LB79 (McGill) - Provide grants for court appointed special advocate programs
Summary: Adds $1.25 in court fees for each case to fund the state Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program
LB80 (McGill) - Change Nebraska Juvenile Code provisions relating to juvenile care plans
Summary: Removes the presumption that the DHHS case plan is in the child's best interests
LB92 (Howard) - Change caseload provisions for public child welfare service caseworkers
Summary: Prohibits DHHS from exceeding the caseload standards of a national organization by more than 2, and includes private contractors in the requirement to provide annual workload reports to the legislature
LB93 (Howard) - State legislative intent with respect to administrators' salaries within the Division of Children and Family Services of the Department of Health and Human Services
Summary: Decreases by 10% the salaries of DHHS Child and Family Services administrators
LB94 (Howard) - Allow petitioners for adoption of state ward to read the child's case file
Summary: Authorizes a person petitioning to adopt a child access to the child's case file maintained by DHHS, and requires DHHS to file with the court prior to adoption a document verifying that the adoptive parents had the opportunity to read the case file
February Update: An amendment to LB 94, which would permit an adoptive parent to read the child's case file, was adopted by the Judiciary Committee which adds "The department shall not include in the case file to be read any information or documents that the department determines cannot be released based upon state statute or federal statute, rule or regulation."
February Update: LB94 was advanced to Enrollment and Review for Engrossment
March Update: LB94, which requires adoptive parents to be given the opportunity to read the child's case file, was signed into law by the Governor on March 10, 2011
LB95 (Howard) - Require accreditation for lead agencies contracting with the Department of Health and Human Services
Summary: Requires lead agencies contracting with DHHS to be accredited by a national accrediting agency in the services it is providing to the state
March Update: An amendment was added by the Health and Human Services Committee to LB 95, which requires lead agencies to get accreditation. AM 704 would impose a moratorium on DHHS from contracting for child welfare and juvenile justice service coordination and case management with any new lead agency in the central, western and northern service areas until June 1, 2012
March Update: LB95, with AM 704, passed the first round of debate in the Legislature on March 29, 2011
April Update: LB 95, which includes AM 704 that would impose a moratorium on DHHS from contracting for child welfare and juvenile justice service coordination and case management with any new lead agency in the central, western and northern service areas until June 1, 2012, was bracketed until January 4, 2012
LB112 (Coash) - Provide an exemption from motor carrier regulations for comprehensive services transport
Summary: Exempts child welfare agencies from having to use the Public Service Commission for transportation of children in their care
February Update: An amendment to LB 112, which would loosen the transportation regulations for DHHS and contracted agencies, was filed on February 16th which further defines certain terms and clarifies that the exemption to regulations applies to vehicles engaged in residential care transportation and supported transportation services.
LB124 (Avery) - Provide for cultural history information in adoption records
Summary: Adds into the medical histories required in an adoption the race, ethnicity, nationality, Indian tribe or other cultural history of the biological parents if available
LB177 (Campbell) - Change foster care provisions
Summary: Encodes certain provisions of the federal Fostering Connections Act, including independent-living duties, reasonable efforts to place with siblings and relative notice within 30 days
March Update: LB177, the Fostering Connections bill, was made a priority bill by the HHS Committee on March 10, 2011
April Update: LB177, which encodes the federal Fostering Connections law into state law, passed on final reading 47-0-2 on April 28, 2011, and and was signed by the Governor on May 4th
LB221 (Janssen) - Provide for drug screening of public assistance applicants and recipients
Summary: Requires DHHS to drug test any welfare applicant if it is reasonable cause, and shall deny cash assistance for at least one year if the test is positive
LB302 (Ashford) - Provide for a restructuring plan for the court system
Summary: Calls on the Supreme Court to analyze the structure of the entire court system, including county courts and separate juvenile courts, to determine inefficiencies and recommend a restructuring plan
LB324 (Howard) - Requires fetal alcohol determination prior to adoption of a state war
Summary: At the filing of an adoption petition, requires the court to order fetal alcohol testing or receive a doctor's statement that the child does not show indications of such disorders
LB325 (Howard) - Appropriate funds for behavioral health care in Region 6 as prescribed
Summary: Appropriates $250,000 from the General Fund to be allocated to the Family Works program of Heartland Family Service.
