The Department of Health and Human Services says it will hire employees in Lincoln and Kearney to work with juvenile offenders while reducing the number working in Geneva.
Late last month, the state struck an agreement with the Lancaster County Board to house some youths in a secure portion of the county's youth services center in Lincoln.
The Lincoln center will serve both boys and girls sent by judges to state Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers who have more serious behavioral and mental health issues.
Sending youth to the new center in Lincoln will require staffing changes at all three sites, Dannette Smith, CEO of DHHS, said in a news release.
The cuts in Geneva affect 57 positions, according to HHS spokeswoman Leah Bucco-White. Because some of those positions are vacant, the number of employees affected is 46.
The cuts at Geneva will go into effect Jan. 6.
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Problems at Geneva came to a head in August when Nebraska's inspector general of child welfare and some state senators said the center had reached a crisis point as a result of conditions at the center for girls.
In addition to concerns about deteriorating buildings, there were allegations of a lack of programming, treatment and medical care.
At that time, 24 Geneva residents were moved to Kearney's youth treatment center, where boys have traditionally been held.
At an October legislative hearing centered on studies aimed at staffing for the state's Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers and improvement of programming, state Sen. John Lowe of Kearney said staff turnover at Geneva as of September was at about 30%. The center was budgeted for about 99 full-time positions, but had 31 unfilled jobs, according to DHHS.
The state will work with employees at Geneva to identify possible job opportunities at the other campuses and in state government, Roshelle Campbell, DHHS human resources director, said in a news release.
“Our desire is to retain employees whenever possible,” she said.