A roundup of some of The Imprint’s most impactful stories in 2020.
The Family First Prevention Services Act, the most consequential rewrite of federal child welfare policy in decades, was signed into law in 2018 and took effect at the end of 2019, making 2020 the first full year of effect. The law opens up the federal child welfare entitlement for the first time to support services aimed at preventing the use of foster care in some child welfare cases, and it also restricts federal funds for the placement of children into group homes or institutions.
Lead Reads: In late 2019, the District of Columbia became the first jurisdiction in the country to gain approval under the law. In 2020, eight states have been approved – Washington became the sixth in October, and North Dakota and West Virginia have gotten the green light since then. Another six states have a plan under consideration right now.
Also Read: Entering the second full year of Family First, no kinship support programs have been approved for funds under the law, and the clearinghouse that reviews candidates has been less than clear about why.
One approved service that was celebrated by some skeptical of Family First overall was Homebuilders, a popular family preservation program.
Outcomes-based contracts should be a staple of Family First Act transactions, argues Debra Solomon of Third Sector. Imprint columnist Paul DiLorenzo says the key to success is building more community trust in child welfare agencies.