Family First Prevention Services Act: What is it?

For many children, entering foster care is a traumatic event…just as traumatic (or more so) than the situation or home environment that led to removal in the first place. Signed into law in February 2018, the Family First Prevention Services Act desires to keep children safely with their families when possible and avoid the traumatic experience of entering foster care. Could more children stay with their parents or extended family members, if given access to needed mental health services, substance abuse treatment or improved parenting skills? That is the hope of this bipartisan Act, which was passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans alike.

The Family First Prevention Services Act is designed to help states do the following:

  • Support prevention services
  • Provide support for relative caregivers, also known as “kinship care”
  • Establish requirements for placement in residential treatment programs and improve quality and oversight of services
  • Improve services to youth who have aged out of foster care up to age 23

At AKB, we are excited to see states begin to enact and support these services, like in Virginia, where $163 million in additional funds for child welfare were budgeted this year with 10% of that designated to create a fund specifically to support kinship care. From prevention to adoption, AKB wants to see leaders empowered to solve the crisis for kids in foster care.

“This law makes our work here at AKB even more important, as funding shifts from institutions to prevention and reunification. Foster families who understand the importance of biological families are a key part of ensuring this effort is successful,” shares Janet Kelly, AKB Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and President of Virginia’s Kids Belong.

So where’s your place? Where can you extend your influence on behalf of kids? Learn how you can Join the Story.