Today, Senator Kathy Campbell introduced LB 508, a bill to incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) rate in Nebraska to a more adequate level. Also today, Senator Annette Dubas introduced LB 530, a bill which, among other things, directs the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services to implement the recommendations of the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee to increase the monthly stipend paid to foster parents for the support of children. Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey made the following statement in response:
“LB 508 and LB 530 are important and necessary measures to establish more adequate support for the basic needs of very low-income families with children and children who must be removed from their homes and placed in foster care due to abuse and neglect.
We believe it is important that the state address the ADC rate in tandem with foster care rates. One of the core purposes of the ADC program under federal law is to keep children in their own home and out of the child welfare system.
Effectively addressing poverty is not only fundamental to the well-being of children and families in our community, it is also one of the keys to preventing the unnecessary entry of children into the foster care system.
The maximum payment rate for ADC in Nebraska has not been increased in more than 30 years. The monthly ADC rate for a single parent with a school-aged child in Nebraska is $293 per month. Similarly, prior to the Legislature’s passage of LB 820 last year, which temporarily increased the foster care rate while establishing the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee to evaluate the issue, Nebraska had one of the lowest base rates in the country and the lowest base rate of any state in the country for the youngest children.
We strongly support increasing both the ADC and the foster care rates to an adequate level that meets the basic needs of children.
We applaud the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee for their careful study of this issue and rate recommendations, which LB 530 reflects.
We thank Senators Campbell and Dubas for their leadership on these important issues and for their commitment to Nebraska’s children and families.”