Nebraska's Tool Kit for Systems Involved in the Education of Students in Out-of-Home Care

Acknowledgements

The development and ongoing maintenance of the Systems Tool Kit is a multi-systems collaborative effort, involving several State and local agencies, organizations, professional associations, private foundations, schools, and the University of Nebraska.  Through the following acknowledgements, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have worked so diligently on this project as well as the many individuals, agencies and organizations who generously contributed their input, assistance and support.

SUPREME COURT INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN IN OUT-OF-HOME CARE


In October of 2009, Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican, Commissioner of Education Roger Breed, and several State child welfare and juvenile justice agency administrators attended a national conference on improving outcomes for children in foster care. One of the priority areas identified by the Nebraska team included improving education of students in out-of-home care. As part of this collaborative Initiative, the following action steps were proposed: "(a) develop information about educational issues for children in foster care for judges, attorneys and DHHS workers and supervisors; (b) develop an online description of court process and glossary of common terms for education community; and (c) produce an "Educational Services for Children in Foster Care" website in collaboration with the Court Improvement Project (CIP), Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education."

In December of 2009, the State Court Administrator's Advisory Group began collaborating with a multi-systems work group, organizationally housed within the Nebraska Department of Education's Committee on Education of Students in Out-of-Home Placements, to accomplish the Supreme Court Initiative's action steps. Through this joint effort, the "Tool Kit for Systems Involved In Education of Students In Out-of-Home Care" was developed, along with its corresponding Partnering4Students website.

Members of the 2009 State Court Administrator's Advisory Group include:

Nebraska Supreme Court
The Honorable Chief Justice Michael Heavican

Nebraska Department of Education
Commissioner Roger Breed - Commissioner of Education
Carol McClain - Office of Special Education
Rick Moses - School Improvement and Accreditation
Margaret Worth - General Counsel's Office

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Kerry T. Winterer - Chief Executive Officer
Todd Reckling - Director, Division of Children and Family Services
Edward Matney - Policy Section Administrator, Division of Children and Family Services

Nebraska Juvenile Courts
The Honorable Judge Linda Porter - Lancaster County Separate Juvenile Court

Nebraska State Court Administrator's Office
Janice K. Walker - State Court Administrator

Nebraska State Probation Administration
Ellen Brokofsky - State Probation Administrator

University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Kelli Hauptman - Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative
Vicky Weisz - Nebraska Court Improvement Project

SYSTEMS WORK GROUP


System Work Group

The Nebraska Department of Education's Committee on Education of Students in Out-of-Home Placements established a Systems Work Group in September of 2009, to identify issues, barriers and best practices related to communication, coordination and collaboration between the primary systems involved in education of students in out-of-home care. Several members of this work group had previously met during 2008 and 2009 as the Systems FAQ Committee, charged with the task of developing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) technical assistance document on education of students in out-of-home care. In late 2009, the Systems Work Group began collaborating with the State Court Administrator's Advisory Group and expanded its original task to include the Supreme Court Initiative's action steps.

Current members of the Systems Work Group include:

Cassandra Blakely - Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Project Everlast
Michele Borg (OHP Facilitator/Coordinator) - Nebraska Department of Education Contractor / BorgWorks, Inc.
Amy Bunnell - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services - Helping Babies from the Bench Initiative
Linda Cox - Nebraska Foster Care Review Office
Pat Frost (Research) - Nebraska Department of Education – Federal Programs, ESEA Title I
Lori Griggs (Chairperson) - Nebraska State Probation District #3J
Chris Hanus - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services
Kim Hawekotte - KVC Behavioral HealthCare Nebraska
The Honorable Judge Linda Porter - Lancaster County Separate Juvenile Court
Vicky Weisz - University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Jessica Williams-Cook / Darren Pang (Website Design) - University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law

Systems FAQ Committee
The Systems FAQ Committee met in early 2009, to identify a series of Frequently Asked Questions from various systems involved in education of students in out-of-home placements. Based on the input from the initial meeting, the Systems FAQ Committee continued to meet during the spring and summer of 2009 to begin work on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) technical assistance document. Many of this Committee's members went on to serve on the Systems Work Group established by the Nebraska Department of Education's Committee on the Education of Students in Out-of-Home Placements.

