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

Tool A-2:  Sample Processes

Nebraska DHHS - Families Matter Reform Process

Nebraska's Juvenile Court and Criminal Court Processes

Part Three: Juvenile & Criminal Justice Systems
Section A. Nebraska's Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems


Nebraska’s Juvenile Court and Criminal Court Processesscales of justice, gavel and law books

The flow chart (PDF) of Nebraska’s Juvenile Court and Criminal Court Processes summarizes the primary actions which occur when a juvenile who has allegedly committed a law violation enters the judicial system. In Nebraska, a juvenile who is under eighteen (18) years of age at the time he or she allegedly commits a law violation may become involved in either of the Juvenile Court System or the Criminal Court System (County Court or District Court). The Juvenile Court and Criminal Court Processes illustrated in this section only address juveniles who have committed a traffic infraction, status offense, misdemeanor or felony as defined in Nebraska Revised Statute 43-247. However, the Juvenile Court System also has jurisdiction over children and youth who are abused, neglected, abandoned or dependent. Regardless of the reasons and circumstances for the Juvenile Court’s involvement, it intervenes and acts in the best interest of the child or youth, providing protection, care, custody and rehabilitation, as needed. Its jurisdiction extends to the child’s birth or adoptive parents or guardian. Full due process protections and considerations must be observed and provided to both the juvenile and the parents or guardian throughout the Juvenile Court Process.

The Criminal Court System’s primary purpose is the prosecution and punishment of crimes committed by adult offenders. However, juveniles who have allegedly committed law violations may be charged as adults under certain circumstances. While the underlying philosophy of the Juvenile Court System and Criminal Court System differ, there are similarities in terms of the statutory events that occur. Full due process protections and considerations must also be observed and provided to offenders in the Criminal Court System, regardless of age.

For more information about Nebraska’s Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems, refer to the Systems Tool Kit - Part Three, Section A-1: Frequently Asked Questions.

Topics related to Nebraska’s Child Welfare System are addressed in the Systems Tool Kit - Part Two.

Families Matter Overview

In January of 2011, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) transferred child welfare and juvenile services case management functions to private contractors in the Eastern and Southeast Service Areas of the state as part of the Nebraska Families Matter Reform. In those Service Areas, two-thirds (2/3) of families receive case management from private contractors and one-third (1/3) from DHHS. The goal of the Families Matter Reform is to improve the outcomes of child safety, community safety, permanency and well-being for children, youth and families.

View the Families Matter Overview(PDF)

The Families Matter Overview illustrates the processes and responsibilities for providing services and assistance to children and youth involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice System through DHHS. Private contractor caseworkers, known as Family Permanency Specialists, handle certain case management functions previously performed by DHHS Children and Family Services Specialists (CFSS). DHHS staff assigned to work with those contract staff are now known as Children and Family Outcome Monitors (CFOM) and have taken on a new role of monitoring outcomes and analyzing data as well as continuing to make key decisions as required by Nebraska statute. DHHS retains responsibility for child abuse investigations.

The Families Matter Overview is also available through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website:
http://dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/Documents/FamMatLegalD0129.pdf

Additional information about the Nebraska Families Matter Reform Initiative is provided on its website: http://dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/Pages/familiesmatter.aspx

For more information about the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Children and Family Services, refer to the Systems Tool Kit - Part Two, Section B. Additional information is available on the DHHS website: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/

 

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