When children cannot remain safely with their own parents, the best place for them is often with adults whom they know, love, and trust. Research has shown that living with relatives or other close family friends minimizes children’s sense of loss after parental separation, increases stability in children’s lives, often results in permanency more quickly, and benefits children’s mental and behavioral health.
In 2012, a bill passed by the Legislature required that everyone providing care to foster children have a full license, unless they were related to a child by blood, marriage, or adoption. An unintended consequence was that the ability to place children coming into the child welfare system with close family friends, godparents, and other trusted adults, like former teachers or coaches, was severely limited. While other factors may also be contributing, the six percent decline in kinship care placements (see chart below) is consistent with the timing of the bill’s implementation.
LB 265, introduced by Sen. Coash, helps remove some of the barriers to placing children with their kin, encourages support for kinship and relative families, and removes the barriers to licensure for kinship families.
For more information on kinship care, we’ve created a handy fact sheet in support of LB 265.