Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2012
 
CONTACT
Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (o) 402-471-8287, (c) 402-450-7318 russ.reno@nebraska.gov
 
CFS Service Areas Change in Response to LB 961
 
Lincoln – An alignment of Children and Family Services service areas with district court judicial districts to meet the requirements of LB 961 was announced Monday (5/21) by Thomas Pristow, CFS director with the Department of Health and Human Services.
 
The geographical change in the CFS service areas will be effective July 1, he said. Meetings were held Monday with staff working in the 15 counties that will change to a different service area.
  • The boundary of the Central Service Area will include Brown, Boyd, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha and Rock counties currently in the Northern Service Area.
  • The boundary of the Northern Service Area will include Hamilton and Merrick counties currently in the Central Service Area, and Butler, Polk, Saunders, Seward and York counties currently in the Southeast Service Area.
  • The boundary of the Southeast Service Area will include Clay and Nuckolls counties currently in the Central Service Area.

The Western and Eastern service areas retain their current boundaries.

“The boundary changes will assure the continuity of service area offices with the courts,” Pristow said. “In addition, this geographical alignment of the service areas will help provide clarity and enhance our ability to work more efficiently with the courts in order to improve outcomes for children and their families.”

He said most families will see no change in service. In a few cases, a caseworker or supervisor may change. “Our priority will be to make this change seamless for our families.”

The current work location of employees will not change at this time, he said, and implementation of the new alignment will occur over the next several weeks.

Another provision of LB 961 requires a reduction in workers’ caseload sizes. Pristow said DHHS is advertising to hire new case workers, supervisors, case aides and resource development staff to work in the Western, Central, Northern and Southeast service areas to meet that requirement.

Across the state, 174.5 workers will be hired, Pristow said. That number includes 111 employees in the Southeast Service Area previously employed by a private contractor as well as staff necessary to meet LB 961’s caseload size requirement. The Western Service Area will hire 10 workers, Central Service Area 8.5 workers and Northern Service Area 16 workers.

“It will take at least six to eight weeks before new employees are hired and begin training,” he said. “These increases ensure caseload ratios will be consistent across the state and will allow all service areas to meet the caseload requirements in LB 961.”

NFC, a private contractor, is responsible for case management and service coordination in the Eastern Service Area, and is expected to comply with the same caseload size requirements, he said.

“Reduced caseload size will provide staff with the opportunity to do their work much more effectively and focus on the basis of providing solid social work to our families,” Pristow said.

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