Supporting Informal Kinship Families in Nebraska.

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Voices for Children in Nebraska.
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This issue brief is on the challenges that informal kinship care families face in the state of Nebraska and the identification of potential areas in which family support can be increased. It begins by defining kinship care and discussing the challenges of providing kinship care. Statistics on grandparent-headed households in Nebraska are share and indicate: median family income is approximately 28% lower among kinship families ($42,708) than all families ($58,926); nearly 70% have had full-time care of their children for at least 1 year; 32% have had full-time care of their children for 5 or more years; about 31% are single-parent caregivers and nearly 63% are female; families of color are overrepresented and about 52% are racial and ethnic minorities; Black or African Americans are twice as likely to be a kinship caregiver, while American Indians are nearly six times as likely to be a kinship caregiver; and nearly 12% reported living with some disability of their own. Resources for inform kinship families are reviewed, including financial assistance, and the following policy recommendations are made: increase the stability of kinship homes by aligning and strengthening preexisting public assistance programs to be responsive to the needs of kinship families, allow caregivers to make important decisions for the children in their care by creating a uniform means of obtaining authority over educational and medical decisions; and seek thoughtful and proactive community-based solutions to the emotional, social, and health needs of informal kinship care by creating a statewide kinship care coalition. 23 references.

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