In 2018 NFPN News Notes had posts on the opioid epidemic, trauma-informed care, engaging fathers, reunification, kinship care, and the Family First Prevention Services Act.
If I had to choose one topic that I believe will have the most impact for the future, it would be the Family First Act. It’s not just the act itself that will have an impact. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is using the legislation as a springboard to reshape the child welfare system.
ACF has issued guidance (not mandates) on topics affecting the child welfare system, including legal representation, father involvement, and, most importantly, primary prevention. In the past ACF has largely focused on foster care and adoption, occasionally mentioning prevention. Now, their top priority is to “reshape child welfare to focus on proactively strengthening families through primary prevention of child maltreatment.” In other words, a child welfare system should keep families safe, healthy, and together whenever possible before remedial efforts become necessary. The result is that the child welfare system partners with community service providers to meet the needs of families before families enter the public child welfare system.
It’s also important to note that while ACF says the public child welfare system may provide funding for primary prevention, it would not be involved in providing the services. Community services will be voluntary and open to everyone in the community.
To view the ACF memo on Primary Prevention visit https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/im1805
Here are links to other guidance provided by ACF: Legal Representation https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/im1702 Father Involvement https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/resource/acf-acf-im-18-01-integrating-approaches-that-prioritize-and-enhance-father-engagement
ACF does mandate how to implement the Family First Act. A key component of the Act is a clearinghouse to review and approve Evidence-Based Practice programs that will constitute the services to families. ACF has released its initial criteria for reviewing services and programs and a list of the first 10 programs that will be reviewed. You can find the information here: https://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ACYF-CB-PI-18-09-Attachment-C-Clearinghouse-Initial-Criteria.pdf Instructions to states for implementing Family First are available here: https://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ACYF-CB-PI-18-09-State-FFPSA-Prevention-PI.pdf
There is a lot of reading involved in this post but it’s important to understand the perspective of the federal government with regard to helping families. It will have a tremendous impact on families and the workforce for years to come!
Speaking of the workforce, thank you for selflessly helping families year in and year out. NFPN salutes you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Posted by Priscilla Martens, Executive Director