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For Immediate Release
February 18, 2015

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State Exceeds Federal Measures for Child Welfare Services

Lincoln—  Scores on six federal measures of the safety and permanency of state wards have been exceeded for the first time in January, said Tony Green, acting director of Children and Family Services (CFS) in the Department of Health and Human Services.
The federal measures are designed to evaluate how well states address safety and permanency and include the following areas:
  • Absence of the recurrence of maltreatment.
  • Absence of maltreatment in foster care.
  • Timeliness and permanency of reunification of children with their families.
  • Timeliness of adoption.
  • Permanency for children in foster care.
  • Placement stability of removed children.
Green said that three years ago, CFS surpassed the federal measures in only two measures. “It is difficult for states to exceed these goals and we’re told few states have accomplished the feat.
“We attribute this success to the hard work of our employees, Nebraska Families Collaborative staff in Omaha as well as the statewide efforts of local communities including the judiciary, service providers, foster and adoptive families, and the variety of other child welfare stakeholders who are all focused on the best interests of children,” he said. 
Green said several factors have contributed to this success.
  • The implementation of Structured Decision Making (SDM) in July 2012, which uses evidence-based assessment tools to improve the quality and consistency of assessing safety and risk, and identifying the resources needed to support the needs of children and families.
  • The collaborative efforts established with service providers have improved communication and the quality of services provided.
  • The ongoing use of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) since October 2011 that informs CFS of what is working well and areas needing improvement.
Green pointed to CQI as a key factor in exceeding the measures. Each month staff across the state meet to review data, develop strategies and monitor the effectiveness of those strategies. Local Service Areas have CQI teams that take in-depth looks at data trends specific to their service area’s performance. 
“Our CQI system has been very effective and is a system that other states are trying to replicate,” he said. “While the CQI data we review contains pages and pages of numbers, each of those numbers represents someone’s child, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”
For more information, and to see monthly CQI reports and the CFS Operations Plan, go to: