Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 2, 2010

Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, DHHS, (402) 471-9313
Jim Blue, President/CEO of CEDARS Youth Services, (402) 434-5437

CEDARS Terminates State Contract

Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was notified Wednesday that CEDARS Youth Services will terminate its contract to provide service delivery and service coordination as part of the State’s out-of-home reform initiative effective June 30, 2010.

CEDARS is one of five lead agencies that signed contracts with DHHS last fall to provide services under a new arrangement.

“There have been positive indications that the principles of this reform initiative will have a positive impact for the children involved in Nebraska’s child welfare system. We made the difficult decision to terminate the contact when it became apparent to us that the cost to provide the services was substantially higher than we anticipated and funded by DHHS,” said James R. Blue, President/CEO of CEDARS Youth Services.

“CEDARS has a 64 year history of service for vulnerable children and families in the Lincoln and Southeast Nebraska community and we will not jeopardize these hard-earned financial resources, which are for the children of today and the needs of tomorrow,” Blue added.

“We respect Jim Blue and CEDARS and we know they’ll continue to work with us and with our other contractors, in some capacity, to provide services to state wards and their families,” said Kerry Winterer, CEO with the Department of Health and Human Services.

DHHS has said all along there would be some challenges as they reform how children and families are served by the child welfare and juvenile services system in Nebraska, and that they would meet them head on.

“There is agreement that this type of public-private partnership to serve more kids in their own homes and communities is the right direction, and we’re committed to working through any issues to reach positive outcomes and the best services possible,” said Todd Reckling, DHHS Director for Children and Family Services.

The State and its five lead contractors have been working closely, and met again last week to review the progress being made and any hurdles they are seeing. Based on that meeting, both DHHS and the contractors agreed to replicate what’s working and return in a week or two with ways to make improvements where necessary.

Reckling said he will begin talking with the other providers right away and work with CEDARS to make a smooth transition over the next three months.