On February 9, 2018, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was signed into law which included the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).
Prevention Services and Programs
Under the FFPSA states have an opportunity to increase funding for services and programs to keep youth out of foster care. To access funding states must have systems in place to determine eligibility, write prevention plans, and provide evidence-based services. ESI consultants assist states in developing the infrastructure and steps required to begin serving youth and families with services funded by prevention dollars. ESI consultants work with agency leaders to identify compliance concerns and develop comprehensive implementation plans. Through technical assistance, ESI provides expert guidance to ensure that states have the systems in place to demonstrate compliance.
Limits on non-Foster Family Placements
To reduce congregate care placement, the FFPSA places limitations on using non-foster family placements. These new requirements will help ensure that youth are receiving services in the most appropriate placements. These requirements apply to states placing children in congregate care placements and facilities receiving placements that are paid for with federal funds. States must develop systems to ensure that decisions to place youth in congregate care facilities are made based on legitimate treatment needs, families are engaged in the process, and the duration of placement is closely monitored. The law also creates a new facility type, Qualified Residential Treatment Facility or QRTF.
ESI assists states in evaluating their current practices for placement in congregate care facilities. This includes conducting gap analyses and providing detailed recommendations to achieve compliance with FFPSA. ESI also assists residential treatment facilities in meeting the federal requirements to continue to serve foster youth placements.