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CAI Holds Congressional Briefing to Unveil New Report:

Shame on U.S.
Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave
Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm
January 27, 2015

  • The federal government's dereliction allows states to fall short on meeting minimum child welfare standards. Below is information specific to Nebraska:

    CFSR Results Summary: In its Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process, HHS determines whether each state is in substantial conformity with 7 specific outcomes (pertaining to the areas of safety, permanency and family and child well-being) and 7 systemic factors (relating to the quality of services delivered to children and families and the outcomes they experience).  In the first two rounds of the CFSR, HHS has concluded that Nebraska was:

    Round 1 (2002)

    • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
    • NOT in substantial conformity with 4 of the 7 Systemic Factors

    Round 2 (2009)   

    • NOT in substantial conformity with 7 of the 7 Outcomes
    • NOT in substantial conformity with 2 of the 7 Systemic Factors

    Although federal law mandates that any state found not to be operating in substantial conformity during an initial or subsequent review must begin a full review within two years after approval of the state's program improvement plan, HHS has announced that Nebraska will not undergo Round 3 of the CFSR until FY 2017 (see CFSR Technical Bulletin #7 (March 2014)).

    Documents from the U.S. Health & Human Services Children's Bureau

    Child Welfare Litigation*

    • Carson P. v. Heineman
      Plaintiffs filed this case on behalf of five children who have suffered physical and psychological harm while in the custody of the Nebraska Division of Health and Human Services (HHS), and as a class action on behalf of 6,000 foster children in state custody in Nebraska. The complaint alleged violations of the children’s constitutional rights, their rights under Title IV-E and IV-B, and their rights pursuant to the Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment provisions of the Medicaid Act. The lawsuit charges the state with failing to address longstanding systemic problems such as a drastic shortage of foster homes, high caseloads for case workers assigned to monitor child safety, a lack of mental health care services, the lowest payments to care for foster children in the country, and a lack of services and resources to get children adopted.

    *litigation summary taken from information provided by the website ofthe National Center for Youth Law

    Child Welfare In the News**

    • Contempt order for Nebraska agency upheld (Associated Press - January 02, 2015) A contempt of court order will stand against the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services over its handling of a state ward's foster placement, the Nebraska Supreme Court said Friday. Also: High court rules welfare agency mismanaged care of foster child who moved dozen-plus times
    • World-Herald editorial: A new option for child welfare (Omaha Daily Herald - December 17, 2014) Here is one option the Ricketts administration should examine: adopting software that can efficiently track child welfare cases and share information among agencies.
    • World-Herald editorial: Child welfare approach a worthy alternative (Opinion) (Omaha World Herald - December 08, 2014) Alternative response identifies situations where children are in crisis not because of abuse or neglect but because of stresses due to poverty. Rather than remove the children from the home, the state identifies the families' needs - transportation, food and shelter generally top the list - and service organizations step forward to address the concerns.
    • New Nebraska Foster Care Review Released (WOWT 6 - December 01, 2014) The Foster Care Review Office has released its annual report concerning Nebraska Foster Care. This report contains independent data and analysis of the child welfare system in the fiscal year July 1,2013 to June 30,2014 with recommendations for system improvements.

    **news summaries taken from daily newsfeed service of HHS' Child Welfare Information Gateway


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Children's Advocacy Institute
University of San Diego School of Law
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