HASTINGS – The League of Women Voters hosted State Senator Steve Halloran ahead of this year’s Legislative Session. One of the big topics was the Hastings Regional Center and Halloran says the local community should have more input when it comes to situations like the recent movement of the boys in the chemical dependency program at the Hastings Regional Center and the remodeling of the new buildings to house the girls from the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Program in Geneva.
While the legislature did pass a bill trying to prevent the move from happening until March, he says that wasn’t enough to stop the move.
As LB1188 did not specifically address that program. Which is kind of a lesson, case and point, for us in the legislature to be more specific in writing legislation. The planned move of the girls YRTC would not be possible until at least March 2021 as per LB1188. LB1188 basically prescribes that DHHS had to have a plan in place before they moved any of the programs for youth.
He said that the main argument for moving the program from the Department of Health and Human Services was two fold. Numbers have been declining due to sentencing reform and other programs offered at local community levels. And the majority of the boys moved to the Hastings Regional Center were from Lancaster County and it hindered the families abilities to visit.
He said, ultimately, it’s up to entities like the Department of Health and Human Services to be more cooperative and the legislature can’t do much to force them to do that.