Groups Blast Foster Care In State

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"Nebraska tears families apart at one of the highest rates in the nation, " National Coalition For Child Protection Reform Executive Director Richard Wexler said.

He did a study over a span of six weeks and says his research backs those claims.

"I think the problem starts with a mentality that all families are guilty until proven innocent and a rampant confusion of family poverty with neglect," Wexler said. He believes that neglect is shuttling kids in and out of the system.

A press conference was held with advocates Monday.

"We're not only talking about the damage for the family, which becomes destabilized immediately when this happens but we're also talking about irreparable harm to the children, " Melanie Williams-Smotherman said. She's the Executive Director of the Family Advocacy Movement.

Wexler added:

"Either Nebraska is a cesspool of depravity that really has three times more child abuse than three times the national average, or Nebraska is grossly out of line at the rate it's tearing apart families."

And surprisingly, the Department of Health and Human Services agrees.

"There are far too many children in our system and there are far too many children in out-of-home care in Nebraska and we have spent the last year, working on ways to change that," Administrator Vicki Maka said.

Those ways?

"We've engaged in a lot of dialogue with the judicial system, the legal system, with law enforcement and with community providers and stakeholders," she said.

The result - a 7.2% decline of kids in foster care and that's just been in the past several months.

Five Child Welfare Bills could ultimately get the green light from lawmakers. The coalition says they won't work - while DHHS says every action helps.