Collaborative Initiatives

Community Response

Community Response is a coordinated system of supports and services for families, children and youth to strengthen families and build protective factors. The work of Community Response connects children and families in Lincoln and Lancaster County to case management support, behavioral health services and flex funding to meet a variety of needs through a central navigation system. It is a program that can prevent families and youth from unnecessary entry or re-entry into higher-end systems of care.

What is Community Response

Community Response is a free/voluntary program where coaches work with families up to a 90- day period to help navigate and access resources in the community, increase families' protective factors, and problem solve and address challenges a family may be facing.

Informational Flyer for Partner Agencies


Community Response Brochure for Parents

Program Goals

Increase protective factors to strengthen nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and child development, parental resiliency, social connections and basic supports;
Reduce entry into the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.


Eligibility requirements are few. The family must live in Lancaster County, have children in the home or be expecting, and not have an active/open case with NDHHS Children and Family Services (CPS).

The family or young adult typically has one or more of the following challenges: Need more one-on-one support; they have no formal or informal supports in place; they may be new to the community; basic need are not being met; there is a high level of risk for potential CPS involvement; risk factors present related to trauma history (ACEs); no other services available due to eligibiity criteria causing a gap; high level of parental/caregiver frustration or stress.

Types of Support

A coach is assigned to meet with the family and make connections to needed supports. Examples of what coaches can provide:

  • Provide parenting coaching in the home;
  • Help families find safe, affordable housing;
  • Help connect food insecure families to resources in the community;
  • Help families apply for benefits and help track the status of those applications;
  • Help with budgeting;
  • Help families find and maintain employment.

Families working with a coach are able to access flexible funding which can help pay for items that help to increase the family's protective factors. Examples of items flex fund can help with are minor car repairs, one-time rental deposit, assistance with rent and utilities, home repairs, basic household needs, diapers, costs associated with State ID, pest control, child care enrollment costs, parenting classes, GED costs, work uniform requirements and the like. Flexible funding s not available for same-day support.

Partner Agencies

Community Response is a primary prevention initiative funded by Nebraska Children and United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County. Funded partner agencies provide coaches and therapists and include:

  • Community Action
  • Community Learning Centers
  • Family Service of Lincoln
  • HopeSpoke
  • Lutheran Family Services
  • The HUB

Coaches and therapists are located in the community and also in targeted schools including Belmont, Campbell, Clinton, Dawes, Elliott, Everett, Goodrich, Hartley, Holmes, Huntington, McPhee, North Star, Park, Prescott, Riley and Saratoga. To refer a family, you can contact your school-based coach directly or call our Central Navigator.

Contact Information

To Make A Referral
Sam Gross


Lynn Ayers