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The annual amount of federal foster care funds received by States ranges from $4,155 to $33,091 per eligible child.
Nebraska CPS News Archive
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Foster parents who starved child sentenced to 5-10 years in jail
Megan Finlan and Stephen Bauer, foster parents who admitted to withholding food from an 8-year-old boy as punishment, were sentenced to 5-10 years in jail after pleading no contest to five counts of negligent child abuse in July.
The boy, Camron, weighed as little as 32 pounds at age 8 and he in November of 2015, staff at Florence Elementary reported that he was underweight. The boy would also eat food out of the trash at school.
September 16, 2017
Woman posing as Child Protective Services Worker in Omaha
Department of Health and Human Services are investigating four reports of a woman posing as a child protective services employee in Omaha trying to get into homes in the last two weeks. A fifth incident was reported in Holdrege.
The woman was not given permission to enter the homes after she was unable to provide identification. She stated she wanted to talk to the parent. "Incidents of people posing as DHHS employees are a serious concern," said CEO Courtney Phillips. "All DHHS employees carry a state-issued, DHHS photo identification badge and can provide a name and number to call to verify their employment."
August 22, 2017
Nebraska is failing children depending on it for survival
An in-depth analysis of Nebraska's child welfare system released Wednesday shows that despite increased funding and regulatory changes during the past few years, there was an increase between January 2013 and June 2015 in cases of children in the system.
Children are not being served adequately because of large caseloads for state employees. Again and again, we are hearing of state facilities and departments that aren't measuring up because of a lack of adequate staffing.
September 19, 2016
Editorial: Child welfare workers face big duties, big consequences
How difficult but important is the job of Nebraska case workers helping children in crisis? A new report from Julie Rogers, the state inspector general for child welfare, provides a sobering example.
Nebraska child welfare workers, the report says, need to be better trained to study the bodies of babies for signs of abuse. The workers need to understand how to look not only for major bruises but also for more subtle visible signs that can indicate an infant is suffering from physical trauma.
September 16, 2016
Sponsor pulls faith-based foster care bill, says 'not about discrimination' against LGBT people
by Zach Pluhacek
A Seward lawmaker has tabled his measure aimed at protecting faith-based foster care agencies from losing state funding if they decline to work with same-sex couples.
Sen. Mark Kolterman said the bill's intent was not to encourage or enable discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nebraska but to keep faith-based agencies from going out of business to the detriment of 5,600 children in the foster care system.
April 2, 2016
The Public Pulse: Feb. 22: Not everybody loved Reagan
I am a big supporter of funding our military, but I just have to weigh in on the potential $7.5 million design contract for runway improvement at Offutt Air Force Base ("Committed to redoing Offutt runway," Feb. 17 World-Herald).
I want my representatives to support the runway improvement, but let's get real about the costs. Using mid-level engineers, each earning $75,000 per year, you could support 100 people for a whole year with that $7.5 million contract.
February 21, 2016
Parents of special needs boy charged with child abuse
Prosecutors have charged the Omaha parents of an 8-year-old special needs boy with child abuse, saying the boy was malnourished and bruised, and that his teeth appeared to be nearly disintegrated.
Stephen Bauer, 37, and his 32-year-old wife, Megan Finlan, were each charged Friday with two counts of child abuse causing serious bodily injury. Bauer has been suspended from his job as program director for the Nebraska Family Support Network, which helps children and families affected by mental and behavioral health problems.
November 15, 2015
Public records lawsuit may stir debate on government transparency
by Joe Duggan
A judge may soon have to decide whether Nebraska's public records law can be used to shine light on the internal workings of the judicial branch.
A recent lawsuit over documents related to judicial training has the potential to springboard into the broader issue of government transparency, said Omaha attorney Steve Grasz, who represents the Lincoln doctor who brought the lawsuit.
July 7, 2015
State audit: Child welfare system problems took toll on taxpayers
by Martha Stoddard
Poor financial oversight of Nebraska's child welfare services meant higher costs for state taxpayers last year, according to an audit released Friday.
