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Support for LB926 – Fair Payments for Foster Parents, Incentives to Licensure for Kinship Placements

February 2, 2012

To: Members of the Health and Human Services

From: Sarah Forrest, Policy Coordinator – Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

Re: Support for LB 926 – Fair Payment for Foster Parents, Incentives to Licensure for Kin Placements


Over 8,000 Nebraska children are placed in out-of-home care each year.[1] While Nebraska should take steps to reduce its reliance on out-of-home care, we also have a responsibility to ensure that children who are removed from their homes live in quality, stable, and safe placements. Placement stability has been shown to have a number of positive impacts on children, including ameliorating any existing behavioral problems.[2]

Voices for Children in Nebraska supports LB 926 because we believe it will increase stability for children in out-of-home care in two principal ways:

  1. Retaining 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.[3] LB 926 will help retain quality foster homes that have the resources to care for the children who are placed with them.
  2. Encouraging quality relative placements. Research has found relative placement beneficial based on several factors:  relative placements are more stable, more likely to result in legal guardianship with the relative,[4] and children in these placements are less likely to re-enter the system after reunification with their parents.[5]  Children in relative placements also report that they feel more loved and less stigmatized when living with family.[6] With the use of relative placements increasing in Nebraska, it is important we provide the financial support and training for them. LB 926 provides payment for up to a year while a relative placement pursues licensure, encouraging relatives to get the training they need.

LB 926 is important to promoting stable, quality placements for Nebraska’s children while they’re in out-of-home care. We urge you to advance it. Thank you.

[1] Kids Count in Nebraska 2011 Report. Voices for Children in Nebraska.

[2] 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.

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

[4] “Propensity Score Matching of Children in Kinship and Nonkinship Foster Care: Do Permanency Outcomes Still Differ?” Dr. Eun Koh. Social Work Research. (2008)

“[5] Understanding reentry to out of home care for reunified infants”. Frame, L., Berrick, J. D., & Brodowski, M. L. Child Welfare (2000).

[6] “Kinship Care Research and Literature: Lessons Learned and Directions for Future Research”. James Gleeson. Kinship Reporter. (2007)

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