Nebraska child welfare reform plans discussed

State senators and children's advocacy groups say they are cautiously optimistic about a state agency's plan to move forward with reforming the state's child welfare system, but they continue to question the quick pace of the reform.

Officials with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services met with state lawmakers Tuesday. Late last year, the state began partially privatizing foster care and other child welfare services.

But since April, the state has lost three of five contractors it hired, and at least two of the companies have said the state wasn't paying them enough.

Todd Reckling, who oversees child and family services for DHHS, says the agency's plan to transfer day-to-day case management from state workers to the private companies by early January will lead to improvements.