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LB 1160: Reporting and Data Requirements for Child Welfare

As Introduced: The bill requires DHHS to report to the Legislature by December 1, 2012 on their plans for implementation and the cost and schematics of a new web-based, statewide automated child welfare data system. The new data system is required to:

  1. Improve efficiency for caseworkers and access to key information that correlate with state policy and practice goals,
  2. Provide key information for case decisions including history of prior involvement and data management for caseload and workload review,
  3.  Establish integrated payment processes and procedures,
  4.  Improve capacity of case managers to do their work,
  5. Be linked to  performance dashboards and information about community-based resources and available placements,
  6. Integrate information across a variety of systems including court processes, Medicaid, financial processes, and child support,
  7. Be compatible with different vendor platforms to allow for easy data sharing,
  8. Allow for easy access to policy and procedure as well as alerts and reminders for deadlines,
  9. Be accessible 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week, and
  10. Provide for greater oversight and accountability while meeting federal requirements for data systems.

The bill also requires DHHS report on or before September 15 to the Legislature on a number of measures:

  1. Percentage of children served and the allocation of the child welfare budget by service provider and service area;
  2. The number of siblings placed together by service area and lead agency as of June 30, 2012.
  3. The number of children receiving substance abuse and behavioral health services, including at the Hastings Regional Center, children made state wards to access treatment,  and funding sources and expenditures for children’s behavioral health.
  4. The level of education of case managers, average caseload, average number of case managers for each child over the past 12 years, average number of case managers for a child involved in the system for 3, 6, 12, and 18 months.
  5. Monthly caseworker turnover,  face-to-face contacts between the case manager and child and their parents, and documentation of monthly family team meetings, contacts with children, parents, and service providers, timeliness of court reports, and information on the type and length of time non-court involved cases receive services.
  6. The number of placements of children in residential treatment environments and the reasons for their commitment and information on any Medicaid denials of coverage.
  7. Information on lead agencies financial status and accounts payable.

The bill also requires a number of child welfare stakeholders in each service area are surveyed annually and that lead agencies report to child advocacy centers. Every September 15, DHHS must report to the Legislature on the status and ability of any lead agencies.

The bill also requires that DHHS hire a national evaluator to assess how successful privatization has been, a readiness assessment of DHHS and lead agencies for case management work, and a review of placements of children in residential treatment. The evaluation must be completed by December 1, 2012.

As Amended: The amendment adds a number of requirements:

  1. DHHS must work with the Foster Care Office (successor to the Foster Care Review Board) to plan for and implement that data system.
  2. DHHS must prepare the planning document for federal funding for the automated data system by December 1, 2012 and include an plan on the operation and management of the data system once it is implemented.
  3. The amendment adds the content of LB 774, requiring DHHS to turn in its annual reports on September 15 on the following: 1) Child caring agencies’ condition, management, and competency to care for juveniles its care; 2) The commitments, placements, facilities and programs that serve wards of the Office of Juvenile Services (OJS); 3)A summary of programs and services provided to children and families that aim to satisfy the Family Policy Act; 4) A report on caseloads of child protective service workers; 5) An annual review of the children’s behavioral health programs established after the Safe Haven Crisis: the Nebraska Family Helpine; the Family Navigator Program; and Right Turn (post-adoptive and post-guardianship assistance); 6) The number of waivers provided to foster placements and the number of children living in relative foster homes; 7) An annual report from the Child Death Review team. The HHS Committee also must report to the Governor, the Legislature, and the Chief Justice on December 15, 2012 and the two years following on the progress made in implementing the LR 37 recommendations.
  4. A report from the Division of Children and Family Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Behavioral Health, and Division of Medicaid and Long-term care must be submitted by December 1, 2012, summarizing how individuals with co-occurring needs are currently served, identifying gaps and differences in funding sources, and recommendations for any statutory changes that may help address gaps.

Introducing Senator: Health and Human Services Committee (Campbell, Gloor, Bloomfield, Howard, Krist, Lambert), Pirsch – Performance Audit Priority Bill

Committee: Health and Human Services

Committee Hearing Date: February 8, 2012

Current Status:  Signed by the Governor, April 11, 2012.

Estimated Fiscal Impact: The bill provides costs a total of $431,097 from the General Fund and $281,097 in federal funds with the following breakdown: $500,000 for a data management plan and design; $62,194 for two business analysts; and $150,000 for an evaluator in FY’13.

Voices for Children’s Position: Support (see our testimony here).

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