ContactOlga Dack, Deputy Director of Communications, (402) 840-0711, firstname.lastname@example.org
Garret Swanson, Office of Communications, (402) 480-0883; email@example.com
Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Children and Family Services (CFS) is pleased to announce a new program dedicated to providing additional assistance and services to foster children who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – Nebraska's Pandemic Foster Care Program.
The program was developed after President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) into law on December 27, 2020. The CAA provides federal funding for states to offer flexibilities and assistance to young adults between the ages of 19 and 26 who have aged out or are aging out of the Bridge to Independence Program (B2I) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although life in Nebraska has returned to normal since the state of emergency concluded, some children and families may continue to experience the consequences of the pandemic.
The Division of Children and Family Services (CFS), in partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF), is implementing additional services and supports due to the implementation of the CAA. Acceptance of additional supports and services is voluntary and participation in education or employment is not required. Eligible participants will be able to choose between two programs: Pandemic Foster Care Program through DHHS or Connected Youth Initiative Pandemic Support through Central Plains. DHHS's Pandemic Foster Care Program will offer case management, a monthly stipend, and transitional planning while Central Plains will offer coaching and a monthly stipend. Both programs are available until September 30, 2021.
“This is an amazing opportunity for young adults who aged out of the B2I program during the pandemic," says CFS Director Stephanie Beasley. “It is important that we as a community and as an Agency do everything in our power to assist these young adults during the pandemic."
Besides the establishment of a Pandemic Foster Care Program, the CAA also mandates that child welfare agencies may not require youth to leave foster care due to age before October 1, 2021, and additional funding will be provided for young adults participating in the Education and Training Voucher Program.
Letters have been sent out to Nebraskans who qualify for the Pandemic Foster Care Program and CFS representatives will be reaching out to qualified Nebraskans via phone. For more information refer to the Pandemic Foster Care website at https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Pandemic-Foster-Care.aspx or submit questions to DHHS.firstname.lastname@example.org.