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September 16, 2011


Dems pound gov for hiring Taco Bell, Wal-Mart workers for child welfare

by Deena Winter

The state Democratic Party continues to pound away on the governor for the failures cited in a recent state audit of the state’s attempt to reform and privatize child welfare in Nebraska.

The Dems put out the following press release today:

One of the many tragedies of the Governor’s Child Welfare Services debacle is that unqualified individuals were hired to provide important services for foster children.

According to the recent auditor’s report, two subcontractors were found to be using workers who lacked appropriate credentials to provide client services. Those employees “had neither a Bachelor’s Degree nor a staff equivalency petition approved by the DHHS service area contract liaison, as required by the service contracts. The immediate prior employment of two workers had been at Taco Bell and Wal-Mart – neither of which is an establishment known to offer extensive training in the field of child welfare services.“

DHHS was supposed to provide approval for subcontractor hires, but they did so in a “perfunctory” fashion. Additionally, Governor Heineman told the Lincoln Journal Star earlier this week that “we can’t expect government to be the parent, and it’s very unfortunate that we are involved in these situations.”Jim Rogers, Executive Director of the Nebraska Democratic Party said that statement, coupled with the actions of the administration, show a callous attitude toward foster children.

“Does Heineman really not believe the state has an obligation to protect the lives and well-being of innocent children who aren’t able to get proper support in their homes?,” Rogers said. “Most Nebraskans agree that despite parental failings or hardships, innocent children should not be neglected. And we shouldn’t be hiring people who are unqualified to provide these specialized child services.”

The uncredentialed employees were paid $10.50 or $13.00 per hour. At the same time, DHHS was reimbursing the direct contractor for the work of those same employees at a rate of $47 per hour. That means the contractors profited enormously from paying unqualified staff wages much lower than what would have been required to retain qualified workers.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. sharon kromarek
    Sep 16 2011

    What does qualified mean? I have worked in the Human Services spectrum for 30 years with a degree in teaching, what I have seen and witnessed time after time, is that you either care about others or you don’t. You have a heart to do good or you don’t, all the degrees in the world do not a caring human being make, you either love others and give them your best or you don’t. Our entire Human Service System is a mess, we simply need people overseeing and checking and asking the questions of the people in the ditches, instead of punishing them when they take the risk to report the lies and fabrications of the Educated Morons running some of our programs. Many of the people running the program, are sicker than the people they “serve”, and don’t know what’s going on and in many cases don’t care as long as it looks good on paper, and they get their paycheck, we all can see and tell caring people who are capable to handle the tremendous needs of our abused, neglected and exploited children, but that MIGHTY degree is required while our children are passed off from one institution to the other, Lord help our sick society that think a degree- a qualified person doth make. I have worked in more than one setting and false reporting seems to be expected, and it is usually the “Qualified” person that is expecting it of you. Just look good for daddy government so everyone can keep their jobs and the beat goes on, I challenge anyone who has the guts to stand up to tell us it’s not the same in Nebraska, I would be so happy to admit I am wrong. A North Dakota Gramma Sharon Kromarek

  2. porcupine
    Sep 18 2011

    How come the contractors are not saying to the state hey you OVER PAYED? Thanks again Deena for the info keep it up.

  3. Dan Bretta
    Sep 19 2011

    We have no idea of knowing the ability of the two individuals to do the job, but they were certainly not qualified as per the contract which required a degree. The contractors should be replaced as it’s clear they were hiring unqualified individuals so they could pay them less and thus reap more profits off of the backs of hardworking Nebraskans.


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