There is no governmental program so complex, no public-policy wicket so sticky that a Republican administration can't fix it with two magic words:
Nebraska's child welfare costs have increased by about 27 percent after the state undertook a controversial privatization initiative, according to a state audit released Wednesday.
State Auditor Mike Foley unveiled the audit at a hearing before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, which is investigating the privatization effort.
"This audit points to a critical lack of accountability," Foley said. "The consequence to the Nebraska taxpayers has been dramatic, including tens of millions of dollars in increased costs for child welfare services and a conspicuous lack of financial accountability that effectively frustrates any hope of transparency with regard to the expenditure of related public funds."
An analysis by the Omaha World-Herald in July found that the state paid contractors 50 percent more than planned and overspent its budget by $30.5 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
HHS made three unplanned infusions of money and repeatedly front-loaded payments to contractors, a practice that optimistically anticipates costs going down as the months go by, the analysis found.
State Sen. Amanda McGill said: "That report was scathing. The tough part is figuring out what to do about it. "
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.