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Sen. Bob Krist says Gov. Ricketts personally responsible for problems in State Child Welfare System

“Pete Ricketts has stood silent and done nothing to address the pattern of death, abuse, and mismanagement.”

LINCOLN, NE – Sen. Bob Krist, a former Republican and candidate for Nebraska Governor, said today that Nebraska families and taxpayers should hold Gov. Pete Ricketts personally responsible for the serial problems of abuse, mismanagement and waste of taxpayer dollars occurring in the State’s Child Welfare system.

It is morally reprehensible that Gov. Ricketts and his administration have let this pattern of abuse go unchecked. How many more Nebraska’s kids need to die, how many more of our kids need to be sexually abused, how much more taxpayer money must be misspent before Pete Ricketts thinks it is necessary to take steps to fix our Child Welfare system,” Krist said.

“The families and caregivers of these children and all Nebraska taxpayers should hold Gov. Ricketts personally responsible for his inability to address these problems,” he said.

Just this past week, an audit was released highlighting the gross mismanagement of funds within the Child Welfare system, where $26 million in taxpayer dollars were spent inappropriately.

“This is just the latest in a long line of problems within our Child Welfare system under Gov. Ricketts watch and instances where Gov. Ricketts and his administration have simply buried their heads in the sand, done nothing to fix the problems, opposed policy and oversight that would help find solutions, and/or simply made excuses for why these abhorrent failures are either acceptable, palatable, or justifiable,” he said.

“As this pattern of death, abuse, and mismanagement has occurred, Pete Ricketts has stood silent and done nothing to address these issues,” Krist said.

Sen. Krist highlighted the following history of problems as detailed in public reports.

  • At no point in Pete Ricketts term has the Department been in compliance with the law regarding the staffing needed to meet minimum caseload standards for Child Welfare cases. Pete Ricketts does nothing.
  • In 2015 and 2016 it we have 22 cases documented where kids in our Child Welfare system died or were seriously injured. Again, Pete Ricketts does nothing.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, at least 50 Nebraska kids, some as young as 4 years old, suffered sexual abuse while in the state’s care or after being placed in an adoptive or guardianship home. Pete Ricketts does nothing.
  • In October of 2017, the Inspector General of Child Welfare releases a report detailing the substantiated cases of sexual abuse in child welfare system. Pete Ricketts does nothing.
  • In February of 2018, the legislature looks at the creation of the Nebraska Child Welfare Death and Abuse Special Oversight Committee to study the circumstances of the abuse, sexual abuse and death in Nebraska's Child Welfare system. Pete Ricketts does nothing, and his administration came in and opposed the oversight of Child Welfare, stating that it was “unclear why it was needed.”
  • August 2018, the State Auditor releases findings showing at least $26 million in taxpayer dollars were misspent in the Child Welfare system. Pete Ricketts does nothing, and his administration simply made excuses and disputed the veracity of the auditor’s work.

“Under the Krist-Walz administration, we will not sit idle while Nebraska children are being abused and dying. Unlike Gov. Ricketts, we will hold our agencies accountable for their actions and do everything we can to make sure our kids are safe. We see it is a priority that every child under the state’s care should be free from abuse,” Krist said.

Paid for by Krist for Nebraska, 7365 N 122nd Avenue Circle, Omaha, NE 68142