Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 12, 2012
Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287 or (402) 450-7318
DHHS Ready to Work on Child Welfare Changes
Lincoln – With the changes brought about by child welfare legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Dave Heineman, Department of Health and Human Services CEO Kerry Winterer said the new laws will help in dealing with the issue.
Winterer said the new laws will involve more branches of government and others involved in the system, and provide a broader perspective of child welfare and its reform.
“The world of child welfare in Nebraska is changing because of this legislation,” Winterer said. “There will be a lot more people involved in the process. The child welfare system is in a different position than it was six months ago.”
DHHS has been under a lot of pressure since the child welfare reform effort began, he said. “We look forward to working even more closely with the other branches of state government as well as other stakeholders to ensure the legislation meets its intended goals.”
The legislation signed into law today (4/11) includes:
  • LB 820 requires DHHS to apply for a federal foster care demonstration project, increases foster care payments, and changes foster care licensure requirements.
  • LB 821 creates the Nebraska Children’s Commission and the Inspector General for child welfare.
  • LB 949 requires DHHS to develop a strategic plan that includes goals, benchmarks and progress reports, expenditure reports and creates a separate child welfare budget. The Governor signed this bill into law last week.
  • LB 961 changes provisions relating to case management, caseloads, and the contract for child welfare services. The Governor signed this bill into law last week.
  • LB 1160 requires DHHS to develop a plan for a web-based, statewide automated child welfare information system.