The federal clearinghouse that approves foster care prevention services has okayed five new programs, while rejecting seven models with an evidence base that it assessed as “does not currently meet criteria” for inclusion.
The Title IV- E Prevention Services Clearinghouse was established in relation to the Family First Prevention Services Act, which was passed in February of 2018. The law 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. Each approved model of services is given one of three ratings based on the strength of its evidence base: Well-Supported, Supported or Promising.
The services must be evidence-based and apply to three areas: parenting, substance abuse treatment and mental health interventions. The clearinghouse also uses the same method to review kinship navigator programs, which are one-stop shops for supporting relative caregivers. States can draw a 50% funding match for versions of the kinship navigator approach approved by the clearinghouse.
The Foster Kinship Navigator Program, built and operated by the nonprofit Foster Kinship in Nevada, was given a rating of Promising, meaning it is now the fourth version of a kinship navigator that can be used by a child welfare system with federal funding through Title IV-E. It joins Colorado Kinnected and Arizona Kinship Support Services, both approved recently and an Ohio navigator program with a more limited scope that was given the green light by the clearinghouse in 2021.
Also cleared for federal funding under the Family First Act:
Common Sense Parenting, a group parenting class for people with children between the ages of 6 and 16; rated Promising.
Multisystemic Therapy — Building Stronger Families, a version of the already-approved MST brand that focuses on parents who are struggling with substance abuse issues; rated Supported.
Promoting First Relationships, a home visiting program aimed at helping caregivers handle challenging child behavior; rated Promising.
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, which aims to help youth and adults struggling with “moderate to severe” substance use disorders; rated Promising.
The clearinghouse rejected an adaptation of Common Sense Parenting for use with toddlers and preschoolers, as well as six other models: Assertive Community Treatment, Functional Family Probation/Parole, Group Combined Parent-Child Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Individual Combined Parent-Child Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and two iterations of Trauma Systems Therapy, one of which is focused specifically on caregivers of children in foster care.
The approvals of the past month bring the total number of foster care prevention services under Family First to 65: 15 rated as Well-Supported, 16 as Supported, and 34 as Promising. It has rejected 61 programs for not meeting the criteria.
CORRECTION: This story originally said there were three approved models of kinship navigators, and has been updated to reflect that there are four.