Nebraska's Tool Kit for Systems Involved in the Education of Students in Out-of-Home Care

Tool D-1:  Frequently Asked Questions
Nebraska's Foster Care Review Boards

Part Two: Child Welfare System
Section D. Nebraska's Foster Care Review Boards

two boys looking solemnThe following summarizes questions about Foster Care Review Boards often posed by the primary systems involved in the education of students in out-of-home care. The responses are based on federal law, Nebraska statute, administrative rules, regulations and State agency memoranda. While statutory law, rules and regulations may address these topics in general terms, familiarity and discussion as to how a local Foster Care Review Board’s policies and procedures or Court protocols may relate to a particular child or youth under a specific set of circumstances is recommended as a matter of “best practice” and may greatly assist in advocating for that student and achievement of his or her academic and vocational goals.

For more information about the Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board, refer to Nebraska Revised Statutes (NRS) §43-1301 to 43-1318. For more information about Local Foster Care Review Boards, refer to NRS §43-1304 to 43-1306. Additional information is available via the State Foster Care Review Board website: www.fcrb.nebraska.gov, or call the main office in Lincoln: (402) 471-4420 or toll-free 1-800-577-3272.

 

State Foster Care Review Board


1. What is the State Foster Care Review Board (FCRB)?

The Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) is an independent State agency, separate from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Courts. The term “State Foster Care Review Board” also refers to this agency’s governing board (State Board). (Source: Nebraska Revised Statutes (NRS) §43-1301 to 43-1308)

2. What does the State Foster Care Review Board do?
The State Foster Care Review Board’s overall goal is to ensure the needs of children and youth in out-of-home care are being met and that they do not stay in the foster care system for too long. Its mission includes:

  • Ensuring the best interests of children and youth in out-of-home care are being met through external citizen review;
  • Monitoring out-of-home placements, residential programs and facilities which house children and youth;
  • Maintaining current data on all foster care placements within Nebraska through a statewide tracking system;
  • Disseminating data and recommendations to policy makers and the public through an Annual Report; and
  • Reviewing the activities of local Foster Care Review Boards and establishing rules and regulations governing those boards.
    (Source: Nebraska Revised Statute §43-285(6); NRS §43-1303; NRS §43-1308; NRS §43-1314.01; and NRS §43-1317)

3. How is the State Foster Care Review Board structured?
The State Foster Care Review Board is the eleven (11) member governing board, appointed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature, which oversees the State agency (FCRB). Local Foster Care Review Boards are established by the State Board and facilitated by paid staff called Review Specialists. Additional staff, who are State employees, complete other agency functions, such as tracking children and youth in out-of-home care and their outcomes. (Source: Nebraska Revised Statutes §43-1302 to 43-1306)

 

Local Foster Care Review Boards


1. What do local Foster Care Review Boards do?

Local Foster Care Review Boards are comprised of four (4) to ten (10) specially trained community volunteers, representing the various social, economic, racial and ethnic groups in their county(s). Local Boards review individual case files of children and youth in out-of-home care and solicit information from interested parties, such as schools, therapists and attorneys. The local Board develops a formal report of its findings and recommendations which, along with the information provided in the case review, is submitted to the Juvenile Court Judge and legal parties involved. The report addresses the following:

  • Whether there is a need for continued out-of-home placement;
  • Whether the current placement is safe and appropriate;
  • The specific reasons for the Board’s findings and recommendations;
  • Whether grounds for termination of parental rights appear to exist; and
  • The date of the next review by the Board.
    (Source: Nebraska Revised Statute §43-1304; NRS §43-1308; and NRS §43-1317)

2. Where are local Foster Care Review Boards located?
At the end of 2009, local Foster Care Review Boards were located in seventeen (17) communities across Nebraska. The more populous areas of the state are served by several local Boards (i.e., Omaha has 18 Boards).

3. How are Foster Care Review Boards involved in the education of students in out-of-home care?
As part of the case review process, schools may be sent an Invitation to Case Review and School Questionnaire with pertinent questions about the education and general well-being of a student in out-of-home care. Educators are encouraged to complete and return the Questionnaire as this information provides a more complete understanding of the child’s status. The local Board also contacts the out-of-home placement to determine whether they have received education-related information about the student.

Samples of the Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board’s School Questionnaire and Invitation to Case Review are provided in the Systems Tool Kit - Part Two, Tool D-2.

4. Is the information provided to a Foster Care Review Board from a student’s school records kept confidential?
Yes. Nebraska statute allows for a Foster Care Review Board to obtain and review copies of school records of students in out-of-home care. The local Board must keep this information confidential, submitting its findings and recommendations to only the Juvenile Court Judge and legal parties involved in the case. (Source: Nebraska Revised Statutes §43-1309 to 43-1310)

5. Are youth in out-of-home care involved in the Foster Care Review process?
The Foster Care Review Board may send a Youth Questionnaire to older children and youth in out-of-home care to provide them with an opportunity to share information about their current circumstances. The youth may also be invited to brief the local Board when it meets to review his or her case. Out-of-home caregivers are encouraged to allow the youth to provide information to the Board.

A sample of the Nebraska State Foster Care Review Board’s Youth Questionnaire is provided in the Systems Tool Kit - Part Two, Tool D.

 

 

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