COMMITTEE QUESTIONS NEBRASKA HHS OFFICIAL ON IDENTIFYING CHILD SEX ABUSE

Inspector General for Child Welfare, Julie Rogers, announced last month a nearly yearlong investigation her office had undertaken. In the investigation they verified 50 cases of sexual child abuse of children in the child-welfare system in Nebraska. The children ranged in age from 4 to 18. During the HHS Committee hearing this Wednesday Matt Wallen, the director for Nebraska Children and Family Services, was questioned extensively about what his department does to identify and prevent child sex abuse. He said that without Roger’s work they would have to rely on “self-discovery” and analyzing data that the Department of Health and Human Services collects to try and identify trends. Wallen also referenced the continuous quality improvement operation they utilize and updates to policy the department is undergoing. After that he described the licensing process for foster parents and outlined screening priorities for sexual abuse and exploitation.