelihood that
children will benefit from involvement in positive activities (individual-level
factors). As children grow older, positive friendships and support from peers
provide another important source of social connection.

Being new to a community, recently divorced or a first-time parent makes
a support network even more important. It may require extra effort for
these families to build the new relationships they need. Some parents
may need to develop self-confidence and social skills to expand their
social networks. In the meantime, social connections can come from other
caring adults such as service providers, teachers or advocates. Helping
parents identify resources and/or providing opportunities for them to make
connections within their neighborhoods or communities may encourage
isolated parents to reach out. Often, opportunities exist within faith-based
organizations, schools, hospitals, community centers and other places where
support groups or social groups meet.

Families whose basic needs (food, clothing, housing and transportation)
are met have more time and energy to devote to their children’s safety and
well-being. When parents do not have steady financial resources, lack a stable
living situation, lack health insurance or face a family crisis (such as a natural
disaster or the incarceration of a parent), their ability to support their children’s
healthy development may be at risk. Families whose economic opportunities
are limited may need assistance connecting to social service supports such as
housing, alcohol and drug treatment, domestic violence counseling or public

Partnering with parents to identify and access resources may help prevent
the stress that sometimes precipitates child maltreatment. Offering concrete
supports also may help prevent the unintended neglect that sometimes
occurs when parents are unable to provide for their children.

Children’s emerging ability to form bonds and interact positively with
others, self-regulate their emotions and behavior, communicate their
feelings, and solve problems effectively has a positive impact on their
relationships with their family, other adults and peers. Parents and caregivers
grow more responsive to children’s needs—and less likely to feel stressed
or frustrated—as children learn to tell parents what they need and how
parental actions make them feel, rather than “acting out” difficult feelings.

On the other hand, children’s challenging behaviors or delays in socialemotional
development create extra stress for families. Parenting is
more challenging when children do not or cannot respond positively to
their parents’ nurturing and affection. These children may be at greater
risk for abuse. Identifying and working with children early to keep their
development on track helps keep them safe and helps their parents
facilitate their healthy development.

The state of child maltreatment in Nebraska

Child abuse and neglect in Nebraska doesn’t just affect the child. The long-term effects follow a child into adulthood, leading to long-term health problems, emotional issues and increased risks for drug use and other high-risk behaviors.


It is important to note that these numbers only include maltreatment cases that were reported. The actual incidence of maltreatment may be higher than what is reported here.

Source: Voices for Children “Kids Count in Nebraska Report” based on data
from Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Types of substantiated maltreatment

child maltreatment by age

Into the system

When a child is removed from the home because of abuse and enters the child welfare system, that child is set on a path toward negative outcomes that is costly to the community and to the state.

INto the system


Common ACES in Nebraska also include verbal abuse and household mental illness. Source: Nebraska DHHS, Office of Epidemiology, 2012

What does it all mean?

One of the things you may have noticed when reviewing the data is that the vast
majority of substantiated maltreatment claims are for physical neglect. Some of the ways that physical neglect are described by Nebraska state law is as an action that causes a child to be “deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter or care” or “placed in a situation that endangers his or her life or physical or mental health.”

Homelessness and transiency. The loss of utilities in the home. Mental illness of parents. Food insecurity. All of these things may be examples of physical neglect. And for many cases like these, a proactive response of wrapping the family in services to bolster their Protective Factors, may be an appropriate course of action.

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation has been working with communities across the state to develop community-owned Prevention Systems. These systems empower community service providers to proactively work with families at risk to help make sure they’re buffered with the Protective Factors that all families need.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is testing “alternative
response” strategies that focus more on strengthening family situations instead of unnecessarily removing a child from the home.

These are positive strides toward a Nebraska where every family has what it needs to raise strong, stable children.

Find out more. Download the eBook about Protective Factors at Work.


2nd Annual Pinwheels for Prevention Picnic


Let’s celebrate positive parenting and close out Child Abuse Awareness Month with the 2nd Annual Pinwheels for Prevention Picnic.

Saturday, April 25

11 am-2 pm

The Railyard | Lincoln’s Haymarket

Join us for family-friendly music and fun with the String Beans, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, cotton candy, snacks, and giveaways. Homer from the Lincoln Saltdogs will even be there to say hi. And it’s all FREE!

Food will be provided by Runza, Raising Cane’s, Jimmy John’s, Buffalo Wings and Rings and Vega. This event is open to all families.

ELO Success in Chadron

Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are expanding horizons for students in Chadron. The afterschool and summer learning programs tap the community’s business, university and extension learning resources to enrich student experiences and improve classroom performance.