Friday, November 11, 2011

State and Local Officials Asked to Sign Interlocal Agreement for GOALS Initiative

Are you guys ready for the next battle in this “war on parenting”? Whether you are or not, it is here! Three months after the last onslaught of policy implementation we face another significant step designed to prevent parents from reclaiming their rights, lost in 2010 by a unanimous vote in the Unicameral.

Judge Crnkovich and the GOALS team are circulating a Memorandum of Understanding in regards to the Superintendent's Plan to Improve Student Attendance in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. The MOU acts as an interlocal agreement and statement of support from the department heads of county and city law enforcement, HHS, and county courts. Every sheriff, chief of police, county attorney, and county commissioner are being asked to approve the MOU as a sign of their support for the Mission, Guiding Principles and Vision of the GOALS Initiative.

When state authorities sign this agreement they will affirm their support for the stated beliefs that are the guiding principles of the GOALS Initiative. Among these are some very controversial statements, such as:
  • We believe that attendance at school is the single most important element to the student's ability to learn and be successful in school and life.
  • We believe and acknowledge that within our community, parents/adult caregivers are occasionally challenged in meeting the needs of their children.
  • We believe that unmet needs of children and families can contribute to non-attendance to school.
  • We believe and recognize that there is a strong correlation between early truancy, continued academic and behavioral problems, eventual school dropout and delinquent behavior development.
The unequivocal statement that school attendance is the "single most important element to the student's ability to learn and be successful in school and life" places too much weight on only one of many important factors that contribute to a child's ability to learn and be successful in life. I would argue that it is certainly not the most important factor. More important factors might be things such as, love at home, good discipline, intact families, faith in God, and the enrichment that comes from a good healthy balance between academics and other worthwhile pursuits.

A statement like, "parents are occasionally challenged in meeting the needs of their children", and the inference that the state should intervene when parents "occasionally" struggle to meet their children's needs, is extraordinary! Every parent is challenged to meet his or her children's needs every day; this is certainly no reason for the state to rush to fill in the blanks. These statements make the document a dangerous step down the wrong road.

If there was ever a time to step out of your comfort zone, move your schedules around, and take a stand to stop this speeding train, it is now! We need to have as many people present at the Douglas Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15th, at 9:00 a.m. in the Legislative Chamber of the Civic Center as possible. They will discuss the MOU and allow for public comments. I cannot stress enough how important it is that every one of you show up at this meeting.

If you can't make the meeting, below is a list of public officials who will be asked to approve the MOU. Please take some time to contact these persons and let them know your concerns. We have got to slow down this agenda and give ourselves time to sort the problems out in the legislature.

We have been literally running to keep up with the pace of this agenda, but it seems that they are always a step ahead. I believe that key proponents of this “project” are hastily moving forward with their agenda because every step they take to implement the law, policy, and practice makes it that much more difficult for their changes to be undone. Once freedoms are removed and a new “normal” is established, it is that much harder to restore what has been taken away.

We have to push back now, and hard! Come to the meeting Tuesday, we need you to be there! Your family needs you to be there!

Contact the public officials below:


MOU partners:

Ellen Brokofsky
Nebraska State Probation Administrator
Probation Administrator State Capitol
P. O. Box 98910
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8910
402-471-4140

Kerry WintererDHHS Chief Executive Officer
PO Box 95026
Lincoln, NE 68509-5026
402-471-9433

Don Kleine
1701 Farnam Street
Hall of Justice, Suite # 100
Omaha, NE 68183
(402) 444-7040

Nicole Goaley
Deputy County Attorney, Juvenile Division
Nicole.goaley@douglascounty-ne.gov

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Alex Hayes
OPD Chief of Police
(402) 444-5600

Sheriff Timothy F Dunning 
Douglas County Sheriff's Office
3601 N 156th St Omaha,
Nebraska 68116
(402)444-6641

Lee Polikov
Sarpy County Attorney
1210 Golden Gate Drive
Papillion, NE 68046-2889
402- 593-2230

Sarpy County Board of Commissioners

Jeff Davis
Sarpy County Sheriff
8335 Platteview Road
Papillion NE 68046
402-593-2288

Chief Leonard Houloose
Papillion Police Department
1000 East First Street
Papillion, NE 68046-7611
Phone: 402.597.2035

Chief John W Stacey
Bellevue Police Department
2207 Washington Street
Bellevue, NE 68005
402-293-3100

Chief Robert Lausten 
LaVista Police Department
7701 South 96th Street
La Vista, NE 68128
Phone: 402-331-1582

