(1) The Legislature finds and declares that foster parents are a valuable resource providing an important service to the citizens of Nebraska. The Legislature recognizes that the current insurance crisis has adversely affected some foster parents in several ways. Foster parents have been unable to obtain liability insurance coverage over and above homeowner's or tenant's coverage for actions filed against them by the foster child, the child's parents, or the child's legal guardian. In addition, the monthly payment made to foster parents is not sufficient to cover the cost of obtaining extended coverage and there is no mechanism in place by which foster parents can recapture the cost. Foster parents' personal resources are at risk, and therefor the Legislature desires to provide relief to address these problems.
(2) The Department of Health and Human Services shall provide for self-insuring the foster parent program pursuant to section 81-8,239.01 or shall provide and pay for liability and property damage insurance for participants in a family foster parent program who have been licensed or approved to provide care or who have been licensed or approved by a legally established Indian tribal council operating within the state to provide care.
(3) There is hereby created the Foster Parent Liability and Property Damage Fund. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and shall be used to provide funding for self-insuring the foster parent program pursuant to section 81-8,239.01 or to purchase any liability and property damage insurance policy provided pursuant to subsection (2) of this section and reimburse foster parents for unreimbursed liability and property damage incurred or caused by a foster child as the result of acts covered by the insurance policy. Claims for unreimbursed liability and property damage incurred or caused by a foster child may be submitted in the manner provided in the State Miscellaneous Claims Act. Each claim shall be limited to the amount of any deductible applicable to the insurance policy provided pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, and there may be a fifty-dollar deductible payable by the foster parent per claim. The department shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this section. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.