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Letting Kids Be Kids: Nebraska’s Implementation of the Strengthening Families Act.

Publication Year: 
Corporate Author: 
Nebraska Strengthening Families Act Stakeholder Group.
Technical Report
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This report highlights the passage of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (also known as the Strengthening Families Act or SFA), passed by the United States Congress in September 2014, and designed to promote safety, permanency, well-being, and normalcy for youth in foster care. It explains several specific provisions of the Act are focused on ensuring that children and youth in foster care have access to these same childhood experiences as their non-foster care peers or “normalcy.” Specifically, the SFA instructs States to: implement the reasonable and prudent parent standard to allow foster parents to use their best judgment in making day-to-day decisions including what activities youth can take part in; limit the use of APPLA or Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (known as independent living in Nebraska) as a permanency goal for youth under 16; involve youth ages 14 and older in their case plan and provide them with a list of right; and provide youth at age 18 with important documents (e.g., birth certificate, social security card, etc.) before they leave foster care. The report summarizes the provisions of the SFA that are related to normalcy and outlines recommendations from a broad group of Nebraska stakeholders on how Nebraska can fully implement the law to achieve its intended goals. This process for developing the recommendations included the input and feedback from over 300 stakeholders and young people across Nebraska, through two stakeholder meetings, as well as surveys and focus groups. The recommendations address: the reasonable and prudent parent standard, youth notice of rights, and case planning. 29 references.

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