Children thrive in a stable and loving home with a family that offers support in a safe environment. Research tells us that the relationships that children have with the adults in their lives are an extremely important component of successful development. Without these relationships, children have an increased risk of lasting health, behavioral, and psychosocial issues.
Every child needs a loving family to guide them into adulthood. When parents aren’t able to provide that guidance, the community steps in to ensure that the future will be led by generations of happy and healthy adults. Child welfare systems should function to help families by providing the necessary services and supports for families to raise their children. In most cases, relatives and other trusted adults step forward to provide care for children before child welfare involvement is necessary. The practice of nonparental caregiving has deep and cross-cultural roots in human history, and it is currently estimated that about 2.7 million American children live in such arrangements.
The focus of this issue brief is on the challenges that informal kinship care families face in the state of Nebraska and the identification of potential areas in which we can work to better support them.
 The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Stepping Up for Kids: What Governments and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families (Baltimore: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012), 1.