Gov. Dave Heineman expects to reach agreement with the legislature on some fixes to the child welfare system.
In the State of the State address, Governor Heineman acknowledged child welfare reform hasn’t gone as planned.
“It hasn’t been implemented as well as anyone would like,” Heineman said in his State of the State address. “But, I don’t want to return to the failed practices of the past.”
It seemed like a mild statement about a system that has been under harsh criticism from the state auditor and two legislative committees.
Heineman says that wasn’t the intent of that statement in the speech.
“I didn’t mean it as a mild statement. I meant it as a very strong statement that, in fact, Health and Human Services (Department) has not implemented this reform in a way that any of us would like, especially me,” Heineman tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview.
Heineman calls child welfare a complex, complicated and difficult issue since it spans all three branches of government. He says he wants a coordinated and comprehensive approach to resolving questions about its financing and how well it is taking care of the children under the state’s supervision.
The legislature is in a 60-day session. While that might be too short a session to reach agreement on all 18 recommendations made by the Health and Human Services Committee, Heineman expects to reach agreement on “a good share of it.”
The Health and Human Services Committee holds a hearing this afternoon at the Capitol on two of its major issues, creating an Office of Inspector General for child services and changing provisions of case management.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman discusses child welfare issues with Brent Martin [4:05]