Suit seeks to end private management of Omaha child welfare

An Iowa day care worker is facing charges in the death of a child in her care in December. (Philip Cohen / CC BY-SA 2.0)
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A Nebraska advocacy group is asking a judge to end private management of child welfare cases in the Omaha area and return that responsibility to state officials.

Nebraska Appleseed filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Nebraska officials, alleging that the private contracts violate the Nebraska Constitution.

Nebraska attempted to privatize its child welfare services throughout the state in 2009, but later withdrew in all areas except for the Eastern Service Area, consisting of Douglas and Sarpy counties.

The lawsuit contends the law which allowed those private services to continue is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit also names the private nonprofits PromiseShip and Saint Francis Ministries as defendants. Saint Francis Ministries signed a five-year state contract in July to manage child welfare cases. The previous provider, PromiseShip, filed its own lawsuit challenging that decision.