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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts and First Lady Shore Launch New Child Welfare Initiative

Media Contacts:

Luke Robson, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1967   

Brenda Weyers, Children and Families Foundation, 402-476-9401  



Bring Up Nebraska will support locally-led collaboratives to improve outcomes for Nebraska’s most vulnerable families and children.


LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore, along with several other community leaders from across the state, officially launched Bring Up Nebraska.  Bring Up Nebraska is a statewide effort to give local communities the ability to develop long-term plans using the latest strategies to prevent life’s challenges from becoming a crisis for vulnerable Nebraska families and children.


“Nebraska is the best place in the world because of its hard-working people and strong communities,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Bring Up Nebraska is a great example of people, institutions, and voluntary organizations coming together to help their neighbors and our most vulnerable Nebraskans.  By focusing on prevention, many families can avoid potential crises and overcome challenges.  Local communities are best situated to understand their own strengths, and Bring Up Nebraska leverages those resources to help Nebraska families in need.”


First Lady Susanne Shore went on to say, “We need to look at any child in need as one of our own, and not as the state’s responsibility or Washington’s concern but one of our own kids.  These are Nebraska’s kids.  And we need to be the solution.  I want Nebraska’s local community approach to be a model for other states to follow when it comes to preventing problems from becoming a crisis for vulnerable families and children.”



The children and families behind the numbers demonstrate the need for the new initiative launched today:


  • 5,004 Nebraska children/youth were in out-of-home care on 3/31/2017 – This represents both children/youth in the care and custody of DHHS and youth on probation.  This is roughly equivalent to all the high school graduates in Lancaster and Sarpy Counties for the 2014-2015 school year.
  • 46% of state wards ages 0-5 have at least one parent who was also a state ward.


With the assistance of prevention partners already involved in the Bring Up Nebraska effort, 11 locally-led collaboratives are addressing the needs of many families:


  • Dakota County Connections
  • Douglas County
  • Families 1st Partnership (Lincoln County, Ogallala)
  • Fremont Family Coalition (Dodge and Washington Counties)
  • Hall County Community Collaborative (H3C) - (Hall, Howard, Valley, Sherman, Greeley Counties)
  • Lancaster County
  • Lift Up Sarpy
  • Norfolk Family Coalition
  • Panhandle Partnership (Sioux, Dawes, Sheridan, Deuel, Kimball, Cheyenne, Box Butte, Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Garden, and Banner Counties)
  • Zero 2 Eight Collaborative (Platte and Colfax Counties)
  • York County Health Coalition


The collaboratives were created to:


  • Understand the resources available in their local communities as well as the gaps and overlaps that may exist.
  • Develop long-term plans that create a network of partners working together to coordinate services for families in need.
  • Assess their community’s needs, strengths, and issues using the latest strategies, data, and evidence to help make appropriate decisions and implement solutions.


“Bring Up Nebraska is a statewide effort to really shine a light on the need for prevention while bringing more support to communities and letting communities lead their local prevention efforts,” said Jennifer Skala, Senior VP at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation.


From the community perspective, Erin Sams of the York County Health Coalition had this to say: “We come together to impact relationships – how people interact with each other between programs, organizations, and families so that we have a greater impact on the community at large.”


More communities are expected to join the Bring Up Nebraska effort in the months to come.  If you would like to start a collaboration or join the effort taking place in your community, please visit

Gov. Ricketts and First Lady Shore Launch New Child Welfare Initiative