Newsroom > DHHS News Release

December 29, 2017

Jennifer N. Brantley, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-8287

DHHS Responds to Call for Additional Legislative Oversight Following OIG Sexual Abuse Report


Lincoln – Today, Courtney Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, issued the following statement in response to a call for additional oversight of Nebraska's child welfare system.

“The Office of Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare’s report is based on information DHHS identified and provided to the inspector general. Our response to the report acknowledges needed improvements, and we have taken steps to implement the recommended changes over the past few months.

“Legislative oversight of the agency falls under the jurisdiction of the Health and Human Services (HHS) committee. We extended an offer to Chairman Riepe and the HHS committee to brief them on our response. An additional oversight committee is duplicative. DHHS has been open to working with senators and will continue to collaborate with them to ensure our system protects the children in our care.

“DHHS is taking steps to underscore zero tolerance for sexual abuse of state wards. In addition to the recommendations adopted from the inspector general’s report, I have directed the Division of Children and Family Services to issue an annual report on the sexual abuse cases identified. The yearly report will contain new steps for identifying and preventing abuse.

“Additionally, we have been working with the Governor's Office to structure an overall review of the division's operations including its finances. Further details regarding this review will be unveiled in the coming days.”