HHS lays out child welfare plans - Omaha.com
Published Friday, February 24, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 2:34 am
HHS lays out child welfare plans

LINCOLN — Nebraska will pay $6 million to the Kansas-based KVC even after the contractor stops managing child welfare cases for the state.

State officials said Thursday the money is to ensure the state can have continued access to case files and data.

It's also to make certain KVC pays all of its subcontractors, said Scot Adams, interim children and family services director for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The money would come from about $20 million worth of unused funds within the HHS budget, which officials hope to shift into child welfare.

HHS provided more information to state lawmakers Thursday about the sources and potential uses of those funds.

Along with additional money for KVC, the department plans a $6.7 million increase for the state's remaining private child welfare contractor through June 30.

Earlier Thursday, officials announced that the remaining contractor, the Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative, would take over cases previously managed by KVC.

State officials said the change will take place March 1. KVC previously announced that it would stop managing child welfare cases as of Feb. 29.

KVC has been responsible for the safety and well-being of all abused and neglected children in southeast Nebraska and one-third of those in the Omaha area.

The collaborative has been responsible for the remaining two-thirds of the Omaha cases.
Dave Newell, the collaborative's executive director, said the organization will seek to hire former KVC workers to minimize disruptions.

Kerry Winterer, CEO of the State Department of Health and Human Services, said the collaborative's “stronger presence” and relationship with the department will stabilize the child welfare system.

State caseworkers will resume management of cases in the southeast area, including Lincoln.
State workers already manage cases in the central, western and northern parts of the state.

HHS officials said they want to continue their two-year experiment with privatization in the eastern area.
Adams said the private sector has much to contribute to child welfare reform.

“We can learn from private agencies like NFC that have access to cutting-edge research and data systems and the ability to be more flexible to changing dynamics,” he said.

The Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would return case management duties to the state for all areas. But committee members left open the possibility of altering the bill later, in light of this week's developments.

The bill grew out of the committee's investigation into the privatization initiative, which increased state spending on child welfare by 27 percent and left the system in turmoil.

Three of the five original contractors lost or dropped their contracts within the first year of the initiative.

Along with the $20 million that HHS plans to reallocate in the current fiscal year, officials are seeking a $19.7 million increase in child welfare funding for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The increase is needed to bring caseloads down statewide to a nationally recommended standard, Adams said.

Manageable caseload sizes have been identified as key to allowing workers time to help children and families and to reducing caseworker turnover.

Some $7.2 million of the funds for the current fiscal year would go toward hiring more caseworkers in the central, western and northern areas of the state and toward paying for the rising costs of services to children and families.

Some of the $6.7 million increase in the collaborative's contract also would pay for higher-than-expected costs of services.

HHS officials could not provide information late Thursday about whether the increase included the cost of caring for the additional children as well.

Newell said it was “premature” to provide numbers. He said the collaborative is still negotiating with HHS about a new contract and new payment method.

A small portion of the $20 million would be available to encourage the development of new child welfare services.

Contact the writer:
402-473-9583, martha.stoddard@owh.com

Contact the writer: Martha Stoddard

martha.stoddard@owh.com    |   402-473-9583    |  

Martha covers the Nebraska Legislature, the governor, state agencies, and health, education and budget issues out of our Lincoln bureau.

Explosion near 29th, Woolworth damages vehicles
Omaha police arrest man, 19, accused in March shooting
Earth gets its day in the sun at Elmwood Park
Beau McCoy strikes Obama doll in TV ad; Democrats are not happy
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
No injuries after fire at midtown's old Mercer Mansion
Financial picture improving for city-owned Mid-America Center
Police: Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs
It's a pursuit of pastel at Spring Lake Park's Easter egg hunt
Keystone XL pipeline backers blast 'political expediency' as foes hail ruling to delay decision
29-year-old Omahan arrested for 22nd time in Lincoln
Nebraska senators to study tax issues over break
Portion of Saddle Creek Road closed after water main break
Teenager arrested after woman's purse is snatched outside Omaha store
Police identify 21-year-old shot in ankle near 30th, W Streets
Cult murderer's death row appeal denied, but execution in limbo
Interstate construction to cause lane shifts, closings in Omaha area
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
< >
Dickson’s Week in Review, April 13-19
On Twitter some guy tweeted that the spring game isn’t taken as seriously as a regular-season contest. What was your first clue? When the head coach entered waving a cat aloft?
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »