The federal Prevention Services Clearinghouse has cleared five new service models for funding under the Family First Prevention Services Act, bringing the current number of options up to 34.
The Family First Act was passed in February of 2018, and mostly took effect in October of 2019, although states were given the option to delay its onset until October of this year. It enables states to use the Title IV-E entitlement — previously reserved for foster care and adoption support — to fund services aimed at working with parents without the need for a family separation. Those services must be evidence-based and apply to three areas: parenting, substance abuse treatment and mental health interventions.
At the same time, the law restricts federal funds for the placement of foster youth in group homes and other “congregate care” options. States will only be able to draw funds for such placements for two weeks, with exceptions for programs that serve some niche populations and for accredited providers using trauma-informed, clinical models. Even in those cases, a judge will need to periodically approve the need for continued use of a congregate care facility.
The clearinghouse for Family First is limited to three types of in-home services — substance abuse, mental health and parenting interventions — and kinship navigator programs, which help support relatives and family friends caring for loved ones. And it is further restricted to models of services that are deemed to be promising practices or evidence-based interventions by the established clearinghouse.
Approved services are given one of three rankings: Well-Supported, Supported and Promising. At least half of state spending under Family First will need to be on the services with a “Well-Supported” designation.
The new additions are:
Positive Parenting Program, often referred to as Triple P, a parenting intervention that can be used to serve families of children with “significant social, emotional or behavioral problems,” or for “families who wish to prevent such problems.” Triple P received a Supported rating.
Child First, a model aimed at mitigating toxic stress in the lives of young children by connecting parents with available assistance in the community and strengthening parent-child relationships.
Two versions of Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, one for adults and one for adolescents. The adolescent version received a rating of Supported, and the adult iteration was rated Promising.
Family Spirit, a home visiting model specifically tailored for young Native American mothers that was developed in the 1990s in a partnership between Johns Hopkins University and the Navajo, White Mountain Apache and San Carlos Apache tribal communities. The model received a Promising rating.
There are now 10 Well-Supported programs, eight Supported and 16 Promising. Another 21 programs have been reviewed and found to not meet the criteria for admission, including all of the kinship navigator models that have been reviewed thus far. Another three dozen programs are currently planned for review by the clearinghouse.