Newsroom > DHHS News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2012
Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9313
DHHS and KVC Plan Transition of Case Management Services in Eastern and Southeast Service Areas
Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and KVC Nebraska have agreed that KVC will no longer provide case management and related services effective March 1, according to Kerry Winterer, DHHS CEO.
He said DHHS is prepared to assume these services in both the eastern and southeast service areas. However, he said there is also discussion with NFC, another lead contractor, about assuming case management for the families (approximately one-third) in the eastern service area with a decision to be made this week. NFC is currently responsible for providing case management to approximately two-thirds of the families served in the eastern service area.
“This is in response to a number of factors that have come together to take this next step in child welfare reform,” Winterer said.
He said the agency has been listening to concerns raised by members of the Legislature as well as comments from families, providers and others. DHHS could not agree to the amount of additional funds KVC requested to continue to provide services.
“We’ve met with KVC representatives and we have a transition plan in place. Our common primary concern is the welfare of the children and families who need these services. Our main objective is that the services continue to be provided with minimal disruption to children, families, and staff and that providers get paid,” said Scot Adams, interim director of the DHHS division of children and family services.
Adams said DHHS intends to continue to contract with KVC as a foster care provider.
The transition plan allows for a planned, professional and successful transition. Adams said DHHS plans to offer employment opportunities for most KVC employees, which will help achieve a seamless transition with minimal disruption to children and families. DHHS will also begin to work directly with KVC’s subcontractors and will meet with them in the near future.
“We appreciate the services provided by KVC Nebraska and their commitment to Nebraska children and families, including the services they’ve provided and their financial contributions,” Winterer added. “They stepped up to a challenge that could not have been fully known at the time and performed well at substantial cost to their organization.”
Adams said returning case management to DHHS is not going backward because so many things have changed in the last eight months. “Keeping children in their own homes and communities when they can be safe is the right thing to do. There has been increasingly positive energy around reforming child welfare services,” he said. “I believe our employees will be further energized by this opportunity.”
“I am proud of the demonstrated commitment our staff have made to children and families,” said Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, president of KVC Nebraska. “We hope communities across our service areas will support DHHS as they strive to build upon the success already achieved through the course of the Families Matter initiative.”
Winterer said DHHS will incorporate some of the lessons learned that have worked well with the lead agencies into its every day work, including smaller caseload sizes; the use of data to drive decisions and evaluate progress; and the implementation of Structured Decision Making, a nationally recognized evidence-based tool to determine safety concerns.
DHHS will continue to manage child welfare cases in the central, northern and western areas of the state.