Child Welfare

RELEASE: The Nebraska Legislature Passes Historic Child Welfare Bill

***For Immediate Release***
April 13, 2022

James Goddard
Programs Senior Director
Nebraska Appleseed
Mobile: 402-570-9462

The Nebraska Legislature Passes Historic Child Welfare Bill

Senators pass LB 1173, including several of Nebraska Appleseed’s long term priorities

LINCOLN, NE – Today, the Nebraska Legislature passed Legislative Bill (LB) 1173, which is an important and historic package of bills, including several of Nebraska Appleseed’s Child Welfare Program priorities:

  1. Ends privatization
    LB 1173 officially ends Nebraska’s decade long, failed experiment with the privatization of its child welfare case management services, taking away the State’s authority to contract out for these services.

    In 2019, Nebraska Appleseed’s client, Laura Virgl, brought suit seeking to end privatization and issued the following statement:

    “The Legislature’s ending of privatization is a monumental and correct move. The Legislature rightfully acknowledged the instability, inequality, and harm privatization has caused for Nebraska’s youth and families and that its experimenting with our most vulnerable can no longer continue.

    While this is a major milestone, we must not forget the true and irreparable harm Saint Francis Ministries’ actions have caused to children and families over the last few years. I am thankful no more families will be subjected to the same risk as a result of LB 1173.”

  2. Strengthens protections for youth in care receiving Social Security benefits
    LB 1173 takes important steps toward protecting youth in care receiving Social Security benefits, providing notification to them and their attorneys when the state receives their benefits. Current practice provides no notification, leaving youth to rarely, if ever, find out the State received and/or spent thousands of dollars of their benefits. LB 1173 allows youth to know they are receiving these benefits, to ensure they are, in fact, being used in their best interest.

  3. Brings Treatment Family Care to Nebraska
    LB 1173 also requires Nebraska to bring Treatment Family Care (TFC) services to Nebraska. TFC provides youth with mental and behavioral health needs too great to safely remain in their home, but who do not need inpatient or residential levels of care, a placement that provides services and treatment in a home-setting. TFC has proven to be effective and is desperately needed to fill a huge gap in placements for youth in Nebraska. Moreover, Nebraska is legally required to ensure the availability of TFC for youth, as Appleseed has asserted for several years. We thank the Legislature for its recognition of TFC’s importance and will monitor its implementation, to ensure all youth who need TFC can access it effectively. 

Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Director, Sarah Helvey, issued the following statement:

“We thank Senators Walz, Hunt, Machaela Cavanaugh, and Arch, as well as the Health and Human Services Committee, for their important work on each of these components. In particular, LB 1173 recognizes Nebraska’s tumultuous and harmful history with privatization and that children and human services should never be for profit. 

This legislation brings a monumental and positive shift in our child welfare system, providing more equality, services, and protections. We will be monitoring these changes to ensure all youth and families are receiving the services and supports they need to thrive in Nebraska.


Scroll to Top