Parents who have experienced addiction and dealt with Child Protective Services at the Department of Health and Human Services will talk about their experience how support systems can be improved during a panel discussion at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 at North Platte Community College. 

The purpose is to give those with “lived experience” a voice, and become the driving force in a better system safety net for young mothers who struggle with substance abuse.

It is part of a national movement to learn from those who have been through those situations.

In addition to a live presentation, a livestream will be broadcast on the Families 1st Partnership website: families1stpartnership.org

Hastings and North Platte have been identified as communities in Nebraska with many cases of infants in the care of DHHS due to substance use by parents.

The two cities aim to implement a pilot system called “Plans of Safe Care,” which develops a support network to keep pregnant women from using illegal substances. The goal of Plans of Safe Care is that mother and baby go home together after the baby is born, rather than the child going into state care, organizers say.

Lincoln County social service agencies have been meeting since August to identify services that can be beneficial in countering substance abuse during pregnancy and parenting. The effort is funded through a grant from the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund.

The Families 1st Partnership in North Platte is organizing the presentation of those with “lived experiences,” Families 1st spokeswoman Caroline Sabin said.

Families 1st Partnership is a non-profit organization founded in January 2019. It serves as the backbone organization for collaborative efforts in Lincoln County to prevent children and at-risk youth from going into higher systems of care. 

With this goal in mind, Families 1st Partnership encourages other agencies in their work and offers support, trainings or financial assistance to the agency’s participants.

In addition to financial support to stabilize families, the group sponsors parenting classes and family activities. 

Families 1st Partnership receives grant funds from Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, Sabin said.    

The effort is encouraged through a partnership between Nebraska’s DHHS and the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare.

From a poster announcing the event

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