By Matt Lewis | Project Specialist, Nebraska Court Improvement Project

The 2017 Through the Eyes of the Child Regional Conferences are scheduled for October 3rd in Omaha at the University of Nebraska – Omaha’s Thompson Center and October 4th at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in North Platte. The regional conferences will run from 9:00AM until 4:00PM and all interested community stakeholders, service providers, juvenile justice and child welfare professionals, and Through the Eyes team members in the area are encouraged to attend.

The conferences will begin with into a morning session focusing on racial equity and implicit bias, complete with speakers and presentations. During the lunch hour, Judge Lawrence Gendler of the Sarpy County Separate Juvenile Court will lead a session on building relationships with and involving the media in relation to the work of the juvenile justice and child welfare professionals. The afternoon will consist of multiple sessions including a discussion and speakers on the out-of-home placement culture in the state and efforts to stem the use of these placements; an update on the Crossover Youth Practice Model and related policies being developed as a result of CYPM implementation; a recap of the legislative session and the impact of new child welfare and juvenile justice legislation passed; and distribution of district specific data reports followed by a collaboration session for individual Through the Eyes teams to review this data and determine future projects and courses of action.

Registration is currently slated be opened for the Through the Eyes team and judges only during the last two weeks in July. Open registration to all other interested attendees will commence in August. All registration will close on August 31. Reminders and save-the-dates will be going out regularly in the coming months with updates, schedules, speakers, and dates. Please also visit the Court Improvement Project website for continued information and updates.

For questions or comments regarding the Regional Conferences, 
please contact
Kelly Engquist


By Kalissa Holdcraft | Project Specialist 
Hello, my name is Kalissa Holdcraft, and I serve as the Project Specialist for the Juvenile Justice Home-Based Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative’s purpose is to reduce the number of out-of-home placements for justice-involved youth in Nebraska. My job is wholly focused on expanding the availability of in-home services across the state. As a member of the Court Improvement Project team, I collaborate with stakeholders across the juvenile justice sector to ensure the success of the Initiative through education and partnerships. 

The purpose of the Juvenile Justice Home-Based Initiative is to expand services that are evidence-based and evidence-informed, producing great results for youth within their family homes. Multisystemic Therapy (MST) services results show that youth who complete MST have long-term re-arrest rates reduced by 25-70%, decreased substance abuse, and up to 43% fewer days on adult probation. Boys Town’s program boasts similar results, with increased number of families remaining intact, greater numbers of school-aged children attending school, and 100% of families reporting that Boys Town’s program had a positive impact on the family. Grant funding makes it possible to implement Multisystemic Therapy (MST) services in several areas across the state and for the Boys Town Ecological In-Home Family Treatment (EIHFT) services to be expanded and replicated. 



By Michele Lueders, | Juvenile Intake & Detention Alternatives Specialist Nebraska State Probation

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) was designed with the vision that all youth involved in the juvenile justice system have opportunities to develop into healthy, productive adults. After more than two decades of innovation and replication, JDAI is one of the nation's most effective, influential, and widespread juvenile justice system reform initiatives.

JDAI promotes changes to policies, practices, and programs to reduce reliance on secure confinement, improve public safety, reduce racial disparities and bias, save taxpayers' dollars, and stimulate overall juvenile justice reforms.

In Nebraska, JDAI has been active since 2011 in Douglas County and 2012 in Sarpy County.  Through the leadership of Judge Robert O’Neal and Dave Partsch Otoe County Attorney, the JDAI efforts expanded into Otoe County, Nebraska’s first rural county to implement JDAI. The local Through the Eyes and Juvenile Justice teams provided an already existing structure for Otoe County to ensure that the right stakeholders were at the table to begin the work and can continue to work together.

Otoe County began by participating in a System Assessment, where multiple community stakeholders were interviewed to discuss what is working well within their community, what barriers exist and what gaps that may exist for young people and their families.  Through this process, a report was developed, highlighting what was going well as well as recommendations as to where Otoe County could work to make system improvements.  Another part of this process included the development of a Detention Utilization Study, which provided Otoe County with data points related to young people involved with the juvenile justice system.


Please join CIP, along with Sarah Helvey, Nebraska Appleseed, and Christine Henningsen, Nebraska Youth Advocates, for a follow-up webinar regarding the child welfare and juvenile justice bills that were signed into law this legislative session.
  • WHEN: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 
  • TIME: 11:00 - 12:00 pm CST
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March 2017 CIP Newsletter 

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