The passage of LB 542, a legislative bill introduced by Senator John
Synowiecki in 2007, created the Children’s Behavioral Health Task Force.
The legislation charged the Task Force with preparing a Children’s
Behavioral Health Plan, overseeing implementation of such plan, and
further revised previous statutes related to the evaluation and
treatment procedures at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center –
Kearney (YRTC-K) and at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center –
Legislation established that the Task Force be composed of twelve members. These members include:
Other currently appointed members include:
These twelve members began meeting in July of 2007 and developed 16 recommendations. The recommendations focused on five areas as mandated by LB 542. Areas include:
Included in the recommendations specifically was the discontinuation of
services at the Hastings Regional Center and transferring such services
to community providers, better funding children’s behavioral health
services, and adopting legislation that puts insurance coverage of
behavioral health treatments on par with coverage of general medical
The full list of recommendations was submitted to Governor Dave Heineman in December of 2007. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) responded to the recommendations with an implementation and appropriations plan entitled, Creating Change and Providing Hope for Nebraska’s Children, Adolescents, and Their Families, in January of 2008. The plan can be accessed from the Department of Health and Human Services website at http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Behavioral_Health.
The key elements and action steps included in the Department’s plan address:
As designated by LB542, the Children’s Behavioral Health Task Force will
oversee implementation of this plan until June 30, 2010. Furthermore,
LB542 states that the chairperson of the Health and Human Services
Committee of the Legislature shall prepare legislation or amendments to
legislation to implement the plan for introduction in the legislative
The goal of the task force is to provide the Legislature with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the future of behavioral health care for children and their families.
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