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).
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.
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.