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The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is Going Through Major Changes

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 19:53:59-04

OMAHA, Neb. — The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is planning a massive transition within their child welfare and management department.

They're switching the outside provider they've had for ten years to a new one by this coming January.

Yesterday an intense town hall meeting took place to discuss the transition of powers. It was a time for people to express their opinions and learn about the new company taking over that sector, Saint Francis Ministries.

"I think they're going to do fine. I think that they're doing all the right things. They are meeting with key stake holders, they're out in the community, they're making sure that the model that they use is adaptable for Nebraska and particularly for the Eastern Service Region," CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services Dannette Smith said.

But such a transitional period has many worried that with all of this going on, children and jobs might get left behind in the process.

"Anytime you have a transition of this magnitude there can be cracks," program director of APEX Family Care, Marlon Brewer said.

"We want the employees of both of the organizations to really think about what an opportunity this is for Omaha and for Sarpy County," Smith said.

The DHHS is confident with its decision.

"The DHHS has thought long and hard about this transition. We have put things into place. We have put strategies into place, we put systems into place, to make sure this goes off with minimal hitch," Smith added.

"I think anytime that we disrupt families or have families in limbo due to a systemic issue, that's counterproductive and it goes against what we're supposed to be doing. But I think it it's done the right way and it's for good reasons I think a change could be good," Brewer said.

One other possible roadblock is that the current company handling these services, Promiseship, has sued to block the transition. They say Saint Francis' bid for the contract doesn't meet state requirements.

We will stay with this story as more details develop.

The next town hall meeting will be taking place next week, August 7, at the Salvation Army located at 2825 Y St. in Omaha. There will be two sessions with the first being from 3pm to 5pm and the second taking place from 6pm to 8pm.