Teams work on a variety of issues related to the juvenile court system. Although the teams are united in focusing on the three statewide priorities of the Initiative, they have the independence to assess and determine the goals and objectives for their local court systems. A sampling of documents and materials produced by local teams can be found in the Team section.
In 2012, five exemplary local team projects were nominated for the Best Team Project Award. They were:
- Emergency Placement Checklist for Law Enforcement-1st District Team (Beatrice area): Due to the distance between many of our communities and the HHS intake workers homes creating significant delays in removals, the team developed a checklist/tool for law enforcement to use to immediately start gathering information that the intake worker will need to assess placement and placement options.
- Expansion of Family Treatment Drug Courts-4th District Team (Omaha): Three Omaha juvenile courts having Family Treatment Drug Courts (Judges Thomas, Crnkovich and Johnson) have increased the number of families being served. There is quicker access to substance abuse evaluations and some parents and children are residing together at Family Works while the parent undergoes residential drug treatment. A thearapeutic component focused on the needs of infants and toddlers has been added through Project Safe Start, which includes relationship therapy between the paren and young child (Child-Parent Psychotherapy) and follow-up on referrals to the Early Development Network.
- The Living Center (TLC) for aged-out youth-10th District Team-Adams County: The Hastings team has secured almost $1 million in grant funding and has another $350,000 in progress to develop a housing model for former foster youth ages 18-24 who have aged out of care. An apartment complex in Hastings will be renovated to privde 12 apartments that will house 11 youth and one residential manager. Independent living skills, such as money management, health, knowledge of community resources, interpersonal skills, and job assistance, will be offered.
- "Field of Dreams" Blended Housing Model-12th District-Team 2 (Sidney area): The Sidney area team developed a housing model using an abandomed former army barracks where families live independently in an apartment with daily monitoring and support while participating in intensive treatment for substance use disorders and other behavioral health disorders. This model keeps families together in a treatment and recovery community that also provides comprehensive, individualized services to address all the families' needs, especially for effective parenting, self-sufficiency, and the social/emotional well-being of the children and youth.
- Leading Community Response to Issues of Poverty-10th District Team-West End (Holdrege area): The Holdrege area team is part of a community approach to addressing chronic issues affecting families in the child welfare system. As part of this effort, the team sponsored a two-day "Bridges Out of Poverty" training. Other activities included regular meetings with community organizations to identify resources and develop new services, and the development of a community resource guide with projected regular updates.
Statewide, a selection of priority issues have included:
- Improving quality of and access to court progression data
- Increasing youth voice in court
- Expansion of mediation and facilitation in juvenile cases
- Improving timely access to evidence-based services