STATEMENT: Child welfare contract creates concerns for Nebraska families

***For Immediate Release***
Monday, July 8, 2019

Contact: Magdalena Cazarez
Communications Director
Office: (402) 438-8853 Ext 119
Cell: (402) 504-0074
mcazarez@neappleseed.org

The new child welfare contract creates challenges and concerns for Nebraska

Nebraska’s child welfare system should ensure stability for children and families

 

LINCOLN – Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized the child welfare contract for Douglas and Sarpy counties with a Kansas-based company, St. Francis Ministries. Nebraska Appleseed and Voices for Children in Nebraska are disappointed in the Department of Administrative Services rejection of PromiseShip’s concerns raised in its protest regarding cost, caseloads, and the capacity to care for such a large portion of Nebraska’s children with reduced funding. 

 

Juliet Summers, Policy Coordinator for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice at Voices for Children in Nebraska: “In recent years, our state has made promising progress in reducing entries into foster care and referring children and families to strengths-based community services to meet their needs. Voices for Children believes in the potential of these changes to promote better outcomes for children and communities. But to do this safely and well, we must ensure that the system is robustly funded and frontline workers are well-supported to handle the complex needs that families present. We are highly concerned that the ongoing contract does not account for the full costs of child welfare in the Eastern Service Area, and that vulnerable children will bear the cost of this under-budgeting.”  

 

Sarah Helvey, Program Director for Child Welfare Program at Nebraska Appleseed:

Our child welfare system should ultimately serve in the best interests of children and families. The contract responsible for providing care to families in Douglas and Sarpy counties should ensure it has adequate funding to provide supportive community services and programs, caseloads in compliance with Nebraska law, and safety and stability for children and families. We remain concerned about the finalized contract and will continue to monitor this transition of the child welfare system.”

 

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  One Reply to “STATEMENT: Child welfare contract creates concerns for Nebraska families”

  1. Claudette Grinnell-Davis
    07/09/2019 at 10:04 am

    I am concerned about what just the transfer itself will do to the children’s permanency and well-being outcomes. PromiseShip’s staff are smart and savvy enough to read the writing on the wall and will think twice about applying to work with the new agency because they know, even if NEDHHS acts like it doesn’t matter, that this contract will result in workloads they cannot fulfill without risk of their own mental health, which will in turn result in greater worker turnover, which then will result in fewer children being reunified not due to their parents’ incapabilities, but due to system function. The downstream ramifications of this, in addition to Kerry Winterer’s well-presented fiscal concerns in the OWH op-ed, will result in the gains that have been made in the ESA being rolled back.

    Raising a child is the most economically inefficient thing a society can do; seeking fiscal shortcuts and confusing them with fiscal responsibility is flawed and short-sighted. The state of Nebraska must stop pretending that it can balance its budget on the backs of its most vulnerable citizenry.

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