On Feb. 9, President Donald Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) to keep the government funded for six more weeks and pave the way for a long-term budget deal that will extend to the end of the fiscal year. Included in the act is the Family First Prevention Services Act, which has the potential to dramatically change child welfare systems across the country.
One of the major areas this legislation seeks to change is the way Title IV-E funds can be spent by states. Title IV-E funds previously could be used only to help with the costs of foster care maintenance for eligible children; administrative expenses to manage the program; and training for staff, foster parents, and certain private agency staff; adoption assistance; and kinship guardianship assistance.
The Family First Prevention Services Act also seeks to curtail the use of congregate or group care for children and instead places a new emphasis on family foster homes. With limited exceptions, the federal government will not reimburse states for children placed in group care settings for more than two weeks. Approved settings, known as qualified residential treatment programs, must use a trauma-informed treatment model and employ registered or licensed nursing staff and other licensed clinical staff. The child must be formally assessed within 30 days of placement to determine if his or her needs can be met by family members, in a family foster home or another approved setting.
To read more information on Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSC) please click here.