Nebraska has ended a 12-year experiment in utilizing non-public foster care within the state after Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed Legislative Invoice 1173 final week.
In consequence, social employees with the Nebraska Division of Well being and Human Providers will now oversee youngster welfare providers for 2 counties within the Omaha space. The invoice comes after a state investigation discovered quite a few issues in the way in which non-public contractor Saint Francis Ministries managed youngster abuse and neglect circumstances there.
A September 2021 report by Inspector Basic of Youngster Welfare Jennifer Carter revealed widespread points with the Omaha-based nonprofit group, together with excessive caseloads, failures to go to youngsters positioned into foster care and delays in offering case plans and different documentation to the court docket.
In December, Nebraska terminated its contract with Saint Francis, although the company stays the state’s youngster placement company.
LB 1173 repealed the regulation that allowed non-public foster care suppliers to supply case-management providers on a pilot undertaking foundation. In 2009, Nebraska launched the trouble to privatize its youngster welfare system. Nonetheless, only a few years later, all however one of many suppliers have been unable to fulfill their contracts. The one remaining contract was for Douglas and Sarpy Counties, which embrace metropolitan Omaha. In 2019, the Lincoln-based nonprofit Nebraska Appleseed sued the state and two nonprofits there to halt the usage of non-public foster care there.
Earlier this month, the group’s chief celebrated the brand new regulation.
“LB 1173 recognizes Nebraska’s tumultuous and harmful history with privatization and that children and human services should never be for profit,” Nebraska Appleseed Youngster Welfare Director Sarah Helvey mentioned in a press release. “This legislation brings a monumental and positive shift in our child welfare system, providing more equality, services, and protections.”
As well as to ending the state’s foray into privatized foster care, LB 1173 additionally requires Nebraska to notify youth and their attorneys when the state receives their Supplemental Safety Earnings advantages and will increase entry to in-home intensive psychological well being providers.