Yesterday, following a letter from the Governor agreeing to hold off on contracting with a new lead agency to provide child welfare services in the rural areas of the state until June 2012, the Legislature voted to delay consideration of LB 95. (As a reminder, LB 95 would have placed the moratorium the Governor promised into statute and also would have required lead child welfare agencies to be accredited.)
The moratorium agreement is consistent with calls from Appleseed and other advocates to slow down the privatization until the system is stabilized and an independent evaluation has been conducted to understand the problems experienced over the course of the last year. We would have liked to see the moratorium agreement solidified in statute and the accreditation bill advance this session. But it is a positive step that the State has finally heeded calls to slow down and we will continue to monitor this issue to insure the moratorium agreement is followed.
So, thank YOU for your calls to senators! We believe your voices helped to draw the attention of the Legislature and the Governor for the need to place much needed oversight measures into place before moving forward with further privatization.
At the same time, we are disappointed that the Legislature decided not to move forward with LB 433 this year, which would have put basic accountability measures into place this session to address known deficiencies and to provide policy directives designed to improve the provision of services for children and families currently served by private agencies in Lincoln, Omaha and surrounding areas.
However, Appleseed will continue to work with the Legislature in the interim on LR 37, which provides for the HHS Committee of the Legislature to review, investigate, and assess the effect of the child welfare reform, and advocate that the results of this process are to implement much needed accountability and appropriate oversight into the system.
Children and families in the system don’t have time to wait. Appleseed will continue to work for true reform of the child welfare system.