Yesterday, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 216 on a vote of 44-2. LB 216 will allow Nebraska to join more than a dozen other states in taking an option under the federal Fostering Connections Act to create a program of voluntary services and support to age 21 for young people who age out of foster care.
LB 216 will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of young people in Nebraska. It will give them an opportunity to access critical services and support during a very important time in their lives, as they make the difficult transition from foster care to adulthood. It will give them a better opportunity for a successful adulthood.
This moment has been years in the making and has involved a true coalition of partners, including most of all, the young people from Project Everlast who have passionately advocated and shared their experience and have guided the process every step of the way.
Senator Amanda McGill, the introducer of LB 216, has been a champion for young people, always listening and working hard to get this bill across the finish line. Senator McGill’s Legislative Aide, Amy Williams, has also been an incredible champion and has been extraordinarily committed to this issue for the past two years.
We also want to thank Senator Kathy Campbell for her leadership in improving Nebraska’s child welfare system and Senator Health Mello for introducing LR 305, the initial interim study on this issue, and for his continued commitment as well. We also want to thank the co-sponsors of LB 216, Senators Dubas, Bolz and Conrad, and all of the senators who voted for LB 216.
Finally, we want to thank those of you who made calls, wrote letters and signed postcards in support of LB 216. It truly made a difference.