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.