Chief Ron Murtaugh
Ralston Police Department
7400 Main St.
Ralston, NE 68127
402-444-5802

Chief Lester E Johnson
Bennington Police Department
11402 No. 156th St.
Bennington, NE 68007
(402)238-2067



Memorandum of Understanding: Greater Omaha Attendance and Learning Services (GOALS) Interlocal Agreement, Superintendent’s Plan to Improve Student Attendance in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

The purpose of MOU is to achieve the various aims and objectives relating to the Superintendent's Plan to Improve Attendance in Douglas and Sarpy County, and to the Greater Omaha Attendance and Learning Services Initiative (GOALS). This document is intended to state a set of shared principles for development and furtherance of development of program specific intergovernmental agreements among the parties.

The parties agree to work together in the true spirit of partnership to ensure that there is a united visible and responsive leadership of the GOALS initiative and to demonstrate financial, administrative, and managerial commitment by means of "in kind" services and collaboration in seeking alternative funding.

This MOU sets forth a framework to enable local and state government departments and school districts within Douglas/Sarpy County to create a viable system of truancy reduction and to meet the needs of children and families.

This MOU builds on the interdependent relationships of all those child and family service systems seeking to achieve individual and community based outcomes.

This MOU will create and sustain strategic relationships to maximize the potentially increase existing resources to be used at the local level.

This MOU will create and sustain strategic relationships to maximize and potentially increase existing resources to be used at the local level.

This MOU establishes a focused point of accountability for the success of cross-system work, known as the GOALS initiative.

By signing the MOU, NDHHS, DCA, Douglas/Sarpy County, State Probation, OPD, Sheriff, other law enforcement agencies and Separate Juvenile Court within Douglas County recognize the shared efforts, in support of the Superintendents of Schools in Douglas/Sarpy County, to create and maintain a highly functioning system of truancy reduction and service provision for children and families, and the parties agree to the following Mission, Guiding Principles and Vision:

Mission:

It is the Mission of the Parties to collaborate with the Superintendents of Douglas/Sarpy County and support their Plan to Improve Student Attendance.

Guiding Principles:

We believe that education is important for the success of our children and community.

We believe that attendance at school is the single most important element to the student's ability to learn and be successful in school and life.

We believe that parents/adult caregivers have the greatest influence on children for attendance and academic success.

We believe and acknowledge that within our community, parents/adult caregivers are occasionally challenged in meeting the needs of their children.

We believe that unmet needs of children and families can contribute to non-attendance to school.

We believe and recognize that there is a strong correlation between early truancy, continued academic and behavioral problems, eventual school dropout and delinquent behavior development.

We believe it is the responsibility of the community to support the children, parents/adult caregivers, and schools on attendance issues.

We believe that the GOALS initiative is a community resource that supports children.

Agreements:

WHEREAS the above listed agencies desire to enter into an agreement in which these parties will work together to participate in the GOALS initiative;

AND WHEREAS the establishment of a multidisciplinary collaborative is the most effective means to accomplish this purpose;

AND WHEREAS the parties are desirous to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding between them, setting out the working arrangements that each of the partners agree are necessary to further the GOALS initiative;

We recognize that the GOALS Initiative is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of youth at-risk for non-attendance, academic failure and school dropout. In furtherance of this initiative we additionally agree:

· Communication

· Accountability

· Resources

· Problem Solving

To participate in a multidisciplinary GOALS Initiative Leadership Team as established by the Superintendents of Douglas/Sarpy County by providing no less than 1 member, with administrative/decision making authority to represent each agency in this MOU.

To provide personnel to participate in regular multidisciplinary teams to assist in screening, assessment, and monitoring of youth whose attendance has become problematic and/or has reached the threshold for referral for prosecution.

To provide "in kind" personnel, where needed, and as available, to conduct case management services to children and families. In addition, such personnel will provide service referrals and service provision for families and youth.

To provide communication between and among all agencies involved with GOALS initiative youth.

To provide evidence based services only.

To collect data from a variety of sources to best assist the individualized needs of families.

To communicate with schools regularly to determine where school based services may need support and/or change.

To regularly monitor data to assure quality programming and that needs of youth are being met. Data collection and study will also address service deficits among the collaborative agencies in order to improve performance.

To provide individualized service plans for children and families.

To co-locate MOU participation personnel, so as to best achieve the success of the GOALS initiative to maximize the service provision to families and support this MOU and the Superintendents Plan to Improve Attendance.

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