The Issues

Placements and Concurrent Planning

All children in foster care, and especially young children, should be in a stable placement that can meet their specific needs. Concurrent planning - which is the development of a concurrent permanency plan to the primary permanency plan - should begin on the first day the child goes into foster care. Because of the urgency of other matters, the lack of availability of foster homes and lack of support to relative/kinship/foster homes, children often change placements and do not have a concurrent plan that is actively being pursued. The NRPVYC provides help to court practitioners on making decisions regarding placement and placement changes, and has created the Changing Placement checklist.

Medical Care and Medication

All children should have a medical home whose providers understand the impact of trauma on children. Children should receive regular check-ups and should be screened closely for developmental delays, since 50-70% of children in foster care exhibit some level of delay. Use of medication for children under 5 should only be in limited situations, only in conjunction with therapy and only when all other options have been exhausted. Barriers to these areas include children not having a medical home, developmental delays not properly being identified, and using medication too frequently

Early Development Network

Under CAPTA, all maltreated children under the age of 3 must be referred for early intervention services. If verified, the young child can access services through the school district or ESU. However, there are barriers to receiving such services, including lack of consent from the parent, incomplete information given to the services coordinator, and under-identification of issues. The NRPVYC works with the Early Development Network on improving verification of children in CAPTA related cases. This work includes trainings, webinars, support to local communities and other activities.

Trauma-based Mental Health and Developmental Services for Young Children

Young children experiencing chronic neglect, domestic violence, and other trauma are negatively impacted by their experiences and often have delays and other issues. Services are available for very young children to address the damage caused by trauma. In Nebraska, many services for young children are being developed, including Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP). The NRPVYC manages the CPP provider list in Nebraska and partners with Project Harmony in training therapists to provide CPP. The NRPVYC also provides assistance to court professionals in identifying cases needing referrals for early childhood mental health services and helps with the referral and treatment processes.

Stress in Early Childhood and Court Professionals

Professionals working in helping fields can experience high levels of stress, which may result in burnout and turnover if not adequately addressed. The NRPVYC is providing and expanding reflective practice in Nebraska to professionals working in the child welfare system or early childhood system.