Newsroom > DHHS News Release

November 25, 2009

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287 or 560-3159 (Cell)

Help Line and Family Navigator Contract Awarded to Boys Town; Post Adoption/Post Guardianship Services Contract Awarded to Lutheran Family Services

Lincoln – The Division of Behavioral Health announced that Boys Town will operate the children’s behavioral health Help Line and Family Navigator Services beginning on January 1, 2010. The Division of Children and Family Services announced that Lutheran Family Services, Inc., will provide post adoption and post guardianship services starting January 1, 2010. These services were authorized in LB 603, passed during the 2009 Legislative Session.

“Boys Town and Lutheran Family Services have proven track records, and we’re glad these services will be available to Nebraska families after the first of the year,” said Kerry Winterer, CEO of DHHS.

The Help Line will provide a single point of contact that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, operated by trained personnel and supervised by licensed behavioral health professionals.

“The Help Line will be a new resource for parents, guardians and primary caregivers of youth experiencing an urgent behavioral health situation,” said Scot Adams, director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “Family Navigator Services will follow within 24 to 72 hours when needed, providing family peer support and helping the family identify existing services. The Help Line will focus on reducing the stress of the crisis being experienced by the caller, identifying immediate safety concerns, and giving recommendations or referrals to resources.”

Help Line operators will screen calls for immediate safety needs, identify the potential level of the behavioral health crisis, make recommendations or referrals to appropriate resources, and help the caller connect to emergency resources or providers as necessary.

Help Line operators may refer eligible families to Family Navigator Services. Family Navigators will be trained family peer support specialists with personal experience as a family member of a youth with a severe emotional disorder. If asked, Family Navigators will also help people apply for public assistance through the ACCESSNebraska online application process to identify possible eligibility for state-funded services.

Post adoption/post guardianship services will be offered on a voluntary basis to families who have adopted children or been appointed the legal guardian for children in the Department’s custody at the time the adoption or guardianship was finalized.

“Services such as case management, family support groups, youth support groups, family counseling, short-term respite, workshops and other mentoring services will be offered to families to assist in addressing issues so the adoption or guardianship does not disrupt,” said Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Children and Family Services. “We’re excited to be able to provide these additional services to children and families.”

Lutheran Family Services, Inc. is working in conjunction with Nebraska Children’s Home Society and their subcontractors, Nebraska Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and KVC Behavioral Health Services.