Home is Where the Heart is Part 1- Foster Care and Adoption


Many have been touched by the adoption and foster care system.

Though the community is large, there's still much that's unknown about these services here in Nebraska.

In Nebraska roughly 4,200 children are in the foster care system.

Some will be reunited with their families, while others will be seeking permanency through adoption.

The Nebraska Children's Home Society is one of many agencies in the area. The agency has been around for 120 years providing services from planned parenting and adoption to services for children in the foster care system and those looking to foster.

Briana Woodside, assistant director for Nebraska Children’s Home Society, has been mentoring those in need.

"Through Nebraska Children's Home the pregnancy, parenting and adoption program is completely separate from the foster care program. So we work with moms and dads who are experiencing unplanned pregnancy. That’s different from foster care, where foster care they license families to provide that temporary care with the goal of reunification," she said.

The need for foster parents is always great among agencies.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regulates the program but agencies like NCHS can help those looking to get started.

"We do recruitment, training of the foster parents, the licensing piece, as well as on-going education and twenty-four hour, seven days a week support for those foster parents,” said case worker Christine Duda.

Agencies say they work hard to make sure the foster family and child are a good fit.

Foster parents also work closely with the child’s social worker and biological parent to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

"We learn a lot about the foster families, their families and what they're willing to take on, and the kiddos that we take into care to make sure that they're going to be in that home until it's time for them to go back with their biological parents," explained Duda.

During this time the biological parents have goals from the DHHS to work toward, whether it be related to their home life, health or financial issues.

Woodside explains, "They establish a plan and certain goals that the biological parents would work towards. So it's somebody working closely with those biological parents saying here is what it would look like to be successful in order for your kids to return home."

There are times however when children aren't able to go back to their families.

Relinquishment of parental rights can be a long process and every case is different.

But officials say the most important thing is making sure each child is in the best forever home possible.

On Wednesday, Gov. Dave Heineman issued a proclamation at the capitol in honor of National Foster Care Awareness Month. He recognized those who've provided safe and loving homes to those in need.