February 23, 2018
A significant piece of legislation – the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) – aimed at preventing high-risk children from entering foster care – was included in the short-term budget bill recently passed by Congress. This legislation changes how states can use Title IV-E money, typically used for foster care payments and adoption assistance. The funds can now go toward services to prevent children from entering the foster care system. The act allows states to use Title IV-E funds to provide up to 12 months of mental health services, addiction treatment or in-home parent skill training with the goal of keeping children with their parents or biological relatives.
The new law is financed through limiting federal payments for congregate care (residential treatment, PRTF etc.) and delaying the expansion of certain federal adoption subsidies. It is too early to know the specifics of how these new funds might be utilized in NC.