15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
The Children's Task Force
215 Centennial Mall South
Former Governor Miles Johanns created the Children's Task Force in September 2003 in response to concern about an increasing number of violent child deaths that have occurred in Nebraska in recent years. The charge of the Task Force was to assess the child protection system, identifying strengths and weaknesses, as well as to develop recommendations for improvements aimed at preventing future violent child deaths. Mary Jo Pankoke, Executive Director of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and Gary Lacey, County Attorney for Lancaster County, led the Task Force, comprised of 36 individuals representing various disciplines, areas of expertise, and interests.
The Task Force held 16 public forums across the State. More than 400 people attended, providing the Task Force with information to consider while formulating their recommendations. Forum attendees were asked to share ideas, as well as to comment upon: what is working well in the child protection system; what could be improved in the child protection system; and what community resources are available for parents. About 500 people participated in the forums. Comments from the public also were gathered via telephone calls, letters, emails, and input forms from the web page. The public input amounted to nearly 250 pages.
On the basis of the Task Force recommendations, Governor Johanns and the Nebraska Legislature funded several items:
The work of the Children's Task Force was most necessary and truly will make a difference in the lives of Nebraska's abused and neglected children.