Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2016

Contact Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-8287 or
(cell) 402-450-7318, or

Do Your Part to End Child Abuse and Neglect
National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Lincoln— Residents and organizations in every Nebraska community are encouraged to help prevent child abuse by ensuring parents have access to the resources to care for their children, said Doug Weinberg, director of Children and Family Services in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
When communities provide access to services and information, child abuse and neglect can be prevented by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families, he said.

“Child abuse and neglect are serious problems affecting every segment of Nebraska,” Weinberg said. “Finding solutions requires input and action from everyone. Focusing on ways to connect with families with available resources is the best thing citizens can do to strengthen families.”

In Nebraska, preliminary results show DHHS investigated more than 13,000 child abuse reports last year, an 11 percent increase from 2014, and a surprising increase compared to recent years. About 2,500 were substantiated as child abuse or neglect.

Child Abuse & Neglect Investigations

In cases where abuse or neglect is not substantiated, we work with families who may be at risk for future abuse or neglect to provide services. The staff identifies those families who may need an additional help or services to prevent abuse or neglect.
Child abuse can have long-term psychological, emotional, and physical effects with lifelong consequences for victims. Prevention remains the best defense for children and families, Weinberg said.

“Parenting can be tough,” he said. “Nebraska families need to know that positive parenting support is available, whether your kids are newborns or teenagers. Reaching out for help and education is a sign of strength. Help is available.”

The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports the work of the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Board. Mary Jo Pankoke, president and CEO, agreed that preventing child abuse and neglect takes a team approach, with agencies, communities, schools, businesses and families working together to ensure kids are safe and thriving.

“Abuse and neglect of children affects all sectors of our society,” she said. “We encourage citizens to get involved in their local child abuse prevention councils throughout the state and find out how they can play a role in keeping kids safe from harm."
Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect, he said. They are:
     • Nurturing and attachment;
     • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development;
     • Parental resilience;
     • Social connections;
     • Concrete supports for parents; and
     • Social and emotional competence of children.

In Nebraska, everyone is a mandatory reporter if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected. Calls to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-652-1999 are anonymous, and may change a child’s life, Weinberg said. A specially trained worker gathers information to determine if an investigation should occur.