A case study of the effects of privatization of child welfare on services for children and families: The Nebraska experience

Grace S. Hubel, Alayna Schreier, David J Hansen, Brian L. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Privatization, or contracting with non-governmental agencies for provision of state or federally funded services, is a strategy that has gained recent attention from policymakers as a potential tool for successful child welfare reform. The Child Welfare Privatization Initiatives Project was created in 2007 as a joint effort between the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The framework identified by this project produced twelve key considerations for states moving towards a privatized system. This case study considers these twelve considerations in a description of the large-scale effort to privatize child welfare services in the state of Nebraska that began in 2008. Problems leading to a need for child welfare reform and possible factors that motivated policymakers to shift services from the public to the private sector are also described. While proponents of privatization appeared to expect rapid increased efficiency and cost-savings, this case study explores multiple reductions in quality and availability of services for children and families served by the child welfare system that occurred during the effort. Further, the cost of child welfare services in Nebraska increased by 27% and the private agencies invested over $21. million of their own funds as they attempted to uphold contracts. Recommendations for practitioners and policymakers considering participating in efforts to privatize child welfare services in the future are made based on Nebraska's recent experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2049-2058
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Fingerprint

Privatization
Child Welfare
child welfare
privatization
experience
United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
increased efficiency
reform
Private Sector
Cost Savings
Financial Management
Contracts
costs
assistant
savings
private sector
Costs and Cost Analysis
planning

Keywords

  • Child maltreatment
  • Child welfare
  • Privatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

A case study of the effects of privatization of child welfare on services for children and families : The Nebraska experience. / Hubel, Grace S.; Schreier, Alayna; Hansen, David J; Wilcox, Brian L.

In: Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 35, No. 12, 01.12.2013, p. 2049-2058.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{06ba2b0598a74ccdaaa22940056a7a41,
title = "A case study of the effects of privatization of child welfare on services for children and families: The Nebraska experience",
abstract = "Privatization, or contracting with non-governmental agencies for provision of state or federally funded services, is a strategy that has gained recent attention from policymakers as a potential tool for successful child welfare reform. The Child Welfare Privatization Initiatives Project was created in 2007 as a joint effort between the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The framework identified by this project produced twelve key considerations for states moving towards a privatized system. This case study considers these twelve considerations in a description of the large-scale effort to privatize child welfare services in the state of Nebraska that began in 2008. Problems leading to a need for child welfare reform and possible factors that motivated policymakers to shift services from the public to the private sector are also described. While proponents of privatization appeared to expect rapid increased efficiency and cost-savings, this case study explores multiple reductions in quality and availability of services for children and families served by the child welfare system that occurred during the effort. Further, the cost of child welfare services in Nebraska increased by 27{\%} and the private agencies invested over $21. million of their own funds as they attempted to uphold contracts. Recommendations for practitioners and policymakers considering participating in efforts to privatize child welfare services in the future are made based on Nebraska's recent experience.",
keywords = "Child maltreatment, Child welfare, Privatization",
author = "Hubel, {Grace S.} and Alayna Schreier and Hansen, {David J} and Wilcox, {Brian L.}",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.10.011",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "35",
pages = "2049--2058",
journal = "Children and Youth Services Review",
issn = "0190-7409",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "12",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A case study of the effects of privatization of child welfare on services for children and families

T2 - The Nebraska experience

AU - Hubel, Grace S.

AU - Schreier, Alayna

AU - Hansen, David J

AU - Wilcox, Brian L.

PY - 2013/12/1

Y1 - 2013/12/1

N2 - Privatization, or contracting with non-governmental agencies for provision of state or federally funded services, is a strategy that has gained recent attention from policymakers as a potential tool for successful child welfare reform. The Child Welfare Privatization Initiatives Project was created in 2007 as a joint effort between the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The framework identified by this project produced twelve key considerations for states moving towards a privatized system. This case study considers these twelve considerations in a description of the large-scale effort to privatize child welfare services in the state of Nebraska that began in 2008. Problems leading to a need for child welfare reform and possible factors that motivated policymakers to shift services from the public to the private sector are also described. While proponents of privatization appeared to expect rapid increased efficiency and cost-savings, this case study explores multiple reductions in quality and availability of services for children and families served by the child welfare system that occurred during the effort. Further, the cost of child welfare services in Nebraska increased by 27% and the private agencies invested over $21. million of their own funds as they attempted to uphold contracts. Recommendations for practitioners and policymakers considering participating in efforts to privatize child welfare services in the future are made based on Nebraska's recent experience.

AB - Privatization, or contracting with non-governmental agencies for provision of state or federally funded services, is a strategy that has gained recent attention from policymakers as a potential tool for successful child welfare reform. The Child Welfare Privatization Initiatives Project was created in 2007 as a joint effort between the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The framework identified by this project produced twelve key considerations for states moving towards a privatized system. This case study considers these twelve considerations in a description of the large-scale effort to privatize child welfare services in the state of Nebraska that began in 2008. Problems leading to a need for child welfare reform and possible factors that motivated policymakers to shift services from the public to the private sector are also described. While proponents of privatization appeared to expect rapid increased efficiency and cost-savings, this case study explores multiple reductions in quality and availability of services for children and families served by the child welfare system that occurred during the effort. Further, the cost of child welfare services in Nebraska increased by 27% and the private agencies invested over $21. million of their own funds as they attempted to uphold contracts. Recommendations for practitioners and policymakers considering participating in efforts to privatize child welfare services in the future are made based on Nebraska's recent experience.

KW - Child maltreatment

KW - Child welfare

KW - Privatization

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84887141679&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84887141679&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.10.011

DO - 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.10.011

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84887141679

VL - 35

SP - 2049

EP - 2058

JO - Children and Youth Services Review

JF - Children and Youth Services Review

SN - 0190-7409

IS - 12

ER -