To Report Child Abuse

Nebraska: 1 (800) 652-1999
Iowa: 1 (800) 362-2178

To Contact Us

(402) 595-1326
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
After hours by appointment only

Children and Family Services

Making a difference, one child at a time.

Project Harmony is boldly focused on ending the cycle of abuse and neglect in our community. Together, we strive to help every child who walks through our doors find the courage to share what they have experienced or witnessed.

Forensic Interview

A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to elicit detailed information about a possible event(s) that the child may have experienced or witnessed. Forensic interviewers have specialized training and ask non-leading, developmentally-appropriate questions in order to obtain the child’s story.

An interview is conducted at the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) when requested by law enforcement or the Department of Health and Human Services. It is video recorded and the information obtained is used to assist in either corroborating or refuting allegations or suspicions of abuse and neglect. Utilizing the Child Advocacy Center prevents the child from undergoing repetitive interviews, thereby reducing the child’s trauma.

Medical Exam

The purpose of the medical examination at Project Harmony is to help ensure the health, safety, and well-being of children seen at the CAC. Our providers have pediatric experience and expertise in child abuse and neglect. This specialized training assists them in differentiating medical findings that are indicative of abuse from those which may be explained by other medical conditions or caused by accident.

Project Harmony offers medical exams to all caregivers for their child as part of our array of services. In addition, we provide medical exams to children who have been removed from their homes by DHHS or law enforcement due to unsafe living conditions.

During the exam, medical providers also assess for any unmet medical needs and emotional or behavioral problems in which the child may benefit from further evaluation and treatment. Providers often find that the child and caregiver appear to benefit greatly from the reassurance and education provided through the exam.

Family Advocacy

When a child discloses abuse or neglect or witnesses a traumatic event, it is a highly stressful and overwhelming situation for the family. Our advocates play a key role in helping to support the child and caregiver(s) throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case.

They will explain to caregiver(s) what is happening, the role of each professional involved, and what will happen next. They offer support and assistance with referrals for resources such as counseling, financial assistance, and other community support needed to help them regain control of their lives.

Advocates continue to follow up with families after they leave Project Harmony to offer any ongoing support and additional assistance they may need.

Mental Health

Project Harmony has several providers on-site who provide evidence-based therapies to children and families who are seen at the CAC. We recognize that offering crisis counseling as an initial response to the trauma a child and family may be experiencing is critical to helping restore their sense of safety and starting the healing process.

In addition to the immediate crisis counseling, we have a range of evidenced-based treatments and other practices for trauma, which have strong empirical evidence in reducing the impact of trauma and the risk of future abuse. Without effective therapeutic intervention, many traumatized children could suffer ongoing or long-term adverse social, emotional, behavioral, and developmental outcomes that may impact them throughout their lifetimes.

Project Harmony provides trauma informed mental health services to children and families age birth through age 18 who are involved in an initial investigation or assessment of child maltreatment by law enforcement or protective services. Mental Health services will continue as needed and whether or not the case proceeds into the child welfare system.

Services are offered to the child, the protective parent, and to siblings who have been affected. Services are offered on-site and by referral to community providers who have the experience and training to treat traumatized children.

Missing Youth Services

In October 2017, Project Harmony was asked to become involved in a collaboration with the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, the Juvenile Assessment Center, and Omaha Police Department’s Child Victim Sexual Assault Unit around missing juveniles who are not system involved.

Recent Omaha Police data indicated from 12-01-16 to 12-01-17 there were 3,233 reports of missing juveniles under the age of 18 with 402 of the reports involving youth age 13 years and under. These youth are most vulnerable to sexual exploitation, sex trafficking and other victimization due to their young age and vulnerabilities.

For non-system involved youth, there is no current system in place to identify and assess for victimization and they continue to be at high risk for violence and exploitation with many exhibiting multiple run incidents.  As a Child Advocacy Center, Project Harmony felt a responsibility to help seek solutions to this wide spread community problem of our most vulnerable youth.

Through private funding we hired a full-time intake coordinator and a full-time mental health practitioner in August 2018 to assist in the identification, assessment, treatment, and coordination of services to our community’s non-system involved missing youth. The primary target population for this project will be children age 13 or younger, identified by the Omaha Police Division as missing, and without current DHHS Child Welfare or juvenile justice involvement. In addition, project resources will be available for youth age 14 and older, who are missing as capacity allows.

A triage system has been established for non-system involved missing youth to be brought to Project Harmony for a thorough mental/behavioral health assessment, medical exam, forensic interview (if needed), advocacy, crisis counseling with the youth and caretaker, and connection to appropriate community services.

A follow up multi-disciplinary team review will be conducted with current providers, DHHS, law enforcement, Juvenile County Attorney and other professionals with expertise working with non-system involved youth, human trafficking, trauma, etc. to ensure information sharing, comprehensive treatment planning and identification and development of any service/resource needs or gaps.

