Inspector access to child welfare records approved

Lawmakers passed a bill March 1 that expedites delivery of confidential records to the Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare.

A bill passed by the Legislature in 2015 expanded the jurisdiction of the inspector general to include the state’s juvenile services division of the Office of Probation Administration. It authorized the inspector general to access confidential information pertinent to investigations, including video testimony from victims of abuse.

LB954, introduced by Omaha Sen. Bob Krist, additionally authorizes the inspector general to submit written requests for access to records—including sealed records—of juvenile probation officers. The records must be delivered within five days of a juvenile court order.

Upon receipt of orders from the juvenile court or the Office of Probation Administration, the juvenile services division will grant direct computer access to all computerized records maintained by the division relevant to a specific case under investigation.

The bill also directs the inspector general to immediately notify the probation administrator of possible misconduct by an employee of the juvenile services division found during an investigation. Pertinent information regarding a potential personnel matter will be provided to the Office of Probation Administration.

LB954 also directs the juvenile court to provide confidential record information to the Foster Care Review Office.

The bill passed with an emergency clause on a 49-0 vote.

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