The Family First Prevention Services Act: A Mixed Bag of Reform

"Earlier this month, the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456) was finally introduced after more than a year of hearings and behind-the-scenes work by Congressional staff. The bill has two main purposes: to bolster federal investments to prevent entries into foster care, and to reduce the number of children and youth who are placed in congregate care settings." READ MORE

In Support of Prevention Funding, But Not at the Expense of Children in Foster Care

"...the federal policy discussion around bolstering front-end funding all too often sets up a sort of competition between prevention and foster care. As I’ve discussed previously, this is because the advocacy community has conceded budget neutrality, and is therefore willing to cut funds from services to children who can only be safe in foster care, in order to increase investment in prevention." READ MORE

Our Inadequate Response to an Underestimated Problem

"If we found out a public health crisis was three to four times greater than previously known, how quickly would Congress authorize emergency spending to combat it? I certainly hope it would not wait for the next budget debate, or make the response budget neutral. Our elected officials should be held to the same standard when it comes to child protection." READ MORE

 

The $2 Billion Question: Why Haven’t We De-Linked?

"There are few child welfare policy issues more perplexing than the persistence of the 1996 income standards that determine Title IV-E eligibility. Title IV-E of the Social Security creates the entitlement that pays for foster care. The fact that the income eligibility standard has not even been indexed for inflation in 20 years means that fewer and fewer children entering foster care receive federal assistance every year." READ MORE

Block Grants Are Funding Suicide

"...a block grant would likely undermine critical protections for children conveyed through the entitlement. The IV-E entitlement provides beneficiaries with a legal right to benefits and a private right of action, holding states accountable under federal law for providing services and making them legally vulnerable should they fail to do so." READ MORE

The Great Waiver Myth

Given the mixed programmatic results of the waivers and the serious outstanding questions around the fiscal incentives they create, we should all have serious reservations about whether waivers provide a model or roadmap for what comprehensive child welfare finance reform should ultimately look like. READ MORE