LB339 (Ashford) - Change Nebraska Juvenile Code predisposition evaluation procedures
Summary: Amends 43-258 so that in any case pending adjudication under the Nebraska Juvenile Code, the court may place the child with DHHS for evaluation not to exceed 30 days unless extended by the court, and amends who is responsible for costs
LB402 (Howard) - Change penalties relating to third-degree assault on a social worker and provide for social worker safety training
Summary: Requires social workers and lead agency contractor social workers to complete a 6-hour social worker safety awareness training
LB433 (Campbell) - Provide requirements for contracts for child welfare services between private agencies and the Department of Health and Human Services
Summary: Requires that DHHS contracts with providers are based on the reasonable costs of services, prohibits DHHS from entering into contracts for provision of certain activities, requires DHHS to promulgate rules and regulations by 1/1/12 regarding monitoring and oversight of private contractors, requires DHHS to provide an annual financial report and specifies certain content
LB451 (Ashford) - Change court fees, procedures, offices and judgeships
Summary: Establishes judicial hearing officers who could hear juvenile cases that come before the county court, permits parties to object to findings
LB463 (Ashford) - Change juvenile penalty, records, service plan, probation sanctions, and truancy provisions
Summary: Schools shall notify probation, DHHS and private contractors when any child is absent more than 10 days per year
LB598 (Fulton) - Change timing of certain foster care permanency hearings
Summary: Decreases the length of a time to a permanency hearing for children six or under from 12 months after the child enters foster care to 3 months
LB648 (Christensen) - Change provisions relating to notice for foster care reviews and hearings
Summary: Requires DHHS to provide to the courts up-to-date contact information for all child placements. Requires notice of hearings to be sent to parties at least five days prior. Provides standing to foster parents in hearings involving removal of a child from their home
March Update: LB648, which provides certain rights to foster parents, was designated as Sen. Christensen's priority bill
April Update: LB648 passed on final reading 44-0-5 on April 28, 2011.
May Update: On May 4, 2011, the Governor signed LB648 into law, which (1) requires courts to inquire with the foster parent or caregiver about the child's well-being, (2) requires DHHS to have up-to-date placement contact information for courts, and (3) removes the presumption that the DHHS case plan is in the child's best interest
LB649 (Christensen) - Require the Judiciary Committee to develop legislative recommendations for children and youth
Summary: Mandates the Judiciary Committee to review the NACC Evaluation on Guardians ad Litem issued in December 2009, and offer recommendations by October 1, 2011
LB650 (Christensen) - Provide for a statement of rights and responsibilities for foster parents
Summary: Requires DHHS to develop and provide to each caregiver (including agencies) a list of the rights and responsibilities of a foster parent
LB651 (Christensen) - Authorize a program audit and survey of the foster care system
Summary: Authorizes a program audit and survey regarding the privatization reform to be conducted over a five-year period to include:
- An annual study of a random sample of 800 foster care placements
- Degree of compliance with rules and regulations, and recommendations for improvements
Survey of foster parents, state caseworkers, contract caseworkers, GALs, and CASA
LB37 - (HHS Committee) - Provide the Health and Human Services Committee be designated to review, investigate and assess the effect of the child welfare reform initiative implemented by the Dept. of Health and Human Services
Summary: Recommends that the HHS Committee be designated to oversee and assess the child welfare privatization, which would include consulting with stakeholders, consider existing studies and reports, and hold public hearings.
Issues to be considered are:
- Coordination, long-term planning and development of outcome measurements
- Effectiveness of privatization as to permanency
- System of accountability, funding and financial sustainability
- Effect of reform on the CFSR outcomes
- Request of a fiscal audit
February Update: LR37, which would provide the HHS Committee oversight of the DHHS privatization process, was adopted by the Legislature and signed by the Speaker on February 10, 2011
May Update: The HHS Committee will be focusing on child welfare privatization this summer as part of LR 37. The Legislative Performance Audit Committee will also be conducting an audit of child welfare privatization. Click here for their Scope Statement.
October Update: The HHS Committee heard testimony from a variety of Child Welfare stakeholders on October 18. Among them was Court Improvement Project Director, Dr. Vicky Weisz. Weisz shared the results of a survey of judges and a survey of Through the Eyes of the Child team members.
Click here to read the Judge Survey Report.
Click here to read the Team Member Report.