(1) The Legislature (a) finds that it was the intent of sections 43-4208 to 43-4213 to provide bridge funding to bring Nebraska's foster care reimbursement rates in line with foster care reimbursement rates in the rest of the country and (b) recognizes the importance of a stable payment to foster parents to ensure that families are able to budget for needs while caring for foster children.
(2) The Legislature further finds that Nebraska's foster care system has begun to stabilize. In recognition of the essential contributions of foster parents and foster care providers to foster children in Nebraska, it is the intent of the Legislature to continue existing contractual arrangements for payment to ensure the continued stabilization of the foster care system in Nebraska.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature:
(a) To ensure that fair rates continue into the future to stem attrition of foster parents and to recruit, support, and maintain high-quality foster parents;
(b) That foster care reimbursement rates accurately reflect the cost of raising the child in the care of the state;
(c) To ensure that contracted foster care service provider agencies do not pay increased rates out of budgets determined in contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services prior to any change in rates;
(d) To maintain comparable foster care reimbursement rates to ensure retention and recruitment of high-quality foster parents and to ensure that foster children's best interests are served; and
(e) To appropriate funds to permanently replace the bridge funding described in subsection (1) of this section and provide the necessary additional funds to bring foster care reimbursement rates in compliance with the recommendations of the research and study completed by the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee as required pursuant to section 43-4212 as such section existed before June 5, 2013.