Nebraska Gov: Improvements Needed for Child Welfare

“Anytime you are dealing with a situation where a child is removed from their family and home, it is a difficult situation.”

This is what Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has to say about child welfare, and it is also the reason why he urges reform in the way the state of Nebraska handles child-related cases.

Particular sectors that Gov. Heineman points out need improvements are the courts, child welfare service providers, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), law enforcement, child advocacy agencies and even local laws that deal with the issue of caring for children. Heineman does not, of course, fail to mention the role of parents in the equation – biological or otherwise.

Reforms to the aforementioned areas were why the Nebraska Children’s Commission was created in the first place.

The Commission’s goals are four-fold: to create a plan for reforming Nebraska’s child welfare system, to review DHHS operations, establish a new agency to execute reforms and to better facilitate collaboration among local, community, public and state child welfare stakeholders.

Two particular areas that the Commission will look deeply into is Nebraska’s policy on prescribing psychotropic drugs along with examining the responsibilities and organization structure of the state’s Office of Juvenile Services.

Any actual recommendations, however, have yet to be put forward by the Commission as they will still have to examine and review Nebraska’s existing child welfare system.

Let’s just hope that these reviews are indeed aimed at helping children gain better access to quality childcare and are not a front for budget cuts. This is particularly worrying when reading an excerpt of Gov. Heineman’s piece in the Beatrice Daily Sun1:

“There are too many children being placed into the child welfare system. Generally, it is more effective and the results are better when children and families are served in their homes versus services provided to children outside their home.”

  1. Source: Child welfare system must be improved