Name of group: Project Everlast
When started: 2002
Advocating for: the 5,595 foster youth in Nebraska
Sponsoring non-profit organization: The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation was founded in 1997 as Nebraska’s solution to preventing children from entering the child welfare system. The Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in, sparks and advances community solutions to create positive change for children by bringing public and private sectors together throughout the state to prevent problems that threaten the well-being of our children. Working with local, state and national partners, it promotes the importance of providing opportunities and services to families that help give children the best start to school and life.
In its nine years, Project Everlast has accomplished many things; highlights include:
- Successfully advocated for the passage of the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act (2013) – LB216 – which extends services to youth aging out of care until age 21.
- The Leadership Board and Foster Youth in Action develop a plan for training and support for 2012.
- Leadership Board (2010) – The Leadership Board acts as the governing body of Project Everlast and consists of Youth Leaders elected by each local chapter.
- Speakers’ Bureau (2010) – A group of trained Project Everlast members who provide presentations about their experience and how to improve the system to community members such as foster parents, direct service workers, judges, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and mental health practitioners, among many others.
- Know Your Rights Handbook (2008) – Created in partnership with the Center for Children Families and the Law for youth in care to help youth learn about the judicial system and their rights.
- Omaha Independent Living Plan (2007) – This planning process resulted in a four-year plan to improve outcomes for youth with foster care experience in the Omaha area. The plan covered six areas including education, employment, housing and daily living, physical and mental health, personal and community engagement and policy.
- Foster Care Bill of Rights (2005) – State resolution, LR 76, outlining ten rights to be afforded every youth in care.
- Foster Parent and Caseworker videos (2004) – Videos created to offer a youth perspective in Caseworker and Foster Parent Trainings.
- Foster Care Awareness Month Activities (2002-present) – Local council projects to celebrate youth and increase community awareness including postcard campaigns, community dinners and information booths.