The Family First Prevention Services Act: Historic Reforms to the Child Welfare System Will Improve Outcomes for Vulnerable Children.
Children's Defense Fund.
Published: February 2018
Children's Defense Fund (CDF)
25 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 628.8787 (800) 233.1200
This brief explains that on February 9, 2018, President Trump signed into law the landmark bipartisan Family First Prevention Services Act, as part of Division E in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892). The Family First law includes historic reforms to help keep children safely with their families and avoid the traumatic experience of entering foster care, emphasizes the importance of children growing up in families, and helps ensure children are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate to their special needs when foster care is needed. Provisions of the legislation are described that address: investing prevention and family services, enhanced support under Title IV-B, improving licensing standards for relative foster family homes, ensuring the necessity of a placement that is not in a foster family home, continuing support for child and family services, continuing incentives to States to promote adoption and legal guardianship, and ensuring States reinvest savings resulting from increases in Adoption Assistance. The law eliminates the current 15-month time-limit on the use of Title IV-B funds for family reunification services for children in foster care, however, it clarifies that a child returning home also will now have access to 15-months of family reunification services beginning on the date the child returns home. It also restricts federal reimbursement for placements other than foster family homes, and extends to age 23 the financial, housing, counseling, employment, education, and other appropriate supports and services to former foster care youth under theJohn H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.
foster children; child welfare laws; child welfare reform; family preservation; family reunification; child placement; kinship care; extended foster care; independent living