DHHS Selects St. Francis Ministries as Child Welfare Contractor for Omaha Metro

Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it selected a proposal from Saint Francis Ministries, which currently pro­vides child welfare services to youth and families in parts of Nebraska, to provide ongoing case management services in the Eastern Service Area, comprised of Douglas and Sarpy counties. 

The five-year proposal is for approximately $196 million and includes the option of two ad­ditional years, according to a DHHS news release.

“Based on their proposal, we are confident Saint Francis will deliver high quality case man­agement and child protection services that strengthen families and build protective factors for Douglas and Sarpy County chil­dren,” DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith said in a release.

The Eastern Service Area has nearly 40 percent of the child welfare cases in Nebraska. It is the only area in the state where child welfare services are pro­vided by a private contractor.

Under the contract, DHHS will continue to provide initial assessment and community sup­port services in the area.

Saint Francis Ministries is a child and family services non-profit agency currently serving over 31,000 people with wel­fare services, including fam­ily preservation, adoption, fos­ter care, residential programs, independent living and behav­ioral health. They operate in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, El Salvador and Honduras.

Saint Francis Ministries’ CEO, the Rev. Robert N. Smith, said at a news conference that his team is very excited to be able to ex­ pand the work they do in Nebraska.

Saint Francis currently provides kinship/foster care homes, adoption homes, family support programs, Intensive Family Preservation, Intensive Family Reunification and Family-Centered treatment servic­es to youth in central and western Nebraska.

PromiseShip, formerly known as Nebraska Family Collaborative, was the only other organization to submit a proposal. The Omaha-based PromiseShip has been the child welfare case management contractor in the ESA since 2009 and is currently under contract to provide services through Dec. 31, 2019.

“We look forward to work­ing with both Saint Francis and PromiseShip to enact a smooth and seamless transition,” DHHS Child and Family Services Director Matt Wallen said. “Maintaining support and protection for the Douglas and Sarpy county children and families who rely on each of us will need to remain the top priority during this time of change. Continuity of ser­vices is our No. 1 priority.”

The contract for services will be officially awarded July 1. The tran­sition is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 1, 2020.

– Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services

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