DHHS Highlights Newsletter_Volume 1 Issue 7

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Thursday, August 28, 2014 | Vol. 1, No. 7

DHHS’ Highlights is published by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for those interested in the latest information on health and human services issues. Please subscribe to or share the newsletter by clicking on the "Share" button.

Comfort Dogs Bring Their Calming Influence to GIVH


Golden retrievers Eddie and Moses, comfort dogs for Lutheran Church Charities, recently visited the Grand Island Veterans’ Home (GIVH).

Moses, born Nov. 5, 2011, has been visiting GIVH for about a year. Eddie, born Jan. 23, 2013, is new to the GIVH Pet Visitors Program.

“Comfort dogs are friends who bring a calming influence, allowing people to open up their hearts and receive help in times of need,” said Joanne Badura, administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator at GIVH. “We are so fortunate to have two comfort dogs in the area."

Golden Retrievers Eddie (left) and Moses recently visited members and staff at the Grand Island Veterans’ Home.

Public Health Promotes Nebraska Preparedness Month


September is Nebraska Preparedness Month and DHHS' Division of Public Health is helping to promote emergency and disaster readiness throughout the month.

“We know planning now saves lives later. Nebraskans can protect themselves and their families by being prepared," said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health, "We can’t prevent a disaster but we can be better prepared to respond to one.”

To learn more about how you can prepare yourself and your family for emergencies or disasters, check out DHHS' emergency preparedness resources and the National Preparedness Month website, www.ready.gov.

CFS Staff Promotes Foster Parenting at National Night Out


DHHS' Division of Children and Family Services (CFS) employees in Gering recently promoted foster parenting at the city’s National Night Out event.

More than 500 people attended the event and many of them stopped by the CFS booth. CFS staff members helped children make purses and dinosaurs out of paper plates while they shared important information about foster parenting.

The CFS staff members were pleased with the reception and plan to set up a booth at the event next year.

From left: In blue shirts, DHHS resource developers Valerie Cobos, Cathy Studt and Laura Pearson run a booth at Gering’s National Night Out event.

DHHS to Host "It’s My Life!" Conference in September


There’s still time to register for DHHS’ “It’s My Life!” Conference Sept. 22-24 in LaVista.

The conference is geared toward people with developmental disabilities, their parents or guardians, service providers and others who work with people with developmental disabilities.

Keynote speakers are Eustacia Cutler, Cathy Ficker-Terrill and Frank Pastizzo.

Breakout sessions will address a wide variety of subjects within five general tracks: behavioral, habilitation, health, leadership and Therap, a software system for providers who support people with developmental disabilities.

The conference will also feature artwork and entertainment by Nebraskans with development disabilities.

Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) credits are available.

CFS Director Provides Update on Child Welfare System


Thomas Pristow, director of DHHS’ Division of Children and Family Services (CFS), recently wrote a column detailing the division’s progress in the past year.

Some of the highlights include a reduction in state wards, the implementation of a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) system to analyze data and an increase in reimbursement rates for foster parents.

Pristow also highlighted new programs CFS will introduce soon, including: Alternative Response, a family-centered, strengths-based approach to child protective services, and the Bridge to Independence program, which will support young adults aging out of the foster care system.

“The commitment of CFS employees to our children is the biggest reason that our programs are working so successfully and why we will continue to make progress,” Pristow said.

DHHS, Other State Agencies Give Back with State Employees Charitable Giving Campaign


Throughout August, DHHS and other state agencies will participate in the Nebraska State Employees Charitable Giving Campaign.

Since 2003 the campaign has raised more than $4 million for Nebraskan charitable organizations.

This year’s campaign slogan “Over 400 ways to change a life…find one that speaks to you!” refers to the more than 400 charities involved.

Money raised by the campaign stays in Nebraska and supports organizations that provide disaster relief, educational programs, community outreach and support to people suffering from chronic illnesses.