Members of the 2009 Systems FAQ Committee include:

Michele Borg (OHP Facilitator/Coordinator) - Nebraska Department of Education Contractor / BorgWorks, Inc.
DeDe Frisch - South Sioux City Community Schools
Pat Frost (Research) - Nebraska Department of Education – Federal Programs, ESEA Title I
Sara Goscha - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services
Lori Griggs (Chairperson) - Nebraska State Probation District #3J
Shellie Sabata - Lancaster County Attorney's Office
Jack Shepard - Nebraska Department of Education – Vocational Rehabilitation
Becky Steiner - Cedars Home for Children
Deb VanDyke-Ries - CASA for Lancaster County
Carol Wierda - Morton School - Whitehall Campus

PARTNERING4STUDENTS WEBSITE


The "Tool Kit for Systems Involved In Education of Students In Out-of-Home Care" is available through its own website, www.Partnering4Students.org. This website was designed and developed by Answers4Families staff at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law, in collaboration with the Systems Work Group established by the NDE Committee on the Education of Students in Out-of-Home Placements. Partial funding for development of the website was provided by Casey Family Programs.

Casey Family Programs
Joan Ohl - Casey Family Programs

University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Charlie Lewis - Answers4Families
Darren Pang - Answers4Families
Vicky Weisz - Nebraska Court Improvement Project
Jessica Williams-Cook - Answers4Families

NDE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION OF STUDENTS IN OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENTS


The NDE Committee on Education of Students in Out-of-Home Placements (OHP Committee) is a multi-disciplinary group organizationally housed under the Nebraska Department of Education's Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC). The OHP Committee's purpose is to advise and make recommendations to the Nebraska Department of Education, SEAC, State Accreditation Committee, State Board of Education, other state and local agencies, policymakers and stakeholders regarding education of students in out-of-home care. The Systems Tool Kit Project was initially undertaken in response to a series of recommendations made by the OHP Committee and its Systems Work Group.

Current members of the OHP Committee and staff include:
Brad Alexander - Douglas County Youth Center
David Baisinger (Vice Chairperson) - Nebraska Youth Academy
Michele Borg (OHP Facilitator/Coordinator) - Nebraska Department of Education Contractor / BorgWorks, Inc.
Carolyn Brown – Envisions of Norfolk, Inc. Level III School
Linda Cox - Nebraska Foster Care Review Office
Josh Cramer – Lincoln Public Schools
Dave Erb - Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Services, Inc.
Randy Farmer - Lancaster County Youth Services Center – Pathfinder Education Program
Vicki Fehringer - Waverly Public Schools Alternative Education LIFE Program
DeDe Frisch - South Sioux City Community Schools
Pat Frost (Research) - Nebraska Department of Education – Federal Programs, ESEA Title I
Scott Gregory - Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center – Geneva North School
Lori Griggs - Nebraska State Probation District #3J
Chris Hanus - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services
Susan Harder - Nebraska Department of Correctional Services - Nebraska Youth Correctional Facility (NCYF) Community High School
Kim Hawekotte (Chairperson) - KVC Behavioral HealthCare Nebraska
Rosey Higgs - Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Project Everlast
Donna Hoffman- Nebraska Department of Education – School Counselors
Sherri Kelly – PTI-Nebraska
Steve Larsen – Scotts Bluff County Detention Center
Mark Mason - Nebraska Department of Education – Vocational Rehabilitation
Ryan O'Grady - Grand Island Public Schools
Kristi O'Meara - Lexington Public Schools
The Honorable Judge Linda Porter - Lancaster County Separate Juvenile Court
Dawn Rockey - CASA for Lancaster County
Carol Wierda - Morton School – White Hall Campus
Tanya Wright - Boys Town
Pat Zalesky - Papillion-LaVista Public Schools

