In February 2018, the United States Congress passed the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). This law restructures child welfare funding, particularly Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act that pays for services for children in foster care and other services for families.

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During fiscal year 2017, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) served 98,730 children from 35,725 families through Family Based Safety Services and 50,293 children in DFPS conservatorship. FFPSA could affect many of these services in the future.

DFPS is taking a deliberate approach to analyzing the effects of this law and is focused on ensuring continuity in the areas of child safety, quality of care, and services for children in their own homes whenever possible.

DFPS will work with many stakeholders to fully understand which services are eligible under FFPSA and which providers the law affects. DFPS is also working to determine the infrastructure needed to implement the law and to complete a cost-benefit analysis. All this information will help Texas determine its approach and any subsequent plan.

There are more questions than answers at the early stages of any major system change. As we learn more, DFPS will post new information on this page about what this law means for the children, youth, and families of Texas as well as the providers and others who serve them.

We welcome you to review the Family First Prevention Services Act (pages 169-206) and sign up for email updates in the box above.

You may also send questions, comments, or concerns to our Family First Prevention Act email box. DFPS will post FAQ’s or other information on this page based on your feedback.

Summary of Family First Prevention Services Act

Part I

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50711

Immediately for technical assistance; 10/1/18 for remainder (FFP not available until FFY20 at earliest; if state delays limitations on congregate care FFP, claiming cannot begin until same year as limitations take effect for the state)

Gives states option of amending state plan in order to claim IV-E dollars (without regard to child's IV-E eligibility) for enhanced front-end services for mental health, substance abuse, and in-home skills based parenting programs for up to 12 months for the following population:

  • Foster care candidates
  • Pregnant/parenting foster youth
  • Parents and kin caregivers of such candidates or foster youth

Services must meet general requirements and practice requirements, including requirement to be a promising, supported, or well-supported practice and to be trauma-informed.

State must collect and report information at the child level on services provided, total expenditures, duration of services, and for candidates, foster care status. Info will be used to evaluate state performance on measures.
MOE requirement is all state and local foster care prevention expenditures made by state in FFY14.

Federal share:

  • FY20-26: 50% match
  • FY27 on: FMAP

so long as 50% of state expenditures are for well-supported practices.
Administrative claims, employee training, and kinship navigator programs:  50% match

Potential fiscal implications (if state exercises option)

  • Costs of developing capacity and workforce for delivering Family Prevention Services that meet the evidence based thresholds in the bill (including minimum of 50% at well-supported level)
  • Costs for child specific reporting
  • State match above any FY14, (or for a rural state, can be FY 15 or FY 16 at state’s choice) expenditures that are counted as foster care prevention expenditures, including funding to support required comprehensive evaluation component for most services
  • Possible positive impact to administrative claiming (50% without regard to IV-E penetration rate)
  • Training for staff on foster care candidacy & prevention planning
  • Need for prevention workers

50712

10/1/18

  • Permits IV-E FC maintenance payments for up to 12months for a child placed with a parent in a licensed residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse, without regard to child's AFDC eligibility
  • Treatment must include aspects to support parenting and must be provided in a trauma informed framework
  • Payments are optional but states that chose to utilize option will need to explore facilities that meet criteria to maximize this type of funding
  • Unclear how provision interacts with limits on congregate care in Title II

50713

10/1/18

Permits a 50% match for kinship navigator programs so long as they meet current requirements in law and so long as they meet all practice requirements detailed in sec. 111 -- including that they be promising, supported, or well-supported

  • States that want to pursue match will need to determine if they have any programs that meet the requirements of the bill.
    • HHS indicated during NAPCWA call that several of the programs that received grants in 2012 would meet requirements in bill

Part II

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50721

10/1/18

Removes time limit for family reunification services while child is in foster care in IV-B-2 (42 U.S.C. 629a(a)(7); clarifies that the services can be provided to a child who has been returned home from a foster care episode but only for 15 months.

None at this time. The time limit was used primarily to code funding.  Allotment not increased so current practice should remain in effect.

50722

10/1/18

  • Requires states to implement use of electronic interstate case processing system for ICPC requests by 10/1/27 to allow electronic exchange of data and documents to expedite ICPC placements.
  • Permits states to receive funds to develop an electronic system; reserves $5M per FFY 18-22 for such funds

Impact to states and advantages of pursing funding is unclear.  It is also unclear whether change from filed version from “grants” to “funds” is substantive.

50723

10/1/18

Renews authority for substance abuse related grants; makes minor updates (e.g., redefines the term “regional partnership” to specify the list of mandatory partners for partnership grants, mandatory partners for partnership grants specifically proposing to serve children in out-of-home placements, and optional partners; provides specific grant application requirements).

States should consider grant application.

Part III

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50731

Immediate [1]

Requires ACF to develop model standards for relative foster homes and for states to explain any deviations from those standards once adopted.

None at this time.

50732

10/1/18

Requires statewide plan to prevent abuse/neglect fatalities, including improved reporting and engaging public/private partners in prevention.

