(402) 597-3100


Building a better child welfare system



Today the HHS committee of the legislature has a hearing on LR 37 in Omaha.  Voices for Children has been invited to testify.  We will have more remarks (Updated below) after the hearing, but for now, we wanted to share a “fact sheet” that goes along with our testimony.

Our state’s child welfare “house” hasn’t been in order for some time.  The system as we currently know it much like a home in need of repair.

Building a Better Child Welfare System


Update:  I wanted to share with you a few highlights from the testimony I gave earlier today.

Voices for Children in Nebraska is grateful to the Health and Human Services Committee for their leadership in child welfare and juvenile services reform. We appreciate the opportunity to share our perspective and vision of what reform should look like going forward.

Since 2009, Nebraska has been struggling to reform its child welfare and juvenile services systems. This reform has focused primarily on privatizing service delivery and case management as a way to improve care to children and families. We know reform hasn’t succeeded: Nebraska has lost services; children, families and employees have gone through huge periods of transition and uncertainty; and Nebraska has not seen substantial improvement in its child welfare measures.

From Voices for Children’s perspective, the primary challenge associated with reform has been its lack of focus on children and families.  While we are not opposed to privatization, Nebraska was foolish to think that handing a broken system to the private sector, without focusing on fixing its flaws in a meaningful way, would have a significant impact.

There are four major steps that can make a significant impact on our child welfare and juvenile services system:

1.       Invest in prevention and family preservation services.

2.       Improve and develop a more complete structure of juvenile services.

3.       Provide clear structures of accountability and oversight.

4.       Ensure an experienced and knowledgeable leader heads the reform.

In the coming months, we as Nebraskans have a responsibility to focus child welfare debate on creating a child- and family-centered system. What is best for children and families is best for all of us. We look forward to working the committee, DHHS, and other stakeholders to chart a positive course forward.

We still have a long way to go in building a better child welfare system and the hardest steps are still ahead of us.  We welcome any comments, observations, or suggestions you have on finding a way forward.  Post a comment below and let us know.

Thank you to taking the time to share!

Post a comment