43-4203. Nebraska Children's Commission; duties; establish networks; service area; develop strategies; committees created; use of facilitated conferencing; develop system-of-care plan; contents; analyze workforce issues.

(1) The Nebraska Children's Commission shall work with administrators from each of the service areas designated pursuant to section 81-3116, the teams created pursuant to section 28-728, local foster care review boards, child advocacy centers, the teams created pursuant to the Supreme Court's Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative, community stakeholders, and advocates for child welfare programs and services to establish networks in each of such service areas. Such networks shall permit collaboration to strengthen the continuum of services available to child welfare agencies and to provide resources for children and juveniles outside the child protection system. Each service area shall develop its own unique strategies to be included in the statewide strategic plan. The Department of Health and Human Services shall assist in identifying the needs of each service area.

(2)(a) The commission shall create a committee to examine state policy regarding the prescription of psychotropic drugs for children who are wards of the state and the administration of such drugs to such children. Such committee shall review the policy and procedures for prescribing and administering such drugs and make recommendations to the commission for changes in such policy and procedures.

(b) The commission shall create a committee to examine the Office of Juvenile Services and the Juvenile Services Division of the Office of Probation Administration. Such committee shall review the role and effectiveness of out-of-home placements utilized in the juvenile justice system, including the youth rehabilitation and treatment centers, and make recommendations to the commission on the juvenile justice continuum of care, including what populations should be served in out-of-home placements and what treatment services should be provided at the centers in order to appropriately serve those populations. Such committee shall also review how mental and behavioral health services are provided to juveniles in residential placements and the need for such services throughout Nebraska and make recommendations to the commission relating to those systems of care in the juvenile justice system. The committee shall collaborate with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Juvenile Justice Institute, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Center for Health Policy, the behavioral health regions as established in section 71-807, and state and national juvenile justice experts to develop recommendations. The recommendations shall include a plan to implement a continuum of care in the juvenile justice system to meet the needs of Nebraska families, including specific recommendations for the rehabilitation and treatment model. The recommendations shall be delivered to the commission and electronically to the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature annually by December 1.

(c) The commission may organize committees as it deems necessary. Members of the committees may be members of the commission or may be appointed, with the approval of the majority of the commission, from individuals with knowledge of the committee's subject matter, professional expertise to assist the committee in completing its assigned responsibilities, and the ability to collaborate within the committee and with the commission to carry out the powers and duties of the commission. No member of any committee created pursuant to this section shall have any private financial interest, profit, or benefit from any work of such committee.

(d) The Title IV-E Demonstration Project Committee created pursuant to section 43-4208 and the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee created pursuant to section 43-4212 are under the jurisdiction of the commission.

(3) The commission shall work with the office of the State Court Administrator, as appropriate, and entities which coordinate facilitated conferencing as described in section 43-247.03. Facilitated conferencing shall be included in statewide strategic plan discussions by the commission. Facilitated conferencing shall continue to be utilized and maximized, as determined by the court of jurisdiction, during the development of the statewide strategic plan. Funding and contracting with mediation centers approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution to provide facilitated conferencing shall continue to be provided by the office of the State Court Administrator at an amount of no less than the General Fund transfer under subsection (1) of section 43-247.04.

(4) The commission shall gather information and communicate with juvenile justice specialists of the Office of Probation Administration and county officials with respect to any county-operated practice model participating in the Crossover Youth Program of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University.

(5) The commission shall coordinate and gather information about the progress and outcomes of the Nebraska Juvenile Service Delivery Project established pursuant to section 43-4101.

(6) The commission shall develop a system-of-care plan beginning with prevention services through treatment services for the child welfare system based on relevant data and evidence-based practices to meet the specific needs of each area of the state. Such system-of-care plan shall include services that are goal-driven and outcome-based and shall evaluate the feasibility of utilizing performance-based contracting for specific child welfare services, including the feasibility of additional contractual requirements for service providers requiring services to all children without an option to deny service.

(7) The commission shall analyze case management workforce issues and make recommendations to the Health and Human Services Committee of the Legislature regarding:

(a) Salary comparisons with other states and the current pay structure based on job descriptions;

(b) Utilization of incentives for persons who work in the area of child welfare;

(c) Evidence-based training requirements for persons who work in the area of child welfare and their supervisors; and

(d) Collaboration with the University of Nebraska to increase and sustain such workforce.

Source:Laws 2012, LB821, § 3; Laws 2013, LB269, § 6; Laws 2013, LB530, § 6; Laws 2013, LB561, § 56; Laws 2014, LB464, § 33; Laws 2016, LB746, § 25.