For Jennifer Ludwig, family is not defined by blood.
“It's not just a mom and a dad and their natural born children anymore,” she says. “Family is anyone you care for – anyone under your roof. You know, biological or not.”
The Ludwigs are your modern family with two biological kids and four adopted children from the foster care system through Nova Treatment Community.
“There are a lot of children who need a home whether it'd be for temporary or permanent basis,” Ludwig says, whose family lives in Plattsmouth.
NOVA, known for its residential and substance abuse treatment facility, also operates a foster care program and it has grown in recent years.
“We actually increased our care to foster children by 32 percent,” says Nancy Wilson-Hintz, executive director of NOVA. “So we're very excited about that and we want to make sure that we're able to help as many children as possible.”
Families like the Ludwigs have helped the program.
For NOVA, adoption is not always the goal but they are looking for families that can help children until they are reunited with their biological parents.
However, it has run into a problem: the foster parent pool is too small.
Each month, they receive more than 100 referrals and have around 70 participating families.
“That's a lot – looking for placement for teenagers, for siblings,” says Tammy Scott, Child Welfare Services Manage at NOVA. “Right now, we have homes but they're either full or maybe they don't have the specialty in working with those kids.”
While the Ludwigs say they may take in another child, they are hoping other families will entertain the idea of becoming a foster parent.
For more information, click here or call NOVA Treatment Community at (402) 991-8573.