Omaha Public Radio News
12:42 am
Fri December 14, 2007

Westroads shootings create questions about childrens' mental health needs

Omaha, NE – Robert Hawkins was a ward of the state from September 2002 to August 2006. During that time, the state spent more than $265,000 for care at several residential treatment centers, day services, inpatient hospital treatment and a foster home for Hawkins. Still, he walked in to Von Maur and killed eight people before taking his own life. Kathy Moore of Voices for Children in Nebraska says Hawkins' case demonstrates the need for a fully funded mental health care system for young people, as well as extended treatment for youth who are no longer eligible for child services. Gregg Nicklas, CEO of Christian Heritage Foster Care, says more children are in need of stable, caring foster families. Omaha Public Radio's Katie Knapp recently spoke with Moore and Nicklas about what services are needed to help prevent incidents such as the Westroads shootings.