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Immigration Law Intersections with Case Law in Nebraska: A Snapshot of Nebraska Supreme Court Cases

March 9, 2022

This report from the ACLU of Nebraska is a resource for attorneys and advocates who work on behalf of Nebraska's immigrant communities. It explains influential Nebraska Supreme Court cases and their effects on immigrants' daily lives, rights to state benefits, and rights in the civil and criminal court systems.

Key Funding Streams to Keep Families Supported, Connected and Safe

February 14, 2022

The Family First Prevention Services Act provides an important opportunity for child welfare leaders to support families with Title IV-E funding. However, Family First is just one piece of the puzzle.Developing an array of services to meet family needs requires child welfare leaders to understand funding that is administered by other agencies and to work across sectors to support a broad range of services.This quick, four-page brief highlights federal funding streams that can support a continuum of services to prevent children from entering the child welfare system and foster care. It also shares examples of how communities are leveraging such funding streams at the local level. 

Six Strategies for Keeping Families Supported, Connected and Safe

February 14, 2022

In recent years, two concurrent factors have led to an increased focus on how child welfare leaders can work with partners to support families to stay together: the 2018 passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act, which created new approaches to a child welfare funding stream to prevent the need for foster care, and a heightened awareness of how discriminatory policies and practices within child welfare lead to unnecessary disruption and separation of families of color.Many states are expanding their efforts to support families and creating new partnerships to fund those efforts. The Annie E. Casey Foundation profiled six innovative efforts across the country. While the focus and stage of development of these partnerships vary, six strategies emerged as important to successful and effective coordination of resources to prevent system involvement and keep families supported, connected and safe.

Marginal Effects of Merit Aid for Low-Income Students

September 1, 2020

Financial aid from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) provides exceptionally generous support to a college population similar to that served by a host of state aid programs. In conjunction with STBF, we randomly assigned aid awards to thousands of Nebraska high school graduates from low-income, minority, and first-generation college households. Randomly assigned STBF awards boost bachelor's (BA) degree completion for students targeting four-year schools by about 8 points. Degree gains are concentrated among four-year applicants who would otherwise have been unlikely to pursue a four-year program. Degree effects are mediated by award-induced increases in credits earned towards a BA in the first year of college. The extent of initial four-year college engagement explains heterogeneous effects by target campus and across covariate subgroups. Most program spending is a transfer, reducing student debt without affecting degree attainment. Award-induced marginal spending is modest. The projected lifetime earnings impact of awards exceeds marginal educational spending for all of the subgroups examined in the study. Projected earnings gains exceed funder costs for low-income, non-white, urban, and first-generation students, and for students with relatively weak academic preparation.

Equality Before the Stop: Analyzing Racial Bias in Traffic Stops and Identifying Solutions to End Racial Profiling

August 1, 2019

To better understand the Nebraska landscape on law enforcement agencies' efforts to end racial profiling, the ACLU of Nebraska utilized census data to identify 12 of Nebraska's most populous and racially diverse counties. We sent an open records request to every law enforcement agency in those 12 counties, for a total of 23 agencies that included city police, county sheriffs, and the Nebraska State Patrol. Note that two of the 23 law enforcement agencies did not respond to our request: Johnson County Sheriff's office and Schuyler Police Department. Our open records request sought two categories of information: 1) whether the agency had an anti-racial profiling policy and 2) information about any anti-bias trainings or implicit bias trainings attended by any member of the agency in the last two years.

From the Classroom to the Courtroom: A Review of Nebraska's School Police Programs

December 1, 2018

Nebraska has 244 public school districts educating nearly 324,000 children. Approximately twenty-four percent of Nebraska public school students are people of color. Consistent with national trends, students of color are disproportionately overrepresented in schools contracting with law enforcement agencies to place police in schools. According to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) data, during the 2015-2016 school year, 1,502 Nebraska students in public schools with school police were referred to law enforcement by their school. Additionally, some counties in Nebraska have schools with police, but no counselor, social worker, or nurse.In Nebraska, consistent with national trends, there is a growing practice of using police officers in our schools. Despite this trend, there is no state-specific data on school police aside from the federal data collected by the OCR. The OCR requires schools to report the demographic data of those students referred to law enforcement and the number of law enforcement officers found in each school district, yet it does not track other important metrics. As reflected in this report, we have an incomplete, yet disturbing picture of these programs. 

Profiles in Parole Release and Revocation Nebraska

April 24, 2017

Nebraska employs both indeterminate sentencing (for offenders convicted of serious felonies) and determinatesentencing (for offenders convicted of relatively less serious felonies and misdemeanors). The state does nothave a sentencing commission or sentencing guidelines. Parole in Nebraska was established in 1893 with theGovernor possessing the sole power to parole. Nebraska's Board of Parole has been operating since 1968 as an independent constitutional agency.

