Troubled foster care agency gets big boost from Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska has agreed to pay millions more to a troubled Kansas-based foster care contractor that was rapidly running out of money after significantly underbidding the company that used to provide child welfare services in the Omaha area.

KMTV reports that the total cost of the new 25-month contract with St. Francis Ministries totals more than $147 million.

St. Francis won the Nebraska job in 2019 by offering to do it for less than 60% of the bid from PromiseShip, the Omaha-based agency that held the previous contract.

At the time, PromiseShip executives and some state lawmakers questioned how St. Francis could provide care in Douglas and Sarpy Counties for that much less money. As it turned out, they couldn’t.

St. Francis said it was in the hole by nearly $35 million over the time it took over services from PromiseShip. State officials say it needs to continue working with St. Francis to ensure continuity of services for the children, families and caseworkers involved in the two counties’ foster care and child welfare system.

The yearly cost for services from St. Francis will now exceed what it would have cost if PromiseShip had been given a renewed contract.