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What We Do

Thriving Families, Safer Children Opportunity


By bringing together state and local agencies, leaders and citizens, Bring Up Nebraska is helping to ensure that every community across Nebraska is working to increase the availability of critical supports and services, reduce unnecessary government system involvement, and improve the lives of Nebraska children and families. The United States Children’s Bureau recently selected Nebraska to participate in an opportunity called Thriving Families, Safer Children (“Thriving Families”) due to the progress that has been made by the community well-being collaboratives in the Bring Up Nebraska Initiative.

Bring Up Nebraska’s Community Well-Being (CWB) model is based on the belief that all individuals and families face challenges and that providing support early, before challenges turn to crises, improves outcomes for children, adults, and communities. Local communities are the foundation of our work because they are best situated to provide services and supports which build protective factors and resilience to future challenges, and because decision-making about what works to protect and promote well-being lies within communities and homes of our families, whose lived experiences are the true drivers of transformation. 

Prior to the pandemic, Bring Up Nebraska partners had worked in partnership to establish 14 autonomous community collaboratives serving 62 of Nebraska’s counties. Now, we are working with 22 collaboratives. The First Round of Community Collaboratives involved in the Thriving Families opportunity include: Hall, Dakota, Douglas and Platte/Colfax counties.


Our Focus

  • Equality in opportunities and outcomes for every child in the State of Nebraska, regardless of race, ethnicity or economics, and elimination of disproportionality of children, youth, and families involved in the child welfare and justice systems.
  • Reshaping the current child welfare system to better support the CWB model by collaborating with other partners and providing aligned funding, supports, and services.
  • Ingraining of the CWB model within the state government and local communities so it continues as the operational norm regardless of political or administrative leadership changes over time.
  • Inclusion of families, youth, and other community members with lived experience in the leadership and decision-making process at both state-wide and community levels.


Our Goals

  • By December 2020, Bring Up Nebraska’s Thriving Families opportunity will focus on the most interested and ready communities with the most disparate well being outcomes as well as service and opportunity gaps (e.g. Dakota, Platte/Colfax, Hall, Tribal communities, and Douglas).
  • By 2022, utilize the Two-Generation Approach to address the gaps in the current prevention/well-being system/pre-system involvement services and support in communities.
  • By 2022, communities, providers, and state-level partners change the way business is conducted to support and ensure young adults and families are lifted up and empowered so that they are able to dream and create a well-being system that works in their community.
  • By 2022, develop new communications and PR messaging utilizing research to engage additional partnerships (e.g. Department of Labor, Department of Economic Development, Housing, etc.) to embrace the model of community well-being.
  • By 2025, continue to further develop the well-being system based on the impacts of COVID-19 (e.g., secure access to affordable housing, food, internet, and behavioral health supports).
  • By 2025, an increase of children, youth, and families that are supported in their communities and are not involved in higher end systems of care.
  • By 2025, decrease the disproportionality in well-being outcomes (e.g. Child and Abuse and Neglect, High School Graduation Rate, Juvenile Arrests, Children Below Poverty Level (Under Age 5), Children in Out-of-Home Care, Children in Single Parent Households, Infant Deaths, Language Spoken Other Than English, Proficient English Language Arts (3rd Graders), Teen Births, Work Hours per Week to Rent 2-Bed Home, Racial Distribution Under Age 5).
  • By 2025, state and federal partners work together to address the practice and policy changes from the communities so that a community-based well-being system is transformed.

Thriving Families Joint Meeting: NE Steering Committee & National SST

Thursday, December 9, 2021
1:00 pm3:00 pm
Please Contact Leslie Gross for more information/an invitation to this meeting.

How is the National Site Support Teams (SST) structured?

The SST will be the key support team for each of the Thriving Families jurisdiction. The team will meet regularly (*every other month in 2021) as an independent unit and with the jurisdiction to help plan and implement jurisdictional efforts and serve as a resource and support hub that has knowledge of and access to partner resources. The teams will work seamlessly at the partner organizational level to determine what resources and support can be provided by whom in a highly integrated way to support the Thriving Families jurisdiction’s plan. These teams will have the ability to call upon the MDT as needed (consisting of expert consultants from needed fields of expertise, in addition to relevant partner agency resources). The representatives on SST have direct access to the Executive Team representatives of their organization for higher level decision making or support as necessary, including barrier busting support at the federal level.

Who are the members of National Site Support Teams (SST)?

The SSTs will be a collective group of interagency and interdisciplinary representatives to ensure that they are working together in transformational ways. The members will include: 1) parent expert; 2) youth expert; and 3) equity experts. In addition to above representatives, each Site Support Team will include: 4) U.S. Children’s Bureau/Federal agency partner lead; 5) Annie E. Casey Foundation lead; 6) Prevent Child Abuse America lead; and 6) a Casey Family Programs lead. The SST lead from each of the four partner agencies will have clearly delineated roles and responsibilities to best support the Thriving Families jurisdiction. This includes the ability to rapidly escalate barriers that require additional support as well as to escalate areas for opportunity that may strengthen the work of all Thriving Families sites. To ensure that the Executive Team is fully informed of the Site Support Teams work, a representative from each of the team will present the team’s project status regularly to the Executive Team.

Our Impact This Year

  • Children/Young Adults Served in 2020

    Over 9,000

  • Parents Supported in 2020

    Over 4,300

  • Service Professionals Trained in 2020

    Nearly 300

  • Counties Working with Bring Up Nebraska

    75 and Growing

© 2022 Bring Up Nebraska Initiative

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