On September 30th, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Boys and Girls Home and HHS have mutually agreed to terminate their contract with the state as one of three remaining lead agencies in the child welfare reform. Boys and Girls Home had the contract for the entire central, northern and western service areas of the state, creating a significant disruption for children and families in rural Nebraska.
This result is devastating, but it is not a surprise. When contracts with two of the original five lead agencies were terminated in April, the state had an opportunity to restructure the reform and prevent the further collapse of the system. Financial reports have indicated that the lead agencies were losing millions of dollars and incurring unsustainable losses, creating a ripple effect in the system. Children have missed or had delays in receiving critical services and visits with their parents. Yet the state failed to make the necessary changes.
In light of yesterday’s news and the events of recent months, the state must seriously reevaluate whether this privatization makes sense for Nebraska. Nebraska’s child welfare system has been failing for years. We cannot continue on this path. The well-being of thousands of children is at stake, and they cannot wait months and years for the state to truly reform the system and meet their obligation to children in care.