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2010.01.08 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Students Develop LIFT System for Nebraska Children and Families Foundation

Omaha - Last December, 15 Information Technology students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) hosted a demonstration of their semester-long project – the Launch Information Foster Transitioning (LIFT) system – to the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF) and UNO’s Information Systems and Quantitative Analysis Department.

The graduate-level course, based in UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology, consists of a student-executed, real-world information systems design project to benefit the community by leveraging students’ skills honed during their master’s program toward a master’s of information systems degree. The fall 2009 class, under the guidance of Dr. Ann Fruhling and Maury Schooff, worked with Rosey Higgs from NCFF and Dr. Ann Coyne from the UNO School of Social Work to develop the LIFT online system.

NCFF is a non-profit organization that has served foster youth and the greater Nebraska area since 1997. The major concern facing foster youth is what’s called a “successful launch,” the process of releasing a youth from the care of a state-run foster program.

The current system that assists Nebraska’s foster youth with entering the community has room for improvement. Most foster youth find it difficult to locate necessary resources in their current city.

The LIFT system developed for NCFF aims to resolve a current lack of an efficient launch process. The LIFT system is a Web-based solution designed to prepare young adults for moving out of the foster care system at age 19. The program also supports caseworkers sponsoring those young adults in their transition to independent living and assists employees of NCFF with the launch process.

The main features and functions of the LIFT system are the resources, the checklist and the document vault.

The resource section is a Web-based database of searchable community resources with interactive Google Maps. It includes information on finding a job, preparing for educational opportunities, finding living arrangements, and more.

The checklist section is a user-based solution that can store information about upcoming and completed tasks available to youth adults. It allows youth to track their progress towards goals and caseworkers to track the activity of their charges as a shared responsibility.

The document vault is a secure, Web-based location where young adults can store their important documents in various formats. Examples include resumes and copies of school transcripts. The document vault provides both private and caseworker-shared storage accessible from anywhere via the Internet.

Lack of an effective IT-supported launch process is one of the most serious problems faced by most foster care institutes today. The launch of LIFT is designed to solve such problems, and could be adopted by foster care institutes around the country.

For more information contact Ann Fruhling: afruhling@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-4968; or Maury Schooff: mschooff@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-2673.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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