Three years after Nebraska turned its child welfare cases over to nonprofit agencies, top state officials admit that the privatization effort has wasted millions of dollars and failed to significantly reduce the number of children taken from their homes.
In response, the Legislature passed child welfare measures this year designed to improve the system. They blamed the problems on a lack of funding, no clear goals and little oversight that allowed costs to soar.
Newly approved legislation will move the state back to a government system in all but two Omaha-area counties, increase social worker staffing and create a new child welfare watchdog.
Washington, D.C.-based consultant Charlotte McCollough says privatized systems can improve child welfare services, but it takes years before it saves money.
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