New child welfare data system approved

Lawmakers approved a bill April 5 that requires development of a new child welfare data system.

Under LB1160, introduced by the Health and Human Services Committee, the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is required to develop and implement a web-based, statewide automated information system to integrate child welfare data.

Among the objectives for the new system are access to real-time information and improved reporting, accountability and case review capabilities. The system also is required to provide automated interfaces for the courts, Medicaid eligibility, financial processes and child support.

The department is required to obtain an evaluation of the state’s child welfare system by a nationally recognized entity and to report to the Legislature regarding the completed evaluation and plans for the new data system by Dec. 1, 2012.

The bill also includes provisions of LB774, originally introduced by Omaha Senator Gwen Howard, which requires the Health and Human Services Committee to report to the governor, the Legislature and the chief justice on progress made by DHHS toward recommendations contained in the committee’s report on child welfare reform.

Reports will be required for three years, with the first due on Dec. 15, 2012.

LB1160 passed 45-0.

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