October 25, 2014

Proposed increase in foster care rates moves forward

A proposal to increase the rates foster parents receive is moving forward in the Unicameral.

LB 530 has passed one round of voting and awaits a second round in the legislature.

Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton sponsors the bill and has made some changes to make it more acceptable to a legislature worried about the fiscal impact of legislation. Originally carrying a price tag of $4 million, the bill has been trimmed to $2 million by delaying the implementation of rates for a year.

“I want to be able to really give my colleagues a level of comfort that what we’re doing is taking us in the right direction,” Dubas says.

The bill will create two pilot programs in Nebraska, one in an urban setting and another in a rural setting. Dubas says those pilot programs will create a statewide assessment to help the legislature better understand the impact of a foster care rate increase.

The legislation also seeks to address how the cases of special-needs children are handled, attempting to place them in homes better equipped to care for such children.

Dubas says she will propose adjustments to the bill when it returns to the legislature for the second round of debate. She will suggest amending the bill to correct some language and to add additional instruction to the Department of Health and Human Services to clarify the legislative intent of the bill.

Nebraska Radio Network previously reported that Sen. Dubas placed a hold on the measure. That was incorrect. We regret the error.