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Quarterly report regarding Nebraska foster care released

Posted: 4:15 PM, Mar 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-03 16:13:18-05
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OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Foster Care Review Office released their quarterly report Friday, created to inform the public on conditions and outcomes of Nebraska's children in foster care.

The March report contains results from a special study done on children who have re-entered state custody after an adoption or guardianship. The reviewed sample only contains children who were in care on December 31, 2018.

Despite this limitation, the study revealed that 4.3% of the child welfare population "were previously placed in permanent homes through adoption or guardianship, and that many of these homes are no longer a permanent option."

The study also revealed that 14.5% of youth involved in both child welfare and juvenile justice re-entered care after an adoption or guardianship. This is substantially higher than the proportion of kids solely involved with only child welfare or juvenile justice.

Analysis from the study identifies aspects of early experiences of youth who re-entered the child welfare system after adoption/guardianship as well.

Traumatic events play a large role, including:

  • high rates of physical and severely physical abuse as initial reason for entry into foster care
  • high rates of sexual abuse as initial reason for entry into foster care
  • several placement disruptions prior to initial permanency

Nearly all youth who re-entered care did so during their early teenage years. Better preparing adoptive parents for teenage years and making sure families have access to behavioral care services may reduce re-entry, according to the report.

Other findings from the quarterly report include:

  • Minority youth continues to be overrepresented in child welfare and juvenile justice systems
  • Over 25% of children in Central, Eastern, Northern and Southeast Service Areas have had more than 4 workers since the most recent removal
  • 27.7% of DHHS/CFS wards have had more than four placement moves, including 155 children under 6
  • 1 in 5 children currently in the system had a prior removal

The Foster Care Review Office recommends a variety of ways to lessen these issues, including an increase in mental and behavioral health services for children and enhanced preparation for caregivers.

To read the entire report click here.