DHHS and Saint Francis Ministries Reach Mutual Decision on ESA

News Release
For Immediate Release: 12/14/2021

Media Contacts

Khalilah LeGrand, khalilah.legrand@nebraska.gov, (402) 471-9313

Jeff Powell, jeff.powell@nebraska.dhhs.gov, (402) 471-6223

Morgan Rothenberger, Morgan.Rothenberger@saintfrancisministries.org, (785) 488-6947


 State Assumes Lead Agency Role, SFM to Continue as Child Placing Agency

Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Saint Francis Ministries are announcing a mutual agreement to end the existing emergency contract for case management services in the Eastern Service Area (ESA) and transition these services back to the State of Nebraska. 

Effective January 3, 2022, DHHS will assume case management responsibilities. Saint Francis Ministries will remain in place as the Child Placing Agency (CPA) for the ESA.

“Our mutual respect, passion, and love for the children and families in our care has allowed us to arrive at this decision," said DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith. “Although Saint Francis will no longer serve as the lead agency in the ESA, our partnership with this agency will continue."

“Saint Francis Ministries has been honored to care for Omaha area children and families. We look forward to continuing that work through our partnership with DHHS as a CPA," said William Clark, president and CEO of Saint Francis Ministries. “In the coming weeks, our first priority will remain caring for those we serve, and we will work closely with DHHS to ensure a smooth transition so Nebraska's families feel as little impact as possible. We also will offer every support available to Saint Francis employees, who have shown their dedication and commitment to taking care of children during a time of unprecedented challenges in the world."

The Department remains focused on doing what is in the best interest for children and families in Nebraska. As safety is a top priority, ensuring that proper supports are in place is an imperative. Development of a transition plan is underway to include absorption of case management staff to allow for minimal disruption to families.  A meeting was held with the SFM Omaha team today to address concerns and outline next steps.  DHHS will be issuing letters to staff highlighting future employment opportunities with the state of Nebraska. DHHS will share more information once details are finalized.


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