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Family Advocacy Movement Conference

On October 3rd I attended a Family Advocacy Movement Conference at UNO sponsored by parents of children with mental illness.

One of the challenges discussed was that Nebraska spends dollars on foster care at a rate of more than 60% above the national average. Instead of taking a child with mental illness away from the family and spending the dollars on unnecessary foster placement, Nebraska could (in most instances) leave the child in their own home while providing the family with the extra help needed for that child.

One speaker at the conference stated that Nebraska has twice the number of foster children with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as there are veterans returning home from war with the same disorder.

The Department of Health and Human Services will be looking at the way they respond to family needs.  The child should be placed at the top of the pyramid of services with strong support services in place at the base, rather than keeping the needs of the bureaucracy at the top of the pyramid.

The Safe Haven issue was also discussed and has not gone away. There are still Nebraska children with chronic psychiatric disability. They deserve treatment, healing, and recovery, the same as any child with a chronic illness. And they need to be in their own homes.