The Oregon Department of Human Services has received federal approval for a plan to prevent children from entering foster care.
The move by the U.S. Children’s Bureau will allow the state to tap into millions of dollars in Title IV-E funding under the Family First Prevention Services Act. The money will be used to provide families and children with a range of substance abuse, mental health and parenting services before child protective services officials feel compelled to remove children for neglect or abuse.
Strengthening families and keeping them intact is seen as preferable to putting children and families through the trauma of separation following abuse and neglect allegations — if it can be done safely. Research shows that kids from stressed families fare better throughout life if they can maintain close family ties compared with children who go into the foster care system.
The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law by former President Trump in 2018. In addition to the new allowable use of IV-E dollars for preventing foster care placements, the law restricts federal spending on group homes and other congregate care options.
Until states have their plans approved, they may spend Title IV-E funds only “downstream,” to support children after they have been removed from the home.
States’ participation in the prevention services funded by Title IV-E is optional, though the restrictions on congregate care spending will take effect for all states in October. Oregon’s approval marks the 11th state and 13th system overall to gain approval. Here is a look at the current status of submissions and approvals.
|District of Columbia
|Aleut Community of St. Paul Island
|Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians