Audit: Nebraska contractor in decline as it sought contract

December 24, 2021 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A child welfare provider that struggled financially as it served Omaha-area families was plagued with mounting debt, poor money management and other problems even before it won a Nebraska state contract, according to an audit by the group’s home state of Kansas.

The audit of Saint Francis Ministries released Thursday shows a nonprofit in financial disarray, with managers who spent money on themselves instead of programs and a chief executive at the time who enjoyed lavish trips paid for by the organization, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

The audit also stated that Saint Francis has since taken steps to correct those issues. A Saint Francis spokesperson reiterated on Thursday that the organization is now financially stable.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are proud of the work done in the past year and the cultural changes we have seen at Saint Francis,” Morgan Rothenberger, executive director of marketing and communications, said in an email. “We will continue to be diligent in our efforts to provide healing and hope to children and families, working closely with our community members.”

Those recent changes have come amid continued setbacks in Nebraska, where Saint Francis was contracted to oversee the care of abused and neglected children in Douglas and Sarpy counties starting in 2020. St. Francis later conceded it underbid that contract.

The state announced earlier this month that it would terminate its contract with Saint Francis Ministries, but continue to use the group for child placement services.