(1) The Department of Health and Human Services shall supervise all public child welfare services as described by law. The department and the pilot project described in section 68-1212 shall maintain caseloads to carry out child welfare services which provide for adequate, timely, and indepth investigations and services to children and families. Caseloads shall range between twelve and seventeen cases as determined pursuant to subsection (2) of this section. In establishing the specific caseloads within such range, the department and the pilot project shall (a) include the workload factors that may differ due to geographic responsibilities, office location, and the travel required to provide a timely response in the investigation of abuse and neglect, the protection of children, and the provision of services to children and families in a uniform and consistent statewide manner and (b) utilize the workload criteria of the standards established as of January 1, 2012, by the Child Welfare League of America. The average caseload shall be reduced by the department in all service areas as designated pursuant to section 81-3116 and by the pilot project to comply with the caseload range described in this subsection by September 1, 2012. Beginning September 15, 2012, the department shall include in its annual report required pursuant to section 68-1207.01 a report on the attainment of the decrease according to such caseload standards. The department's annual report shall also include changes in the standards of the Child Welfare League of America or its successor.
(2) Caseload size shall be determined in the following manner: (a) If children are placed in the home, the family shall count as one case regardless of how many children are placed in the home; (b) if a child is placed out of the home, the child shall count as one case; (c) if, within one family, one or more children are placed in the home and one or more children are placed out of the home, the children placed in the home shall count as one case and each child placed out of the home shall count as one case; and (d) any child receiving services from the department or a private entity under contract with the department shall be counted as provided in subdivisions (a) through (c) of this subsection whether or not such child is a ward of the state. For purposes of this subsection, a child is considered to be placed in the home if the child is placed with his or her biological or adoptive parent or a legal guardian and a child is considered to be placed out of the home if the child is placed in a foster family home as defined in section 71-1901, a residential child-caring agency as defined in section 71-1926, or any other setting which is not the child's planned permanent home.
(3) To insure appropriate oversight of noncourt and voluntary cases when any child welfare services are provided, either by the department or by a lead agency participating in the pilot project, as a result of a child safety assessment, the department or lead agency shall develop a case plan that specifies the services to be provided and the actions to be taken by the department or lead agency and the family in each such case. Such case plan shall clearly indicate, when appropriate, that children are receiving services to prevent out-of-home placement and that, absent preventive services, foster care is the planned arrangement for the child.
(4) To carry out the provisions of this section, the Legislature shall provide funds for additional staff.