Foster care reimbursement increased

Senators gave final approval May 29 to a bill intended to overhaul Nebraska’s foster care reimbursement rate system.

LB530, introduced by Fullerton Sen. Annette Dubas, requires the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to implement by July 1, 2014, the following reimbursement rates:
• $20 per day for children younger than five;
• $23 per day for ages six to 11; and
• $25 per day for ages 12 to 18.

DHHS also is required to develop a pilot project by July 1, 2013, to implement standardized level of care assessment tools recommended by a temporary committee.

The department will review the pilot program and provide two preliminary reports to the Nebraska Children’s Commission and a final report to the commission and the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee by Feb. 1, 2014.

The bill also reauthorizes the Foster Care Reimbursement Committee, which will make recommendations to DHHS regarding:
• the statewide foster care reimbursement rate structure;
• adoption assistance payments; and
• the statewide standardized level of care assessment.

The committee will re-evaluate the foster care payment system every four years.

LB530 passed 44-0 and takes effect immediately.

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