(1) The Nebraska Children's Commission shall create a statewide strategic plan to carry out the legislative intent stated in section 43-4201 for child welfare program and service reform in Nebraska. In developing the statewide strategic plan, the commission shall consider, but not be limited to:
(a) The potential of contracting with private nonprofit entities as a lead agency, subject to the requirements of subsection (2) of this section. Such lead-agency utilization shall be in a manner that maximizes the strengths, experience, skills, and continuum of care of the lead agencies. Any lead-agency contracts entered into or amended after April 12, 2012, shall detail how qualified licensed agencies as part of efforts to develop the local capacity for a community-based system of coordinated care will implement community-based care through competitively procuring either (i) the specific components of foster care and related services or (ii) comprehensive services for defined eligible populations of children and families;
(b) Provision of leadership for strategies to support high-quality evidence-based prevention and early intervention services that reduce risk and enhance protection for children;
(c) Realignment of service areas designated pursuant to section 81-3116 to be coterminous with the judicial districts described in section 24-301.02;
(d) Identification of the type of information needed for a clear and thorough analysis of progress on child welfare indicators; and
(e) Such other elements as the commission deems necessary and appropriate.
(2) A lead agency used after April 12, 2012, shall:
(a) Have a board of directors of which at least fifty-one percent of the membership is comprised of Nebraska residents who are not employed by the lead agency or by a subcontractor of the lead agency;
(b) Complete a readiness assessment as developed by the Department of Health and Human Services to determine the lead agency's viability. The readiness assessment shall evaluate organizational, operational, and programmatic capabilities and performance, including review of: The strength of the board of directors; compliance and oversight; financial risk management; financial liquidity and performance; infrastructure maintenance; funding sources, including state, federal, and external private funding; and operations, including reporting, staffing, evaluation, training, supervision, contract monitoring, and program performance tracking capabilities;
(c) Have the ability to provide directly or by contract through a local network of providers the services required of a lead agency. A lead agency shall not directly provide more than thirty-five percent of direct services required under the contract; and
(d) Provide accountability for meeting the outcomes and performance standards related to child welfare services established by Nebraska child welfare policy and the federal government.
(3) The commission shall review the operations of the department regarding child welfare programs and services and recommend, as a part of the statewide strategic plan, options for attaining the legislative intent stated in section 43-4201, either by the establishment of a new division within the department or the establishment of a new state agency to provide all child welfare programs and services which are the responsibility of the state.