Juvenile services oversight expanded

Oversight of the state’s juvenile justice system will change under a bill passed May 21.

Introduced by Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, LB347 expands the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare (OIG) to oversee the state’s Juvenile Services Division of the Office of Probation Administration.

Currently, the OIG conducts audits, inspections and other reviews of the state’s child welfare system.

The bill authorizes the OIG and state Foster Care Review Office to access confidential records and allows the OIG access to video testimony from a child victim or witness describing sexual assault or abuse. LB347 also permits courts to identify the OIG as an entity permitted to disclose confidential information.

The measure authorizes the OIG to submit a written request for records of juvenile probation officers when investigating cases of death or serious injury. The records must be provided within five days of Supreme Court approval.

Senators passed the bill 47-0.

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