Nebraska Family Helpline
The Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660 makes it easier for families to obtain assistance by providing a single contact point 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained Helpline operators screen calls to assess immediate safety needs, identify the potential level of a behavioral health crisis, make recommendations or referrals to appropriate resources, and help callers connect to emergency resources or providers. The Helpline is supervised by licensed behavioral health professionals.
The state of Nebraska developed the Nebraska Family Helpline and Family Navigator Service as a result of Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 603. Passed in 2009, LB 603 focuses on improving access to behavioral health and other services for children and teens. The need for such services came to light after parents and guardians dropped off more than 30 children under Nebraska’s safe haven law before an age limit was added in late 2008. Most of those left off were teens or preteens with mental, emotional and behavioral problems. Many of the parents said they did not know where to turn for help. The Helpline is designed to give such families easier access to necessary services.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is contracting with Boys Town to provide both programs. Boys Towns’ experience in operating its own National Hotline which has handled more than 8 million calls from children, parents and others since its inception in 1989, allows them to be a perfect choice for operating the new Nebraska Family Helpline.
Boys Town is working in partnership with the Healthy Families Project, NAMI Nebraska and the Nebraska Family Support Network. This partnership identifies and enrolls available services in the state into the Helpline database. Members of these three groups serve as “Family Navigators,” helping families move through behavioral health systems and identifying other appropriate resources available in their communities.
This unique combination of family-serving agencies with experience in the behavioral health care system at the national, state and local levels will support and strengthen the system of care and services for youth and their families in Nebraska.