43-4318. Office; duties; reports of death or serious injury; when required; law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys; cooperation; confidentiality.

(1) The office shall investigate:

(a) Allegations or incidents of possible misconduct, misfeasance, malfeasance, or violations of statutes or of rules or regulations of:

(i) The department by an employee of or person under contract with the department, a private agency, a licensed child care facility, a foster parent, or any other provider of child welfare services or which may provide a basis for discipline pursuant to the Uniform Credentialing Act;

(ii) Subject to subsection (2) of this section, the juvenile services division by an employee of or person under contract with the juvenile services division, a private agency, a licensed facility, a foster parent, or any other provider of juvenile justice services;

(iii) The commission by an employee of or person under contract with the commission related to programs and services supported by the Nebraska County Juvenile Services Plan Act, the Community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program, juvenile pretrial diversion programs, or inspections of juvenile facilities; and

(iv) A juvenile detention facility and staff secure juvenile facility by an employee of or person under contract with such facilities;

(b) Death or serious injury in foster homes, private agencies, child care facilities, juvenile detention facilities, staff secure juvenile facilities, and other programs and facilities licensed by or under contract with the department or the juvenile services division when the office, upon review, determines the death or serious injury did not occur by chance; and

(c) Death or serious injury in any case in which services are provided by the department or the juvenile services division to a child or his or her parents or any case involving an investigation under the Child Protection and Family Safety Act, which case has been open for one year or less and upon review determines the death or serious injury did not occur by chance.

The department, the juvenile services division, each juvenile detention facility, and each staff secure juvenile facility shall report all cases of death or serious injury of a child in a foster home, private agency, child care facility or program, or other program or facility licensed by the department or inspected through the commission to the Inspector General as soon as reasonably possible after the department or the Office of Probation Administration learns of such death or serious injury. For purposes of this subsection, serious injury means an injury or illness caused by suspected abuse, neglect, or maltreatment which leaves a child in critical or serious condition.

(2) With respect to any investigation conducted by the Inspector General pursuant to subdivision (1)(a) of this section that involves possible misconduct by an employee of the juvenile services division, the Inspector General shall immediately notify the probation administrator and provide the information pertaining to potential personnel matters to the Office of Probation Administration.

(3) Any investigation conducted by the Inspector General shall be independent of and separate from an investigation pursuant to the Child Protection and Family Safety Act. The Inspector General and his or her staff are subject to the reporting requirements of the Child Protection and Family Safety Act.

(4) Notwithstanding the fact that a criminal investigation, a criminal prosecution, or both are in progress, all law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys shall cooperate with any investigation conducted by the Inspector General and shall, immediately upon request by the Inspector General, provide the Inspector General with copies of all law enforcement reports which are relevant to the Inspector General's investigation. All law enforcement reports which have been provided to the Inspector General pursuant to this section are not public records for purposes of sections 84-712 to 84-712.09 and shall not be subject to discovery by any other person or entity. Except to the extent that disclosure of information is otherwise provided for in the Office of Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare Act, the Inspector General shall maintain the confidentiality of all law enforcement reports received pursuant to its request under this section. Law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys shall, when requested by the Inspector General, collaborate with the Inspector General regarding all other information relevant to the Inspector General's investigation. If the Inspector General in conjunction with the Public Counsel determines it appropriate, the Inspector General may, when requested to do so by a law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney, suspend an investigation by the office until a criminal investigation or prosecution is completed or has proceeded to a point that, in the judgment of the Inspector General, reinstatement of the Inspector General's investigation will not impede or infringe upon the criminal investigation or prosecution. Under no circumstance shall the Inspector General interview any minor who has already been interviewed by a law enforcement agency, personnel of the Division of Children and Family Services of the department, or staff of a child advocacy center in connection with a relevant ongoing investigation of a law enforcement agency.

Source:Laws 2012, LB821, § 25; Laws 2013, LB561, § 58; Laws 2014, LB853, § 28; Laws 2015, LB347, § 13; Laws 2016, LB954, § 3; Laws 2017, LB207, § 2.
Effective Date: August 24, 2017

Cross References