Nebraska Revised Statute 43-4211

Chapter 43 Section 4211

43-4211.

Foster care payments; legislative findings.

The Legislature finds that:

(1) Surveys of foster parents demonstrate that the safety net provided by foster families is fragile and damaged;

(2) Increased focus on recruiting and retaining high quality, trained, and experienced foster parents should be a priority under reform of the child welfare system in Nebraska;

(3) A 2007 study entitled Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children completed by Children's Rights, the National Foster Parent Association, and the University of Maryland School of Social Work analyzed foster care maintenance payments under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, which are defined as the cost of providing food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, personal incidentals, insurance, and travel for visitation with the biological family;

(4) The study set a basic foster care payment rate, calculated by (a) analyzing consumer expenditure data reflecting the costs of caring for a child, (b) identifying and accounting for additional costs specific to children in foster care, and (c) applying a geographic cost-of-living adjustment in order to develop rates for each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia. The rate includes adequate funds to meet a foster child's basic physical needs and the cost of activities such as athletic and artistic programs which are important for children who have been traumatized or isolated by abuse, neglect, and placement in foster care;

(5) The study found that Nebraska's foster care payment rates were the lowest in the country, with an average payment of two hundred twenty-six dollars per month for a child two years of age. The next lowest foster care payment rate was Missouri, paying two hundred seventy-one dollars per month; and

(6) Foster care placements with relatives are more stable and more likely to result in legal guardianship with a relative of the child. Children in relative placements are less likely to reenter the child welfare system after reunification with their parents and report that they feel more loved and less stigmatized when living with family.