HHS did not seek federal reimbursement for $2.2 million worth of foster care costs, leaving state taxpayers to pick up the tab. The services were provided in the Omaha area by the Nebraska Families Collaborative, a private agency.
September 21, 2014
Child-Welfare Expert Gets Fine for Indecent Exposure Incident
A child-welfare expert who was accused of exposing himself to some girls at a Lincoln hotel has made a deal with prosecutors.
Online court records say 68-year-old Steven Preister, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and was fined $500. Prosecutors dropped a charge of public nudity in exchange for Preister's plea late last month.
July 31, 2014
Opponents Try to Derail Mountain Lion Bill
A proposal to eliminate Nebraska's mountain lion hunting season has hit a snag in the Legislature.
Opponents mounted a filibuster on Thursday to try to block the legislation before lawmakers could grant final approval. The bill has already advanced through two previous votes. Lawmakers moved on to other measures without voting, but are expected to return to it later.
March 21, 2014
Wanted: Stability for children in foster care
by Martha Stoddard
Nearly 1,500 Nebraska foster children have been removed from their families more than once, according to a new report.
The Nebraska Foster Care Review Office issued the report Friday while calling for efforts to address the causes of multiple removals and find ways to promote long-term stability for children. The report said that of the 3,784 children in out-of-home care on July 29, 1,478 children, or 39 percent, had been in out-of-home care at least one other time. Three had been removed as many as nine times.
September 21, 2013
New chiropractor takes over at Absolute Health Chiropractic
by Dave Sjuts
Fremont native Dr. Marcus Paulson has taken over the practice at Absolute Health Chiropractic located at 216 East 7th Street, York. After finishing with a few classes at Midland University in Fremont, he then was accepted and attended the Palmer College.
Dr. Paulson will provide general chiropractic services here in the York and says he has a lot of experience with sports injuries. "I really like working with kids also," he stated. "I did a mission trip to India where we saw hundreds of kids. It's something I enjoy doing."
July 2, 2013
Nebraska child welfare system stabilizing
Nebraska's efforts to reform its child welfare system are stabilizing, but the state continues to handle most cases and challenges remain.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports the Department of Health and Human Services recently agreed to a new contract with the Nebraska Families Collaborative in Omaha. Under the new deal, Nebraska Families Collaborative will receive $350,000 more each year. That should help it break even while handling 40 percent of the child welfare cases in the state.
June 30, 2013
Liberty man arrested for sexually assaulting children
Gage County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Liberty man Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting four girls over an eight-year period.
Timothy L. Erks, 18, was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with two counts first degree sexual assault of a child and two counts third degree sexual assault of a child. According to a probable cause affidavit, the Gage County Sheriff's Office began investigating multiple allegations of sexual assaults against Erks on May 17.
June 28, 2013
Neb. session yields expansion of child services
by Grant Schulte
Nebraska lawmakers are gearing up to finish a session that has focused largely on children, including those in foster care, the criminal justice system and juveniles who need psychiatric treatment.
Legislation passed this year will attempt to make it easier to place foster children with friends or relatives, and to protect minors who fall victim to human trafficking. Lawmakers have passed a bill that would expand child care subsidies for low-income families. Still another measure would extend the age in which former state wards can receive housing assistance.
June 2, 2013
The Science of Food: Non-GMO Farming
by Nataly Tavidian
Some people praise genetic advancement for giving farmers the opportunity to feed a growing world like never before, but not all farmers want to adopt the technology. Instead some producers are seeing a growing demand for naturally grown foods.
While conventional farmers use a variety of advances, 26th Street Farms in Hastings produces diversified vegetables with no use of technology. The farmers say they always have to keep a close watch on their product. Jim Knopik farms on 480 acres and said the demand for non-GMO foods really boomed in the last five to six years. Meanwhile 26th Street Farms only needs one-and-a-half acres.
