Nebraska Family Service Organizations Sue HHS

    By Sean McMullen

    (Grand Island) - Boys and Girls Home, a major family service provider based in Iowa was contracted by Nebraska's Health and Human Services to provide welfare to Nebraska's most vulnerable children.

    Now, some say the welfare has become unfair and local Nebraska providers subcontracted by Boys and Girls are out millions of dollars.

    H-H-S originally contracted Boys and Girls Home and like a building contractor, they hired subcontractors. But once the work was done, Boys and Girls said they were out money and couldn't pay the smaller Nebraska welfare providers.

    Since H-H-S hired Boys and Girls, the Nebraska providers sued them. A settlement was reached.

    35 family service companies like Midland Plains Center in Grand Island filed the lawsuit to the tune of over $4 million. Instead, 35 companies are splitting $1 million, evenly.

    The result, Midland-Plains President and CEO, Scott Dugan, says it only covers a third of the $136,000 owed to him. For others, it might not be enough to even stay open.

    "I know of a couple of these organizations that took out personal loans in order to cover these costs hoping for a resolution, hoping they can pay that
    back and if they're not, they could lose their homes." said Dugan.

    Dugan says they had to except the deal in order to fight another day. However, in the meantime, he knows it's not just him who could suffer. Midland is one of the largest providers for family welfare and child placement services in Central Nebraska. If he suffers, they suffer.

    "So we struggle from month to month so we can keep our services at the level that we would expect them to be in -- that the community would expect them to be in -- and we just want what's owed to us," added Dugan.

    Since all of the Nebraska providers settled with H-H-S, There is only Boys and Girls left to sue. But they say just don't have any money. So, in the meantime, they remain in a stalemate.

    Dugan doesn't think Boys and Girls mismanaged any funding. He says the program was just extremely under funded in the first place.

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