Child welfare in Nebraska

Nebraska’s governor, Pete Ricketts is recommending some budget cuts to child welfare that will impact foster care in Nebraska. Child advocates all across the State have many concerns regarding the potential effects of these proposed budget cuts. One of the main concerns is the fact that the budget cuts will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to take over support for half of foster children who are placed with family members or people they know. These are called relative and kinship placements.

The reason why there is legitimate concern about this is because social workers who work with DHHS already have trouble meeting their caseload standards under state law. The shift of half of relative and kinship placements moving to DHHS would increase the caseworkers’ responsibilities.

Most relative and kinship foster parents are currently receiving support from private agencies. It was reported during a discussion on the HHS-kinship issue in the Appropriations Committee that DHHS does not yet have an adequate plan to take over these cases.

What are your thoughts on this issue?