Administrative, educational changes for youth centers passed

A bill overhauling management and educational programing at Nebraska’s youth rehabilitation and training centers passed July 31.

Sen. Sara Howard
Sen. Sara Howard

LB1188, introduced by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, requires the Office of Juvenile Services to create a superintendent of schools position to administer education for YRTCs by Dec. 1, 2020.

It also mandates that education for any juvenile committed to OJS be provided by a school program meeting the requirements of an interim program school, an approved school or an accredited school. The bill designates YRTCs as interim program schools.

LB1188 includes provisions of two bills originally introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha. LB1147 requires the state Department of Health and Human Services to administer daily maintenance, minor repairs, custodial duties and other operations at YRTCs, while the state Department of Administrative Services will oversee major repairs, capital improvements, contract procurement for such improvements and other facility maintenance functions that are not the responsibility of DHHS.

Provisions of LB1149 require OJS to utilize evidence-based and validated tools, programs and services and prohibits staff from limiting or prohibiting a juvenile from communicating with relatives as a punishment.

LB1188 passed on a vote of 42-4.

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