The longtime director of the Foster Care Review Board was ousted today by her board of directors, who voted unanimously to terminate her after 29 sometimes tumultuous years at the helm.
It was unclear exactly why the board terminated Carol Stitt - who was hailed by both the board and her supporters as one of the fiercest advocates for foster kids in Nebraska.
“There’s been some internal management problems we needed to address,” said board chairwoman Georgina Scurfield, a Sarpy County social worker. “This is an ongoing issue between Ms. Stitt and the board.”
Former Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey was at the board meeting, and said the board doesn’t like the way Stitt is brutally honest about the failings of the state’s child welfare system.
“I think the governor appointed people who would get rid of the bearer of bad tidings and that was Carol Stitt,” Lacey said. “You don’t appoint the fox to guard the henhouse.”
Joellen McGinn was on the state Foster Care Review Board until a few years ago when she applied to be reappointed but was declined. She still serves on two local foster care boards, and believes the state board’s makeup was changed to hinder Stitt in pointing out problems at HHS.
“I just cannot imagine why they don’t want to know what’s happening with these children,” McGinn said
Gov. Dave Heineman was asked what he thought of the board’s decision during a press conference today, and he said, “I don’t know all the details yet so it’d be premature for me to comment.”
As for the allegation that he stacked the board with appointees who are not friendly to Stitt, he said once he appoints someone to a board they are independent.
“I haven’t talked to a member of that board in I don’t know how long,” he said. “I expect them to exercise their best judgment.”
Imperial Sen. Mark Christensen attended the board meeting and was furious at the board’s actions and accused the board of punishing Stitt for exposing corruption. He said the Legislature needs to take serious action such as making the board answer only to lawmakers.
For those who may not be familiar with Carol Stitt, she was the director of Nebraska’s Foster Care Review Board at the time of the Franklin Scandal.
She is featured in the “Conspiracy of Silence” video and is on film saying she was threatened during the time of the investigation. Within the documentary she states the following:
“The night before we testified before the Legislative Committee, I did receive a phone call at home that said, ‘If you speak, you won’t live to regret it.’”