May 14, 2013
Bill to lure more federal foster care money passes 1st-round test
by Martha Stoddard
Lawmakers gave first-round approval Tuesday to a bill that could allow the state to pull in more federal foster care funds.
Legislative Bill 269 addresses several recommendations made to increase Nebraska's success in qualifying for the funds, which go to states to help with the cost of foster care services for children from low-income families. Nebraska receives about $19.4 million worth of federal foster care funds annually.
April 10, 2013
Whole Foods Finally Has a Real Competitor
by Marc Courtenay
Frankly, I seldom shop WFM. The main reason is because there's a locally owned and operated business in my community that sells only natural and organic food and other supplies.
NGVC was built on the premise that consumers should have access to affordable, high-quality foods and dietary supplements, with nutritional guidance to help them support their own health. The family-run store has grown into a successful national chain with locations across Colorado, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, Montana, Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Arizona and Oregon. Altogether, the company has 1,800 employees.
April 8, 2013
Committee: Keep Omaha child welfare contractor as pilot
by JoAnne Young
A legislative committee has recommended that the child welfare contractor in the Omaha area -- the last one left after privatization of child welfare failed statewide -- continue as a pilot project.
A letter from Sen. Kathy Campbell, chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee, said that at this time the committee recommends the lead agency pilot with Nebraska Families Collaborative continue after April 1. The committee has requested more information and may provide additional recommendations after reviewing it, she said.
March 30, 2013
World-Herald editorial: Welcome idea can help child welfare
Nebraska has seen a lot of turmoil in its child welfare system, yet one thing lamentably has remained unchanged: The state continues to remove a high percentage of children out of troubled homes.
Nebraska has seen a lot of turmoil in its child welfare system, yet one thing lamentably has remained unchanged: The state continues to remove a high percentage of children out of troubled homes. Consider the numbers. In 59 percent of Nebraska child welfare cases, the state Foster Care Office reports, the reason for removal isn't physical abuse; it's a failure to provide for the child's needs, whether physical, educational, medical or emotional. (Physical abuse was the reason last year for removal in 19 percent of cases.)
March 24, 2013
Child Saving Institute Helping To Find Care For Teenage Foster Children
There are a lot of children in the metro who are in need of a home and a loving family. It's not just toddlers and small children. There's a real need to adopt and mentor teenagers who are quickly aging out of the foster care system.
The 16-year-old is being featured in the Child Saving Institute's Heart Gallery. It's a site that features children who are waiting for adoption, photographed by a professional photographer. Merrill, along with many others are hoping to one day find a forever family. She has several years before she ages out of the foster system, but that's not the case for everyone.
December 3, 2012
Plea to Nebraskans: Adopt more foster kids
by Martha Stoddard
Gov. Dave Heineman and state official Thomas Pristow join an adoptive foster family to make the public appeal.
Heineman thanked the parents who have opened their hearts and homes to adopt foster children. But more such parents are needed, he said. More than 400 children in the child welfare system lack a permanent home or family.
November 8, 2012
Neb. lawmakers set hearing on foster care
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers have scheduled a hearing on children who "age out" of the state's foster care system.
The Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee will hear testimony Thursday about the services that are available for youths who leave the system because of their age. Lawmakers are looking for ways to fill gaps in the service.
October 22, 2012
Omaha schoolgirl dresses as a different historical figure each day
by Erin Grace
This is how Stella Ehrhart, age 8, decides what to wear for school. She opens her closet. She opens her book, "100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century." And she opens her mind.
The Dundee Elementary School third-grader comes to school dressed as a different historical figure or character - Every. Single. Day. And she's done that since the second day of second grade, when this all started.
October 17, 2012
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Jacked Up: No Where To Turn
by Annette Hall
Most states have safe haven laws on the books, permitting a new parent to drop off an infant at a local fire department or hospital without repercussions. This is a laudable service that I am certain has had a positive impact on more than one infants life over the years.
May 15, 2010