71-1902. Foster care; license required; license renewal; kinship homes and relative homes; department and child-placing agencies; duties; placement in nonlicensed relative home or kinship home; approval by department; when; license revocation; procedure.

(1) The department shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations on requirements for licenses, waivers, variances, and approval of foster family homes taking into consideration the health, safety, well-being, and best interests of the child. An initial assessment of a foster family home shall be completed and shall focus on the safety, protection, and immediate health, educational, developmental, and emotional needs of the child and the willingness and ability of the foster home, relative home, or kinship home to provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for a child for whom the department or child-placing agency has assumed responsibility.

(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall furnish or offer to furnish foster care for one or more children without having in full force and effect a written license issued by the department upon such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by general rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the department. The terms and conditions for licensure may allow foster family homes to meet licensing standards through variances equivalent to the established standards.

(b) The department may issue a time-limited, nonrenewable provisional license to an applicant who is unable to comply with all licensure requirements and standards, is making a good faith effort to comply, and is capable of compliance within the time period stated in the license. The department may issue a time-limited, nonrenewable probationary license to a licensee who agrees to establish compliance with rules and regulations that, when violated, do not present an unreasonable risk to the health, safety, or well-being of the foster children in the care of the applicant.

(3) Kinship homes and relative homes are exempt from licensure, however, such homes should make efforts to be licensed if such license will facilitate the permanency plan of the child. The department and child-placing agencies shall, when requested or as part of the child's permanency plan, provide resources for and assistance with licensure, including, but not limited to, information on licensure, waivers for relative homes, kinship-specific and relative-specific foster care training, referral to local service providers and support groups, and funding and resources available to address home safety or other barriers to licensure.

(4) Prior to placement in a nonlicensed relative home or kinship home, approval shall be obtained from the department. Requirements for initial approval shall include, but not be limited to, the initial assessment provided for in subsection (1) of this section, a home visit to assure adequate and safe housing, and a criminal background check of all adult residents. Final approval shall include, but not be limited to, requirements as appropriate under section 71-1903. The department or child-placing agency shall provide assistance to an approved relative home or kinship home to support the care, protection, and nurturing of the child. Support may include, but not be limited to, information on licensure, waivers, and variances, kinship-specific and relative-specific foster care training, mental and physical health care, options for funding for needs of the child, and service providers and support groups to address the needs of relative and kinship parents, families, and children.

(5) All nonprovisional and nonprobationary licenses issued under sections 71-1901 to 71-1906.01 shall expire two years from the date of issuance and shall be subject to renewal under the same terms and conditions as the original license, except that if a licensee submits a completed renewal application thirty days or more before the license's expiration date, the license shall remain in effect until the department either renews the license or denies the renewal application. No license issued pursuant to this section shall be renewed unless the licensee has completed the required hours of training in foster care in the preceding twelve months as prescribed by the department. A license may be revoked for cause, after notice and hearing, in accordance with rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the department.

(6) A young adult continuing to reside in a foster family home as provided in subdivision (2) of section 43-4505 does not constitute an unrelated adult for the purpose of determining eligibility of the family to be licensed as a foster family home.

Source:Laws 1943, c. 154, § 2, p. 564; R.S.1943, § 71-1902; Laws 1945, c. 171, § 2, p. 549; Laws 1949, c. 207, § 1, p. 595; Laws 1961, c. 415, § 26, p. 1258; Laws 1982, LB 928, § 52; Laws 1984, LB 130, § 14; Laws 1987, LB 386, § 2; Laws 1988, LB 930, § 1; Laws 1990, LB 1222, § 12; Laws 1995, LB 401, § 25; Laws 1995, LB 402, § 1; Laws 1995, LB 451, § 2; Laws 2001, LB 209, § 20; Laws 2002, LB 93, § 8; Laws 2011, LB648, § 3; Laws 2012, LB820, § 7; Laws 2013, LB216, § 18; Laws 2013, LB265, § 41.