Past OHP Committee members involved in the Systems Tool Kit / Partnering4Students Project include:
Trish Brockman - Nebraska Department of Correctional Services - Nebraska Youth Correctional Facility
Brad Conner - Papillion-LaVista Public Schools
Mary Fraser Meints - Uta Halee and Cooper Village
Jessica Hilderbrand - Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Edward Matney - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services
Deb VanDyke-Ries - CASA for Lancaster County
Richard Wehland - Geneva Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center

PARTNER AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS


There are several State and local agencies, organizations, professional associations, private foundations, schools, and the University of Nebraska involved in the development and ongoing maintenance of the "Tool Kit for Systems Involved In Education of Students In Out-of-Home Care". The primary partner agencies, organizations and staff involved in this multi-systems collaborative project include:

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Cassandra Blakely
Ashley Gustafson
Rosey Higgs
Jessica Hilderbrand
Mary Jo Pankoke
Alana Pearson
Cindy Ryman-Yost
Wendi Schulz
Jennifer Skala
Nebraska Foster Youth Council Leadership Board

Nebraska Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association
Gwen Hurst-Anderson - Nebraska CASA Association
Deb VanDyke-Ries - CASA for Lancaster County
Dawn Rockey - CASA for Lancaster County
Nebraska CASA Program Directors and Volunteers

Nebraska Department of Education
Commissioner Roger Breed - Commissioner of Education
Vicki Bauer - Adult Education Programs and GED Testing
Pam Duncan - Office of Special Education
Chris Cassel - Data Services
Lindy Foley - Office of Special Education
Edward Foy - Statewide Assessment
Pat Frost - Federal Programs Office – ESEA, Title I
Sue Henry - Office of Equity and Instructional Strategies - Migrant Education
Margaret Hoffman - Vocational Rehabilitation
Freida Lange - School Improvement and Accreditation
Cindy Loos - School Improvement and Accreditation
Don Loseke - School Improvement and Accreditation
Joan Luebbers - Office of Special Education Office – Early Childhood Intervention
Sue Martin - Data Services
Mark Mason - Vocational Rehabilitation
Carol McClain - Office of Special Education
Laurie McEntarffer - Office of Special Education
Dennis McGuire - School Improvement and Accreditation
Joni Minor - Vocational Rehabilitation
John Moon - Statewide Assessment
Rick Moses - School Improvement and Accreditation
Marilyn Peterson - Federal Programs and Data Services
Roger Reikofski - Federal Programs – Homeless Education
Carol Rempp - Office of Equity and Instructional Strategies - Native American Education
Nancy Rowch - Office of Equity and Instructional Strategies – ESL/Bilingual/Title III
Mark Schultz - Vocational Rehabilitation
Jack Shepard - Vocational Rehabilitation
Gary Sherman - Office of Special Education
Scott Summers - General Counsel's Office
Norma Tinstman - Office of Special Education – Omaha
Donna Hoffman - Curriculum and Instruction – School Counseling Programs
Beth Wierda - Office of Special Education
Margaret Worth - General Counsel's Office

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Kerry Winterer - Chief Executive Officer
David Baisinger - Division of Behavioral Health - Nebraska Youth Academy
Peg Barner - Division of Children and Family Services - Office of Juvenile Services
Margaret Bitz - Division of Children and Family Services
Sherri Eveleth - Division of Children and Family Services – Norfolk
Sherri Haber - Division of Children and Family Services
Chris Hanus - Division of Children and Family Services
Tony Kleidosty - Division of Children and Family Services - Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center
Rita Krusemark - Division of Children and Family Services
Ed Matney - Division of Children and Family Services
Terri Nutzman - Division of Children and Family Services - Office of Juvenile Services
Shirley Pickens-White - Division of Children and Family Services
Todd Reckling - Division of Children and Family Services
Richard Wehland - Division of Children and Family Services - Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center

Nebraska Foster Care Review Office
Linda Cox - Interim Director, Special Projects and Data Coordination

Nebraska State Probation Administration
Ellen Brokofsky - State Probation Administrator
Lori Griggs - Nebraska State Probation District #3J
Deb Minardi - State Probation Deputy Administrator

