New Director, New Directions for Family Focused Treatment Association

Family Focused

Ryan Dowis, the new executive director of the Family Focused Treatment Association. Photo: Twitter

Consonant with its expanded approach to developing, promoting and supporting children in the child welfare system, the recently renamed Family Focused Treatment Association has hired its first executive director to lead the nonprofit’s transition to tackling a broader mandate under a new, landmark federal law.

FFTA, formerly known under that acronym as the Foster Family-based Treatment Association, selected Ryan Dowis, an executive with long experience in the child welfare field. Dowis will guide the association as it shifts from providing treatment exclusively for foster children and youth to addressing the treatment needs of children and youth in all families. 

Before joining FFTA as the executive director, Dowis served on its board of directors for four years and chaired the Membership Committee. He also served on the association’s Executive, Public Policy and Conference committees.

Previously, he was chief operating officer and executive vice president of Cornerstones of Care, a Kansas City-based community service agency and FFTA member organization. He also has relevant experience in the private sector and state government.

FFTA, founded in 1988 and based in New Jersey, boasts more than 470 member agencies in 47 states, five provinces and three countries. It is not tied to a single model of serving children and families, just a membership group representing treatment-oriented services.

Its network of members is poised to play a significant role as states begin to come in line with the recently passed Family First Prevention Services Act. The law opened up the federal Title IV-E child welfare entitlement, previously reserved for foster care and adoption, to include certain evidence-based services aimed at preventing the need for removals. Family First also limits federal funding for group homes and institutions to just two weeks, with a few notable exceptions.

Both of these changes could benefit FFTA. Many of its members are certified in Family Centered Treatment, which has received temporary approval for prevention services under Family First and is being reviewed now for permanent inclusion. And if the limits on federal spending for group homes causes states to use them less, the therapeutic foster care programs run by many FFTA members could be a key alternative.


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