Too many kids in Nebraska’s child welfare system are bouncing between their permanent home and state care. The latest report from the state’s Foster Care Review Office (FCRO) shows nearly one in four children who exit the system are brought back into it a second time.
“For far too many kids, that exit (from state care) is in fact not permanent. It is a temporary exit,” Dr. Katherine Bass, FCRO director of research, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
A review of cases from 2017 shows a child’s removal from their home is often for the same reason, and often happens more than a year after they left the child welfare system.
“So we have to think about how well our services address those long-term needs of the families we serve,” Bass says.
Doing a better job identifying the underlying reasons for a child’s removal, and better matching services to help the family are two of her recommendations in the report.
FCRO also recommended the state child welfare system reduce unnecessary placement changes, because each time a child is removed from a home, he or she experiences great trauma.
“For the second, third, fourth removal, it’s much more likely that the child’s behaviors have something to do with the reason the children are removed,” Bass says.
She says early life trauma can impact behavior years later, if those are not fully addressed, and can lead to biological problems as well.
In addition, Bass says long-term support is needed for parents with an addiction.
“Crises happen to people throughout their lifetime, so you really have to have those long-term supports that will help you manage a crisis without turning back to those destructive behaviors that may have been present before,” she explains.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:42]