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Improving Foster Care and Extending the Nebraska Children’s Commission – Support for LB 530

In February 2013, 3,762 Nebraska children and youth who were state wards were in out-of-home care.[1] While Nebraska should continue to take steps to reduce the removal of children from their homes, we also have a responsibility to ensure that children who are removed from their homes live in quality, stable, and safe environments. Placements have a huge impact on children. Many studies have shown that children who live with their kin, or in family –like environments fair better than their peers.[2] Placement stability has also been shown to have a number of positive impacts on children, including ameliorating any existing behavioral problems.[3]

Voices for Children in Nebraska supports LB 530 because we believe it will improve out-of-home care for children and youth:

  1. Retaining and recruiting quality foster homes. Fair foster parent payment has been directly linked to increased placement stability for children. Numerous studies have found foster parents’ expenses are often higher than payments. Foster parents routinely pay out of their own pockets for children’s needs. This financial burden has been found to be an obstacle to both recruitment and retention of foster parents.[4] LB 530 continues and expands the work of the Legislature to pay foster parents fairly and also link their payment with desired outcomes for children. We believe it will help with recruiting and retaining quality foster homes that meet children’s needs.
  2. Expanding the use of family-like placements.  On December 31, 2011 almost 30 percent of Nebraska’s youth in out-of-home care were in congregate care settings (group homes, shelters, detention, etc.).[5] While this may be a necessary placement for some youth, it can be harmful to children in a number of ways. Providing stable, quality , family-like placements is better for children and we should work to ensure that as many youth as possible can benefit from them.

LB 530 also ensures continued oversight and input from the Children’s Commission and its key committees which will help advance effective reform over the next few years. This bill is important to promoting stable, quality placements for Nebraska’s children while they’re in out-of-home care.  We encourage you to advance it. Thank you.


[1] “Point in Time: State Wards In/Out-of-Home.” Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

[2] Stepping up for Kids: What Governments and Communities can do to Support Kinship Families. Annie E. Casey Foundation. May 2012.

[3] Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). (2007). Hitting the M.A.R.C.: Establishing Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children; Chamberlain, P., Moreland, S., & Reid, K. Enhanced Services and Stipends for Foster Parents: Effects on Retention Rates and Outcomes for Children. Child Welfare, 71(5), 387-401.

[4] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. (2002). Retaining foster parents. Washington, D.C.

[5] Kids Count in Nebraska 2012 Report. Nebraska Foster Care Review Office.

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  1. REPLY
    Mary says

    I am filling out an application for the Governor’s Youth Advisory council and this information is going to be very helpful for my research for my the essay section of my application.

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