The following statistics are from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
At the end of August 2012, there were 5,917 children who were wards of the state.
* 27% were age 0 to 5 years (1600 kids)
* 18% were 6 to 10 years (1056 kids)
* 26% were 11 to 15 years (1516 kids)
* 29% were 16 to 19 years (1745 kids)
Based on cases in 2010-2011...
-the median length of stay in foster care for a child in Nebraska is 14.4 months.
-about 68% of those kids went back home to their biological families
-about 13% of those kids were adopted out of the system
-the remaining 19% either stayed in the system or aged-out into young adulthood
As of June 30, 2012, there were 327 Nebraska children that were free for adoption and seeking placement in a permanent adoptive family.
A brief description of how it is determined a child needs to be in foster care.
The following is a simplified version of the steps in a child’s case.
1. A medical professional, educator, neighbor, family member or other person makes a report of child abuse or neglect. This call can go to law enforcement or to DHHS-CPS. Reports of abuse or neglect received by law enforcement or DHHS are to be cross-reported to each other.
2. A decision is made whether or not to investigate the report.
3. Either law enforcement or CPS may be involved in the investigation; however, only law enforcement may remove a child from his/her parent’s custody unless a petition is requested or DHHS already has custody.
4. The County Attorney files a petition with the Court detailing the allegations. The Court makes a ruling whether the evidence supports the Court’s jurisdiction over the child and the parents, and whether the child shall be placed out of the home.
5. DHHS develops the permanency plan for the child and presents it to the Court. If there are no objections to the permanency plan, it is court ordered.
6. DHHS provides services to children and their families as specified in the court-ordered permanency plan.
7. Court hearings are held at predetermined intervals as required by law.
8. If the evidence shows parental compliance with the goals of the permanency plan, then reunification may continue to be pursued as a goal, and the child returned to the parents.
9. If there is no compliance, or compliance is substantially inadequate, either the state or the child’s guardian ad litem may file a petition with the Court requesting that the parents' rights be terminated. The Court decides this issue at a hearing at which the parents, their lawyers, the child’s guardian ad litem and the county attorney are present. If the Court terminates rights, and if no appeal is taken, or if the appeal is denied, then the child may be placed for adoption. Adoption is finalized by a ruling by the Court.
Statistics are from the FCRB’s tracking system unless otherwise noted. Nebraska Foster Care Review Board 2008 Annual Report