For this shadowing experience, I was able to shadow Nick Zadina, a training specialist at Project Harmony. The experience was by far one of my favorites. This experience helped sculpt my career path in that it made me realize there are so many options out there.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

We wish to thank you for your hospitality and the wonderful program and tour of Project Harmony. We are so fortunate to have an organization acting on the behalf of our children with such outstanding enthusiasm and dedication.

- Rotary Club of Omaha Northwest

Thank you so much for coming to Children’s and speaking to our staff. Your talk on “Understanding Poverty” was excellent, and I could see “wheels turning” as some staff members commented on simple ways their interactions might make a difference for children and parents.

- Patty Carrell, CMSW

I have felt that my input has been highly valued and respected when it comes to doing my job, and that is something that speaks volumes to the working environment here at Project Harmony.

- Brenda Jewell

We began collaborating with the Project Harmony through their Connections program last year, and we’ve continued the partnership. Connections represents an extremely valuable partnership and an opportunity to provide our students with a bridge to mental health services.

- Papillion La Vista Community Schools

Our experience and partnership with Project Harmony/Connections has been fantastic! It is a comfort knowing we have a partner who can connect our students and families with the appropriate resources in times of crisis or trauma.

- Millard Public Schools

This shadowing experience actually made me very interested in this field. One aspect that helped me narrow my choice of careers is the environment that Project Harmony had. It was very upbeat, cheerful and bright.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Project Harmony for planning and delivering professional development to our 70 counselors, social workers and community counselors. We feel fortunate to have such a valuable resource in our community to partner with.

- Millard Public Schools

You have a top rate program – really national quality. I’m totally impressed.

- Lisa Fontes

At our last D2 Center Board meeting, I was describing the training and professional development we provide for our staff. At the top of the list was Project Harmony. Please know that you are providing an invaluable service to nonprofits in our community.

- Greg Emmel

Congratulations on the great media coverage of your Stewards class at Project Harmony on WOWT. You did a great job articulating the importance of prevention, and Susan was amazing too. Thank you so much for your partnership and all the important work you are doing.

- Cindy McElhinney – Darkness to Light

Just wanted to know that you made a difference in my life, and I will be using that momentum to make a difference in the lives of others. You are truly a rock star and a role model for me. Thank you for a new life I’m getting the chance to live.

- Anonymous

Many children through my caseload have received a backpack generously donated to the Project Harmony Triage Center. I have witnessed many faces light up when given the opportunity to pick out a new backpack, and I am very grateful for the generosity of the Junior League.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

I have never felt as valued at other organizations like I do at Project Harmony. I really feel that the culture of a working environment is incredibly important. If an employee feels respected, valued and supported, that person will likely give more to fulfill the mission.

- Javier Castellote

Nick and Javier were great teachers and role players. It gave us an opportunity to see how someone in that situation would have reacted to our questions. They did a great job at showing us the difference between sympathy and empathy.

- Anonymous

I was able to shadow Mr. Nick Zadina. He was in charge of dealing with abused kids and help them. I am thankful to know all the information I learned during shadowing because it was eye opening.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

The experience at Project Harmony was a deepening reminder of empathy that will be vital in my career as a nurse. I felt my perspective was widened on how others think, especially when discussing the assumptions we make.

- Anonymous

I didn’t know how many people work at Project Harmony, so I drew a lot to show how much Project Harmony means to me!

- Project Harmony Client

As difficult as a removal is on a child, the backpack they receive at Project Harmony provides a sense of belonging and hope. It truly is amazing something that seems so simple can change the perspective and shine light on these children.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

Great leadership for a wonderful cause with outstanding long-term goals. Keep on doing all the good you do.

- Bill & Jean O’Conner

Project Harmony is the reason I started my journey in college. I just finished my associates and I'm going for my bachelors now in Child Protection and Juvenile Justice. Y'all helped my daughter back in early 2013 and I knew what I wanted to do with my life — help children.

- LaLa Ann

A young lady who works in our field told me that she loved what we do here at Project Harmony — she had been to Project Harmony seven years ago for a forensic interview. She said her positive experience was the biggest reason she is doing the work that she is today.

- Trainee

I found out that my foster son is going to have a forensic interview here at Project Harmony soon. It’s been interesting being on the other side of things and feeling so reassured that the child I care so deeply about is in very caring and capable hands.

- Jessica Kroeker

Nick demonstrated how one person could impact a huge group of student nurses by just attending his presentation. He gave me the reason, the courage to act, and the knowledge how to save victims that I will face in my future nursing career.

- Anonymous

I recently attended the Testifying Training course. Since that class I have been subpoenaed three times, and I had to testify at each hearing. Without this class I would have been less than prepared and too nervous to be credible. Thank you so much!

- Jenny Lewis

You are part of the solution.

The cycle of abuse does not have to continue, but we can’t end it alone. Anyone has the power to be someone who makes our community a safe place for all children.

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