Members of Congress in both the Senate and the House are interested in providing states with additional resources and support to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First). The Family First Transition and Support Act, S 1376, was introduced on May 8, 2019 in the Senate by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and the identical bill HR 2702 was introduced in the House on May 14, 2019 by Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Debra Haaland (D-NM), and James Langevin (D-RI). On May 23, 2019, Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduced HR 3017, the Family First Transition and Assistance Act.
As introduced similarities between the Family First Transition and Support Act (FFTSA) and the Family First Transition and Assistance Act (FFTAA) both provides support for meeting the requirements of Family First and would do the following:
Family First Transition and Support Act would delay the 50 percent well-supported prevention practices requirement, starting October 1, 2019 to 2026 while the Family First Transition and Assistance Act would phase in the 50 percent well-supported prevention practices requirement:
• 0 percent for FY 2020 to FY 2023,
• 20% for FY 2024 and 2025,
• 35% for FY 2026 and 2027, and
• 50% by FY 2028
The Family First Transition and Support Act (FFTSA)Temporary additional funding for foster parent recruitment and increasing quality family and residential care settings with $75 million for each two years (FY2020 and FY2021) to support family foster care recruitment and retention, including and expanding therapeutic treatment foster care and other needed foster care services Additional funding to support for foster family homes and support to increase quality family and residential care settings.
The Family First Transition and Assistance Act (FFTAA) would provide $20 million for each four years (FY2020 to FY2024) in competitive grants to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality foster families for states, territories and tribes with the highest percentage of children in non-family settings.
FFTSA would provide additional support and resources to states, territories, and tribes with noteworthy assistance includes:
Elimination of the “lookback” eligibility requirements for title IV-E foster care that would expand the federal funding coverage of children and youth placed in family foster care. FFTSA would also provide more funding and training for caseworker and workforce development for the next two years by $30 million. Currently states and territories receive $20 million to improve the quality of monthly caseworker visits with children in foster care and increased funding could be used to support challenges in child welfare and increase permanency and stability for children in foster care and stabilize and adequately staff the child welfare workforce.
Another provision of FFTSA that is critical to the implementation of Family First is the additional funds for state-directed research for evaluation and identification of evidence-based prevention practices. $15 million would be available for HHS to make competitive grants to states, territories, or tribes and $5 million would be directed to HHS for identification and approval of programs and services that meet the eligibility of the Prevention Services Clearinghouse.