Exploring the Green Infrastructure Workforce: Jobs for the Future

March 28, 2017

How many people work in green infrastructure? What are the jobs? What level of compensation do they offer? What are the educational requirements? How much potential is there for job creation as green infrastructure investments increase? How is the green infrastructure workforce within the six U.S. cities examined for this report similar to—or different than—that in the nation as a whole?This issue brief attempts to answer these and other questions about current and emerging workforce trends related to the rise in green infrastructure activities. It summarizes the results of research conducted by Jobs for the Future (JFF) as part of NatureWORKS, a national initiative to understand the jobs, careers, skills, credentials, and potential of the U.S. green infrastructure workforce. The study was funded by the U.S. Forest Service's National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, NUCFAC.The research focused on occupations involved in the direct installation, maintenance, and inspection (IMI) of the green infrastructure (GI) and their first-line supervisors. This report describes the GI-IMI involvement of occupations whose work includes green infrastructure activities. It also discusses the emerging movement to certify green infrastructure workers in the stormwater management field as a way to both raise the quality of GI work and promote green infrastructure implementation, thereby expanding the workforce.

Immigration: A Demographic Lifeline in Midwetern Metros

March 23, 2017

This report focuses how immigrants have helped offset native-born population loss and revitalized an aging workforce by examining 46 Midwestern metro areas as a refresh of a similar study published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014. Metro areas are a useful barometer by which to measure the impact of immigration because the economies of central cities and their suburbs are tightly connected and because large immigrant communities are found in both central cities and suburbs of metro areas. Also, the extent to which immigration matters to metro-area economies heightens the importance of immigration as an issue and raises the stakes for immigration reform.

Is Federal Crop Insurance Policy Leading to Another Dust Bowl?

March 23, 2017

As the southern Great Plains get hotter and drier, is federal policy that encourages farmers not to adapt to climate change leading to another Dust Bowl?That's the troubling question raised by a new EWG report that shows how a provision in the federal crop insurance program provides a strong financial incentive for growers to plant the same crops in the same way, year in and year out, regardless of changing climate conditions. What's worse, this program is focused on the same southern Great Plains counties hit hardest by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the worst man-made environmental disaster in American history.The federal crop insurance program guarantees farmers' earnings from their crops won't fall below a percentage of their usual income. The percentage is set based on a multi-year average of a farmer's actual crop yields. Averaging good and bad years grounds the program in reality.But a provision called the Actual Production History Yield Exclusion – snuck into the 2014 Farm Bill during conference negotiations – allows growers to drop bad years from their average crop yield calculations. The government simply pretends these bad years didn't happen. In some cases, more than 15 bad years can be thrown out when calculating the average yield, resulting in artificially inflated insurance payouts.It makes sense for crop insurance to give growers a break if they're occasionally hit by one or two bad years, but keeping growers on a treadmill of failed crops and insurance payouts is foolish. Helping farmers adapt to the new weather conditions would be considerably better, and was exactly what helped growers survive the Dust Bowl and return to productivity.The southern Great Plains are getting hotter and drier. Drought has been common over the last 10 years and forecasts show the number of days above 100 degrees quadrupling by 2050. Implementing conservation practices to adapt to changing climate conditions is vital for growers who want to stay in business.Some, but not enough, growers are already adopting conservation techniques in this region. Savings from ending the misguided yield exclusion policy could be used to help more growers change the way they farm to face the challenges posed by a changing climate.

It Takes a Village: Diversion Resources for Police and Families

June 27, 2016

Police frequently encounter youth running away from home, violating curfew, skipping school, and chronically disobeying adults—misbehavior that can often stem from family conflict and that do not require justice involvement. When alternatives are not available, however, these behaviors can lead to arrests or detention. Families dealing with difficult youth behavior often unwittingly send their youth into the justice system by calling the police because they feel they have nowhere to turn for help. For police, encountering these kinds of situations can be frustrating because they feel limited to suboptimal choices: either ignoring the problem behavior or criminalizing it.This brief explores the creative, collaborative, and community-focused work being done in Nevada, Connecticut, Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon to find productive responses to youth "acting out."  The juvenile assessment resource centers, crisis response centers, and crisis intervention teams in these jurisdictions address the needs of youth and connect families to resources and services without the need for juvenile justice involvement.

State Profile Nebraska: Assets and Opportunity Scorecard

February 11, 2016

The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.