Newsroom > DHHS News Release

March 12, 2012
Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287
Coalition, DHHS on the same page

Lincoln – A national coalition, which called Monday (3/12) for Nebraska to make changes in its child welfare system to keep more children in their homes, and the Department of Health and Human Services are on the same page, said Vicki Maca, administrator in the Division of Children and Family Services.
“Families Matter, DHHS’ child welfare reform initiative, is built on the goal of having fewer children in the state’s care and serving them at home when it’s safe to do so,” Maca said. “We want a system that allows parents the opportunity to have access to services in their own community without state involvement. This is what our reform is all about.
“Along with the work of the Legislature, comments from the public and meetings with officials and service providers, we appreciate all input coupled with the Department’s own research and initiatives to improve our child welfare system,” Maca said.
Among the key points in NCCPR’s report is a recommendation that DHHS apply for a waiver from federal funding rules which limit $19 million in federal aid to foster care, so money could be spent on other alternatives. Maca said DHHS will pursue a waiver. However, the timing of a submission is critical to receive the greatest benefit from a waiver.
“The coalition has made a number of recommendations to DHHS, and Nebraska’s law enforcement, judicial and legislative branches,” she said. “We look forward to continue working with those involved in the future of child welfare to make it work toward more positive solutions for children and families in the state.”