Nebraska Families Collaborative Blog

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SkyeYou don’t have to be an angel to want to adopt a child. You don’t have to be exceedingly special or exceptionally generous. As Lillias Freeman-Hogan puts it, “You just need to be a parent, someone who is willing to be there for the kids. To be steady, secure and have love to give.”

That’s who Terry and Lillias Freeman-Hogan are: steady, secure, loving people who wanted to open their home to teenagers and surround them with a warm, safe environment. They’d successfully raised 5 other children, 4 of their own and one that came into their permanent care. After their children had grown and flew the nest, Terry and Lillias felt that they weren’t done with this parenting thing. Not even close.

They worked with Nebraska Families Collaborative to make their desire to adopt a reality. They knew they wanted teenagers. They knew they wanted to adopt and add permanency. And they knew they could provide the type of setting to welcome a child who’d long given up on the idea of ever being adopted.

Three years ago, Skye Alonzo, a then 14-year-old, was placed with Terry and Lillias. She came a year and a half after they’d adopted another teenage girl. Their home felt complete.

Terry and Lillias’ experience was positive in every sense. “Nebraska Families Collaborative has good people who work hard and care deeply. Skye’s caseworker did everything she could to improve the lives of these kids. She was in it for the long haul,” said Terry.

As for being adoptive parents, they couldn’t imagine being anything else, even with its ups and downs. Even with its new set of parenting rules and compromises.

The love that they show and the level of commitment they’re willing to give to provide for children is astonishing. They are true angels, whether they think so or not.

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dnewellby David Newell, President & CEO, Nebraska Families Collaborative

Open any family photo album and you are likely to see many of the same pictures of children at every life milestone: birth, crawling, first tooth, first step, first day of school, and so on.  These images are an important reminder of the importance of children “being seen” by the caring adults in their lives and those life milestones need be cherished and remembered.

All of us—child or adult—need to be seen, heard, and engaged by those around us. People need attention and interactions with others in order to thrive just as much as we need food, water, and air.  In child welfare, one of the most important things we do on a monthly basis is visit our children, parents, and foster parents to see and hear how they are doing and then respond to the needs that we discover during these visits.  When these visits go well, the healing process speeds up, which leads to great results for both children and their families.

So what does technology have to do with visits with children? Everything. As part of our strategic plan, NFC is looking at the possibility of using a new technology called Mindshare. This will take places in stages, beginning with being able to analyze data for patterns and trends more effectively than before.

Down the road, NFC envisions fully deploying Mindshare. One of the most exciting features of this technology will allow NFC caseworkers to use a smartphone to take a real-time photograph of each foster child during their monthly visit. The child’s image would immediately be uploaded into the state database along with information on the date, time, and location of the visit. In short, operating Mindshare at its full capacity will allow Nebraska’s foster children to be seen in a new way for every visit. At NFC, we believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Mindshare will be an important step forward in seeing the children we serve.

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b2ap3 thumbnail change-opportunity 8dvl1b21Each year, NFC works with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Child and Family Services to negotiate its annual contract. We are happy to share that contract negotiations have ended successfully and NFC now has signed and fully-executed contract to continue providing child welfare case maangement and service coordination. The new contract year begins July 1, 2014, and runs through June 30, 2015.

To read the full contract terms click here.

We look forward to another year of helping children and families, and continuing to build on the successes that NFC and all its partners in the Eastern Service Area have achieved during the past five years.

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Are You a Potential Foster Parent?

Loving, patient and caring foster families play an essential role in ensuring the healthy development, safety and well-being of children and are critical in our goal of strengthening families and reuniting children with their birth families whenever possible.

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Are You Considering Foster Adoption?

Adopting a child is a uniquely beautiful and powerfully emotional journey. Loving, compassionate individuals discover space in their hearts for children in need of a forever family. Our resources will help you get started on the road to adopting a child.

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Your donation to NFC will directly help children and families in the Omaha community. Consider making a donation and help support those in need. All donations make a difference – every little bit counts! And, there is more than one way to donate!

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