Yesterday, the Legislature voted 40-0 to give first round approval to LB 177, a bill that would place key provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act into state statute. This bill would strengthen the enforcement and local implementation of requirements to prioritize placement of children in foster care with their siblings when that is not contrary to their safety or well-being, to provide notice to potential relative placements for the child, and to clarify requirements that the state develop transition plans for older youth aging out of the foster care system.
These provisions represent well-established best practices in child welfare. As a result, Appleseed has been working on the local implementation of these practices since shortly after the enactment of the federal law in October of 2008 and with Senator Campbell on this bill for the past year and a half. We are pleased that LB 177 received such strong support by the Legislature yesterday.
We also support an amendment introduced by Senator Howard and provisions in LB 177 that would further clarify the existing requirement to prioritize the placement children with their biological siblings even if the child has not resided with the siblings prior to placement in foster care, such as children born after siblings have been removed from the home or who have been adopted. A similar issue was raised in a case currently pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court in which Appleseed filed an amicus brief. Click here to read more about the case.
We thank Senator Campbell for her leadership and dedication to this issue, as well as Senator Howard and the Health and Human Services Committee. We believe LB 177 represents a simple way to strengthen existing law and policy in ways that will foster familial connections and improve outcomes for children.
Contact your state senator to thank them for voting in favor of fostering connections for children on General File and to ask them for their continued support to pass LB 177 into law.