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LB 961: Create a Privatization Pilot Project and Establish Caseload Standards

As Introduced: LB961 required all case management responsibilities to return to DHHS employees by September 1, 2012 including all court-involved and voluntary cases. The bill also required a ten percent reduction in caseloads of employees each year until Nebraska would be compliant with national CWLA standards. The bill also realigns service areas to match district court judicial districts, specifies that the lead agency model cannot be used in the Central, Northern, or Western Service Areas, and that the current lead agency contracts cannot be extended beyond July 1, 2013.

As Amended: The amended bill establishes DHHS employees as the case managers for all cases by April 1, 2012, except in the Eastern Service Area. DHHS is permitted to contract with a lead agency and establish a pilot program with conditions, performance outcomes, and oversight, including reports, evaluation and monitoring outlined in LB1160, compliance with a new statewide strategic plan developed by the Children’s Commission and assurance of the financial viability of the lead agency. The HHS Committee will make recommendations on changes to and the continuation of the pilot project before April 2013 and introduce legislation to the effect.

Caseloads in Nebraska for both DHHS and the pilot project agency must range between 12 and 17 by September 1, 2012. Caseloads will be based on the number of families if children are placed in their homes, and the number of children if the child is placed in out-of-home care. These caseloads must still be complied with even if the child is not formally a ward of the state. DHHS and pilot project reporting on caseloads should include information about the workloads of staff, and take the CWLA workload standards into account.

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

Committee: Health and Human Services

Committee Hearing Date: January 26, 2012

Current Status:  Signed by the Governor, April 9, 2012.

Estimated Fiscal Impact: The fiscal impact of compiling with caseload standards was incorporated into the main budget bill. The bill itself therefore had no fiscal impact.

Voices for Children’s Position: Neutral as introduced (see our testimony here); Support amended version.

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