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Nebraska child welfare provider Saint Francis Ministries placed on probation, not allowed to take on new cases

Saint Francis Ministries
Posted at 3:51 PM, Sep 30, 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Following months of funding and staffing issues and an annual audit, Nebraska foster care provider Saint Francis Ministries (SFM) has been placed on probation by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Licensure Unit.

The probationary period, during which SFM will be restricted from taking on new children, goes into effect on Friday, Oct. 1.

The DHHS said, “The Department is committed to the safety of all Nebraska children and works daily to support this mission. To ensure that the children and families of Nebraska receive the needed supports, the Division of Children and Families (CFS) will assume any new referrals in the ESA. While Saint Francis has shown improvement in key areas, the decision to restrict new referrals is the best course of action right now to allow SFM the time to work with DHHS to correct deficiencies and build appropriate staff.”

“I have seen this work in other states over the course of my career. This is a way for DHHS to augment Saint Francis’s resources,” said DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith.

The department also said four Corrective Action Plans are in place for SFM which are currently being evaluated.

During the period of probation, CFS staff will be deployed to manage cases while additional case managers are hired.

SFM “has 16 months on the current contract that was issued January 29, 2021" and will have 15 days to appeal the decision to place it on probation.

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