On Wednesday of last week, a community discussion was hosted by the Lancaster County Democratic Party at Gere Library in Lincoln. Nebraska Appleseed’s Sarah Helvey was invited to speak at the event which focused on Nebraska’s child welfare system and the progress of LR 37. LR 37 is an interim study which provides for the HHS Committee of the Legislature to review, investigate, and assess the effect of the child welfare reform. As part of this process, Nebraska Appleseed has testified at LR 37 hearings and also conducted a survey on attorneys’ perceptions of the child welfare privatization. Appleseed’s report on the attorneys’ survey and LR 37 testimony can be found here.
The event was an opportunity for people in the community to learn more about the LR 37 process. The event also provided an opportunity for community members to ask questions and share their experiences. We were encouraged by the number of people who attended the event. We know that many people in the community care and are concerned about what is happening in the child welfare system and want to see positive change occur. We believe the state is at a crossroads and has a tremendous opportunity now to turn around our child welfare system from one that ranks near the bottom nationally to one that has the potential to be a model for the country.
We commend the Legislature for their careful examination of this issue through the LR 37 process and their commitment to addressing deficiencies and improving the system. A final report from the Legislature’s LR 37 interim study is expected to be released in mid-December.