The Prevention Services Clearinghouse, created under the Family First Act, has issued a new call for additional recommendations. As noted in the announcement the call is an opportunity for the public to recommend mental health, substance abuse, in-home parent skill-based, and kinship navigator programs and services for systematic review. Additional public calls for recommendations will occur on at least an annual basis. The deadline for this call is December 21, 2021. As noted in the announcement to be eligible to be listed as fundable prevention services program the programs or services must:

Address at least one of the four program or service areas: (1) mental health prevention and treatment programs or services, (2) substance abuse prevention and treatment programs or services, (3) in-home parent skill-based programs or services, and/or (4) kinship navigator programs. In addition, programs/services must have a book, manual, writings available and the programs and services must be clearly defined and replicable. They must have available written protocols, manuals, or other documentation that describes how to implement or administer the practice.

Of note in this new call, HHS indicates that the letter or e-mail submitting the review highlight two areas if they apply: COVID-19, that is specify whether review of the recommended program or service is of particular interest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in-home programs and services aiming to support or enhance the protective capacities of families.

The other highlighted priority are those services relevant to advancing equity and supporting underserved communities (if applicable). Specify how the recommendation supports the goals and requirements of the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities. For example, specify whether review of the recommended program or service is of particular interest due to the specific population it serves. This may include programs and services that are designed for or have been adapted for specific cultural, ethnic, or racial groups, or programs that aim to serve other populations that have been historically marginalized and/or have historic or ongoing disproportionate representation in the child welfare system. To this point, some of the programs under review or approved may not have been applied or tested in these populations. This issue has received greater focus during the pandemic and in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

One instance of limited cultural adaptation, HHS has allowed (under statutory authority) Tribal IV-E plans to make adaptations to apply programs in these tribal service areas. This flexibility however is limited to tribal areas served by tribal plans and not tribal areas served by state programs which are still limited to Clearinghouse-approved Family First Service programs/services.

Currently there are 41 programs that have been categorized as well-support, supported or promising with 11 of these receiving the highest rating of well-supported (three are home visiting models), 12 are classified as supported and 18 are promising. Approximately 73 programs have been reviewed as of December 7, 2021. Under the original legislation at least 50 percent of state spending must be on well-supported programs to qualify for the federal match (although some of these provisions have been suspended during parts of the pandemic).