Posted by KLKN.

Monday, Gov. Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore announced Bring Up Nebraska, a statewide initiative that gives local communities the ability to keep problems that struggling families face from getting worse.

"We've got this great effort to pull together the resources locally...to address the issues in our communities," Ricketts said.

"This focuses on prevention," Shore said.  "And the best way to do that is for the local communities to assess what they need and for us at the state level to help them succeed."

Incarcerating family members and entering kids into the child welfare system consumes state resources.  This initiative aims at preventing that from happening.

The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation said every year, the 10 Nebraska communities that already use the system keep 5,000 kids from entering the welfare system.

Matt Ohman of Siouxland Human Investment Partnership said South Sioux City has been using the system for seven years.

"Previously you had agencies...mostly kind of working in their own silos," Ohman said.  "Now you're able to bring all of these agencies together as one prevention network so that you can prevent these kids from being sent away, prevent the police being called..."

Department of Health and Human Services CEO Courtney Phillips said the number of families and youth entering the child welfare system is increasing, and welcomes having the prevention system state wide.

"One of the things that we see that this would assist us with is in terms of the number of youth and families actually entered into the child welfare system," Phillips said.  "And so this is a preventative mechanism that could actually decrease the number coming into the state system overall."

The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation said funding for this initiative will come from private and federal funds, as well as the Annie E. Casey Foundation.