Nebraska Revised Statute 68-1211

Chapter 68


Case management of child welfare services; legislative findings and declarations.

The Legislature finds and declares that:

(1) The State of Nebraska has the legal responsibility for children in its custody and accordingly should maintain the decisionmaking authority inherent in direct case management of child welfare services;

(2) Training and longevity of child welfare case managers directly impact the safety, permanency, and well-being of children receiving child welfare services;

(3) Meaningful reform of the child welfare system can occur only when competent, skilled case managers educated in evidence-based child welfare best practices are making determinations for the care of, and services to, children and families and providing first-hand, direct information for decisionmaking and high-quality evidence to the courts relating to the best interests of the children;

(4) Maintaining quality, well-trained, and experienced case managers is essential and will be a core component in child welfare reform, including statewide strategic planning and implementation. Additional resources and funds for training, support, and compensation may be required;

(5) Notwithstanding the outsourcing of case management, the Department of Health and Human Services retains legal custody of wards of the state and remains responsible for their care. Inherent in privatized case management is the loss of trained, skilled individuals employed by the state providing the stable workforce essential to fulfilling the state's responsibilities for children who are wards of the state, resulting in the risk of loss of a trained, experienced, and stable workforce;

(6) Privatization of case management of child welfare services can and has resulted in dependence on one or more private entities for the provision of an essential specialized service that is extremely difficult to replace. As a result, the risk of a private entity abandoning the contract, either voluntarily or involuntarily, creates a very high risk to the entire child welfare system, including essential child welfare services;

(7) Privatization of case management and child welfare services, including responsibilities for both service coordination and service delivery by private entities, may create conflicts of interest because the resulting financial incentives can undermine decisionmaking regarding the appropriate services that would be in the best interests of the children. Additionally, such privatization of child welfare services, including case management, can result in loss of services across the spectrum of child welfare services by reducing market competition and driving many providers out of the market;

(8) Privatization of case management and of child welfare services has resulted in issues relating to caseloads, placement, turnover, communication, and stability within the child welfare system that adversely affect outcomes and permanency for children and families; and

(9) Private lead agency contracts require complex monitoring capabilities to insure compliance and oversight of performance, including private case managers, to insure improved child welfare outcomes.