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'It worries us': Child welfare report sees uptick in serious injuries in Nebraska

Posted at 6:15 PM, Sep 16, 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A report from the Nebraska Inspector General on child welfare indicates continuing issues after Saint Francis Ministries was removed from serving Douglas and Sarpy County.

Inspector General Jennifer Carter said in the annual report that more issues regarding documentation and a lack of rule-following further confirmed her advice to drop Saint Francis Ministries from running child welfare in the Omaha metro area.

“Poor documentation, sometimes what appeared to be a misunderstanding of what the rules and regulations required. So that all served as a confirmation to us that it was the right choice to make a change," Carter said.

The State indeed did cut ties with Saint Francis earlier this year and the legislature ended the privatization of child welfare.

The report also indicated an uptick of serious injuries for children in the system. Carter told 3 News Now the state was required to investigate eight incidents of serious injury this past year. The year before they only needed to investigate one incident.

“There are always serious injuries in the system but when you see an uptick like that to other years, it worries us about the stress families are under and what might be happening,” said Carter.

Carter also mentioned other problems to be fixed including, a lack of temporary homes for children. She’s hoping to get to the bottom of why.

“When there was COVID people may have been afraid to put people into their homes, have a revolving door where there may have been an exposure.”

Plus staffing issues have been a consistent plague on the system. Carter said the legislature could send more resources to the system.

Carter, lawmakers and other stakeholders are now a part of committees hoping to transform the child welfare system.

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