News Release Governor Ricketts
LINCOLN, Neb.-Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed May as “Foster Care Month” during a morning ceremony at the State Capitol. He was joined by leaders from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Children and Family Services (CFS) and partner nonprofits supporting foster care in Nebraska.
“Foster parents step into the gap when a child’s biological parents are unable to offer care,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Their selfless investment of time and energy makes a lasting impact on the youth in their care. I encourage Nebraskans to support foster parents in their communities, and I invite families to consider opening their home to a child in need of foster care.”
Governor Ricketts and DHHS encourage Nebraskans to consider becoming foster parents. Foster parents are crucial to a strong foster care system, and they have a unique opportunity to positively change the life of a child forever.
The Children’s Bureau set the theme for this year’s Foster Care Month as Relative and Kin Connections: Keeping Families Strong signifying the importance of relatives being involved in the lives of foster children. CFS Director Stephanie Beasley emphasized the importance of relative and kinship placement saying, “When children enter the foster care system, placing them with relatives provides invaluable support structures and lessens the impact of trauma. That is why CFS has a majority of our children in care placed with relatives. This remarkable accomplishment is a testament to the great work our teammates do every day to aid children entering care.”
Becoming a foster parent involves five steps, which those interested in becoming foster parents should review to see if they qualify.
1. Background checks - These are required for all members of their household ages 18 years old and older, including a national criminal history check through fingerprinting for all household members ages 18 and older.
2. Home Study - A home study is required and is conducted by either the Department of Health and Human Services or a contracted foster care agency.
3. References - Three positive references are required for each adult household member who will provide care to children.
4. Application - A completed foster care licensing application and a health information report are required for each adult household member providing care, signed by a health practitioner. These forms are provided by DHHS.
5. Training - Adult household members providing care are required to attend foster parent pre-service training. This training is offered by DHHS.
Prospective foster parents seeking more information should visit dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Foster-Care.aspx or contact the Nebraska Foster and Adoptive Parent Association hotline at 1-800-7PARENT. Additional information and support for individuals considering becoming foster parents can be found at nfapa.org. Parents who are already fostering a child can visit the Nebraska Friends of Foster Children website at ne-friends.org to apply for grants or access unique resources that assist with providing care for foster children.
Video from today’s news conference is available by clicking here.