University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Kelly Hauptman - Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative
Charlie Lewis - Answers4Families
Woon Loong Pang - Answers4Families
Vicky Weisz - Nebraska Court Improvement Project
Jessica Williams - Answers4Families

SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (SEAC)


The Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) is the advisory group which provides policy guidance to the Nebraska Department of Education and advises the State Board of Education regarding special education and related services for children with disabilities. SEAC is comprised of individuals involved in or concerned with the education of children with disabilities, with the majority of its members required to be individuals with disabilities or parents of children and youth with disabilities (birth through 26 years old). The NDE Committee on Education of Students in Out-of-Home Placements (OHP Committee) and its Systems Work Group are organizationally housed under SEAC.

Current members of the SEAC and staff include:

Ann Bird (Facilitator) - Special Education Advisory Council
Margaret Bitz - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Children and Family Services
Karen Bostic-Frederick - University of Nebraska - Kearney
John Bright - Omaha Public Schools
Bethany Brunsman - Lincoln
Janet Busse - St. Paul
Jane Byers - Papillion-LaVista Schools
Glenda Davis - PTI – Nebraska
Millie Demuth - Lincoln
Cindy Ellis - University of Nebraska - Medical Center
Bill Goodwin - Madonna School
Mary Gordon - Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Developmental Disabilities
Judy Hall - Hastings College
Pam Kasl (Staff) - Nebraska Department of Education - Office of Special Education
Sue Kemp - University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Brenda Kimes - Norfolk
Steve Larsen – Gering
Patti Maguire - Lexington
Kris McMullen - CNSSP
Norma Mercer - Beatrice
Maggie Mintken - Transition Services
Sally Proskovec (Chairperson) - Fremont
Kelly Randels - Millard
Charlene Snyder - Millard Public Schools
Julie Stahla - Grand Island
Mike Steinwart - Cozad
Karen Thode - Omaha
Eric Weber - Omaha Westside Community Schools

CONTRIBUTORS


There are several individuals and organizations which have generously contributed their input, assistance and support throughout the development of the "Tool Kit for Systems Involved In Education of Students In Out-of-Home Care". These contributors include:

American Bar Association - Center on Children and the Law
Kathleen McNaught - Legal Center for Foster Care and Education

2011 Governor's Commission for the Protection of Children
Lynn Ayers - Child Advocacy Center
Michael Behm - Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Jeremiah Blake - Governor's Policy Research Office
Brad Conner - Papillion-LaVista Public Schools
The Honorable Judge Thomas Dorwart - Cheyenne County Court
Kim Hawekotte - KVC Behavioral Health Care Nebraska
Melody Hobson - Nebraska Department of Education – Office of Early Childhood
Gwen Hurst-Anderson - Nebraska CASA Association
The Honorable Judge Robert Ide - Phelps County Court
The Honorable Judge Douglas Johnson - Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court
Gene Klein - Project Harmony
Katie McLeese - Stephenson Cedars Home for Children
Randy Morehead - Nebraska State Patrol
Lt. Trevor O'Brien - Omaha Police Department
Michelle Oldham - Hastings Law Firm
Mary Jo Pankoke - Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Dr. Sheryl Pitner - University of Nebraska Medical Center – Department of Pediatrics
Todd Reckling - NE Dept. of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services
Tami Schendt - Custer County Attorney
B. Gail Steen - Steen Law Office
Carolyn Stitt - Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board
Randy Stoll - Nebraska Attorney General's Office
Mark Unvert - Lincoln Police Department
Brian Wilcox - University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law

Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Bruce Ayers - Budget and Accounting
Michael Behm - Director

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services
Jan Axdahl - Nebraska Department of Correctional Services – Education Programs
Trish Brockman - Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility
Layne Gissler - Nebraska Department of Correctional Services - Inmate Programs
Susan Harder - Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility Community High School
Robert Houston - Superintendent, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services
Mike Kenney - Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility
Larry Wayne - Nebraska Department of Correctional Services

Nebraska Separate Juvenile Court Judges Association