Families First and Foremost
Lancaster County, Nebraska
The goals of the grant project, as stated in the grant proposal, are to develop a community-controlled, comprehensive service delivery system that builds on the assets of individuals, citizen associations, and local child-serving and funding agencies; ensure that families of youth with serious emotional disturbances are full partners in all aspects of the system of care, including governance, service delivery, advocacy, and evaluation; develop an array of services that are comprehensive, individualized, culturally competent, and offered in the youth’s natural environment; and establish an evaluation and continuous quality improvement process that will shape future system/program direction using empirically based best practice models of service delivery.
Lancaster County in southeast Nebraska is the designated catchment area for F3. The county covers 847 square miles. In 2002, Lancaster County had a household population of 245,000 comprised of 126,000 (51 percent) females and 120,000 (49 percent) males. Twenty-four percent of the population was under 18 years old. For people reporting one race, 92 percent were White; 4 percent were Asian; 3 percent were Black or African-American; less than 0.5 percent were American Indian and Alaska Native; and less than 0.5 percent were Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and 1 percent were some other race. The target population is youth between 10 and 21 years of age who live in Lancaster County, have a serious emotional disturbance, and are at risk of or are involved with the juvenile justice system. As of September 15, 2003, 308 children and families had enrolled in F3 and 190 families and 141 youth had enrolled in the evaluation since the program began. According to the F3 project director, the number of children served since 03 has not increased significantly; however, enrollment is expected to increase effective July 2004, when the early intervention age group (0–5 years) will be referred to F3. There is also the expectation that a greater number of children in the 0–19 age group, who are high-risk youth in the child welfare system, will be served by the ICCU.