Child welfare changes approved

Several changes to the state’s child welfare system were approved under a bill passed April 24.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist45' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Sue Crawford'>Sen. Sue Crawford</a>
Sen. Sue Crawford

LB225, sponsored by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, extends an alternative response pilot program and authorizes it to be used statewide.

Alternative response allows the state Department of Health and Human Services to provide services to families that meet certain screening requirements and are the subject of a child abuse or neglect investigation where the risk to the child is considered minimal.

The bill expands Nebraska’s alternative response pilot to a statewide program and extends the authorized use of alternative response until Dec. 31, 2020. The bill also requires that the mandatory evaluation of the program be presented to the Nebraska Children’s Commission by Nov. 15, 2018.

The bill includes three additional child-welfare related measures:
• LB297, sponsored by Omaha Sen. John McCollister, creates the Children and Juveniles Data Feasibility Study Advisory Group as a pilot project;
• LB298, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Roy Baker, renames the Normalcy Task Force as the Nebraska Strengthening Families Act Committee under the Nebraska Children’s Commission and adds a juvenile facility representative to the committee; and
• LB336, sponsored by Ralston Sen. Merv Riepe, allows DHHS to charge a maximum $3 fee to conduct a central registry check.

The bill passed 48-0.

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