LB 961 contains some of the major recommendations of the LR 37 report. Specifically LB 961 would:
- Return case management to the Department of Health Human Services by September 1, 2012;
- Require caseloads of case managers will be reduced by at least 10% each year until they meet national standards and requires; and
- Require case plans for voluntary cases in the child welfare system.
How will this affect kids and families in the system? We have major concerns that the first two parts of this bill – the return of case management to the state and the slow reduction of caseloads – will cause further instability and long periods of transition for children and families, increasing their likelihood of getting lost or stuck in the child welfare system.
At the end of the day, a child does not care who their case manager works for, but cares about the time they spend with them. What matters is that children and families get the services and supports they need to thrive. Whether the Legislature decides to stick with our privatized system or go back to a state-run system, Nebraska will need to invest the necessary resources and ensure that any changes or reform efforts have solid transition plans so that children and families have the stability they deserve.