Disabilities Not a Factor in Custody Cases

LINCOLN- Custody cases in Nebraska are handled differently now in court.

Senator Tom Briese of Albion introduced a bill to Governor Pete Ricketts at a Ceremonial bill signing on Monday. LB 845 states that courts are prohibited from denying Legal or physical custody based on the disability of one of the parents.

The legislature approved LB 845 with a vote 49-0. Ricketts said that the best interest of the child is the top priority in custody cases and that the disability of a parent should not be used against him or her in court.

Ricketts has launched a variety of initiatives for Nebraskans with disabilities.

 Better Community Outreach: Improved outreach to individuals on the developmental disability waitlist and streamlined management to ensure an accurate count of individuals waiting for services is maintained.
·      Better Quality Management: Developed a quality management strategy for developmental disability homes and community-based services, as well as intermediate care facility services.
·      Faster Provider Approval: Reduced the time to approve prospective developmental disability service providers from 163 days to 49 days on average, a 70 percent reduction.
·      More Service Offers: Made more service offers to Nebraskans with developmental disabilities in 2017 than in the previous five years combined.  This funding will allow the state to provide an even higher level of service to one of our most vulnerable populations.
·      New Crisis Response Services: Established the Beatrice State Developmental Center as a statewide resource providing short term crisis intervention for individuals with developmental disabilities and two mobile community crisis teams.
·      New Funding: Increased funding by $2.7 million for developmental disability programming in the most recent budget.
·      New Waiver Applications: Successfully amended the Medicaid Developmental Disability Home and Community Based Services waiver applications with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approval to clearly articulate the prioritization and participation of individuals receiving services through the waiver to include populations and services.  This has lowered the reliance on offering services solely funded with state dollars due to eligibility for federal matching funds and allowed for an increase in funding offers from the wait list.  The Division of Developmental Disabilities made 898 funding offers in calendar year 2017.
·      Shorter Waits for Services: Cut wait times to determine eligibility for developmental disability services from an average of 69 days to an average of just 16 days, a nearly 80 percent reduction.