Advocates Slam Nebraska's Proposed Child Welfare Budget Cuts

Advocates Slam Nebraska's Proposed Child Welfare Budget Cuts

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 12:00pm

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Proposed budget cuts that would eliminate some state contracts with agencies that support foster families will undo years of progress and put Nebraska's most vulnerable children at risk, child welfare advocates said Tuesday.

Gov. Pete Ricketts' proposed budget would cut about $15 million over two years from child welfare programs, and eliminate one that provides post-adoption services to help families stay together. It also would shift responsibility for 500 of the approximately 2,000 Nebraska children placed with relatives and family friends from licensed private agencies to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The department proposed hiring 14 additional state caseworkers to handle the new cases. Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said the governor's budget proposal will give DHHS the resources and staff it needs to provide services formerly provided by contractors.