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FAMILY FIRST PREVENTION SERVICES ACT (Family First Act)  

Making Historic Reforms to the Nation’s Children’s Services System    

The federal Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First Act, or FFPSA) was adopted on February 9, 2018 and will be implemented nationwide by October 1, 2021. The Family First Act places emphasis on the use of evidence based prevention services to alleviate the need for placement of children in foster care, and ensuring appropriate settings are used for children in foster care.   

The name of the law reflects its vision:     

  A  family first for children and teens through quality  prevention services

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OVERVIEW OF THE FAMILY FIRST ACT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR OHIO'S CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (Click to read the full Act or summaries of the Act.) 

  • Through dramatic funding changes, Family First puts the focus on prevention and – to the extent possible – keeping children out of foster care and with their families or relatives. It recognizes that often families can provide safe and loving care if given access to needed mental health services, substance abuse treatment or improved parenting skills.   
  • Family First is an excellent opportunity to increase some of the best practices that are already being implemented around the state, such as 30 Days to Family, Ohio START, and Team Decision Making.  
  • Foster Care: When foster care is necessary, Family First helps ensure that children are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate for their needs. It also provides new model standards for foster home licensing to improve the quality of care.  
  • Residential Treatment: For children for whom residential care remains the best option, it seeks to improve the quality and oversight of that care and ensure that residential facilities provide quality, trauma-informed supports.  
  • Kinship Care: Family First provides resources for Kinship Navigator Programs, which link kinship caregivers to a broad range of services and supports to help children remain safely with them. It also requires states to document how their foster care licensing standards accommodate kinship caregivers.  
  • Emancipated Youth: Family First provides opportunities to improve services for youth who age out of care. It also adds flexibility to the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program, which provides up to $5,000 a year for qualified school-related expenses.
  • Opioid Crisis: Family First seeks to offer more supportive services to families challenged by drug addiction since the opioid epidemic has taken an enormous toll on families and created unprecedented challenges for children services.  

PREVENTION SERVICES  

The Prevention Subcommittee’s goal is to design a prevention services plan that aligns evidence-based programs with the needs of Ohio’s families and children to keep children safe with their families whenever possible. This subcommittee has several workgroups:  

  1. In-Home Parenting Workgroup  
  2. Mental Health Workgroup  
  3. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workgroup  
  • Prevention Services Update - Ohio is working with the Center for the Study of Social Policy to host a Prevention Service Retreat and solidify the candidacy for foster care definition. 
  • Prevention Service Resources  

    QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAMS  

     QRTP ANNOUNCEMENT (Friday Dec. 6, 2019) - Governor's Office Letter announcing Family First and REQUIREMENTS FOR Ohio's Qualified Residential Treatment Programs!  

     The QRTP Subcommittee’s goal is to examine the Family First QRTP requirements and discuss how Ohio’s residential facilities can comply with those requirements. This subcommittee also has several workgroups:  
    1. Accreditation Workgroup  
    2. Agency Readiness Workgroup  
    3. Court Oversight Workgroup  
    4. Level of Care Workgroup  
    5. Licensing and Contracting Workgroup  
    6. Treatment Model Workgroup  

    QRTP Resources & Documents:

       KINSHIP AND ADOPTION NAVIGATOR 

      OhioKAN is tasked with developing a statewide Kinship and Adoption Navigator Program. This includes facilitating a stakeholder workgroup, researching and developing program content, creating a program website, and establishing communications products.   

      PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION:  WHAT IS OHIO DOING NOW?   

      To plan for the implementation, Ohio has several decisions to make. For example, how will we define candidacy for foster care? What will be our criteria for residential treatment programs? How will our kinship navigator program be structured? 

      • Ohio is working hard to involve as many people as possible in these decisions. Our Family First Leadership Advisory Committee, subcommittees, and workgroups are actively discussing these topics at monthly meetings. Members include leaders from public and private child serving agencies, state departments, the Supreme Court of Ohio, partner agencies, parents, foster care alumni, and caregivers.  
      • Ultimately, we must submit an implementation plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Once approved, any changes in practice must take effect no later than October 1, 2021. 

      FFPSA Leadership Advisory Committee Overview  Ohio’s Family First Leadership Advisory Committee is comprised of public and private organizations, advocacy groups, and former youth and families with lived experience. Together, they are informing Ohio’s implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act. The following subcommittees and workgroups are conducting research and making recommendations to the Leadership Committee for further consideration.

      MODEL LICENSING STANDARDS 

      COMMUNICATIONS AND RESOURCES  

      All resources created through the work of the Committee will be posted on this page.  Please check back often for information and resources below:

      Other Resources:   

      FFPSA Leadership Committee Meetings