States will need to determine what, if any, additional steps are needed beyond what is currently in annual state plan.

50733

Immediate

Name change for title IV-E to "Federal Payments for Foster Care, Prevention and Permanency"

None

50734

n/a

Eff. date provision; see individual sections [2]

None

Part IV

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50741

  • Training for legal personnel--1/1/18 [3]
  • Limitations on FFP; definitions; requirement of non-impact to juvenile justice—10/1/19 unless delayed up to 10/1/21 at option of state.

After 2 weeks of placement, permits FFP only for:

  • Foster family home, as defined below
  • Specialized setting for prenatal, post-partum, or parenting supports for youth
  • SIL (ages 18+)
  • Specialized setting for trafficking victims or children/youth at risk of trafficking
  • Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs)
  • [Likely – pending ACF guidance] residential family-based treatment facility

QRTPS: narrowly defined; similar to RTCs but must also, inter alia:

  • Utilize a trauma-informed treatment model to address needs of children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders/disturbances
  • Have nursing and other licensed clinical staff:
    • on site during business hours in accordance with the required trauma informed treatment model; and
    • available 24/7
  • Involve family in treatment process as appropriate; perform outreach to all known bio relatives including siblings and fictive kin
  • Document the integration of family including sibling connections
  • Be licensed by state regulatory authority and accredited
  • Provide discharge planning and family-based aftercare support for at least 6 months post discharge

Also prohibits FFP after 30 days if placement determined no longer appropriate or for entire placement in the individual QRTP if required assessment not conducted timely.

State can claim admin costs even where no FFP for maintenance

Foster family home defined as home of family or individual (renting permissible):

  • Licensed/approved in accordance with state standards;
  • Who resides with child and is licensed as a foster parent; and
    • Can meet standard for reasonable, prudent parent,
    • Provides 24 hour substitute care, and
    • Has no more than 6 foster children, unless exception met.

Foster family home may exceed 6 foster children:

  • To allow pregnant or parenting youth to remain with their child
  • To keep siblings together
  • If the child/youth has an established meaningful relationship with the foster parent
  • If the foster parent can provide specialized skills for a child with a severe disability.

State cannot adopt policies or practices that lead to increase in juvenile justice placements.

Requires training on federal placement policies for judges, attorneys and court personnel for state to receive Court Improvement Project funding.

Will require states to consider following costs:

  • six months of aftercare support following QRTP discharge;
  • loss of FFP for congregate care placements for IV-E eligible children not in QRTPs;
  • interim costs to develop additional foster home capacity;
  • on-site or contracted nursing and licensed clinical staff;
  • accreditation;
  • significant IT revisions necessary to ensure proper claims are submitted;
  • increasing QRTP capacity; and
  • assessments;

Likely impact to workers of court hearings and intensive case plan documentation requirements

50742

1/1/18

Requires assessment of QRTP placements. Must be:

  • Within 30 days
  • Made using age-appropriate evidence-based, validated functional assessment tool
  • Determined appropriate and thoroughly documented by a qualified individual not employed by state or affiliated with a particular placement setting (unless ACF grants exception)
  • Includes list of long and short term mental and behavioral health goals
  • Re-determined to be appropriate by court (or administrative body approved by court) within 60 days of placement
  • Qualified individual must work with a family and permanency team assembled by the state, which includes all appropriate biological family members, relatives & fictive kin of the child, as well as appropriate professionals and up to 2 representatives chosen by youth 14 or older

State must meet lengthy and involved case documentation requirements in case plan and put on evidence of appropriateness at each hearing.

Commissioner has to sign submission to ACF if a child of any age remains in a QRTP 12 or more consecutive or 18 or more non-consecutive months; and if any child under 13 is in a QRTP for over 6 months.

Costs:

  • Additional staff time for family outreach and consultation for QRTP assessment; loss of FFP if assessment not conducted timely or new placement not secured within 30 days of QRTP being determined inappropriate
  • Costs for additional court hearings for QRTP placement
  • Costs for additional staff time/documentation

50743

1/1/18

Requires states to put in place procedures and protocols to prevent inappropriate diagnoses and any ensuing inappropriate placements.

States must evaluate impact and plan for implementation

50744

1/1/18

Requires annual report by ACF; replaces required report components from HR 4980 and makes minor modifications. Unclear how ACF will obtain the information from states but report is to include:

  • Type of placement and range of children in each child care institutional placement
  • Number of children in the placement setting and the age, race, ethnicity, and gender of each of the children
  • For each child in the placement setting, length of placement, number of placements, whether this is the first placement and if not type and number of prior placements, and whether the child has any diagnosed conditions/special needs
  • Extent of any specialized services provided in the setting
  • Separately, the number and ages of children in the placements whose permanency plan is APPLA

States will need to evaluate necessary technical changes and costs associated with collecting data (without knowing ACF's technical specifications and precise requirements)

50745

10/1/18 [4]

Requires the state (in order to receive federal monies) to provide procedures for any child care institution (group home, RTC, shelter, or other congregate care setting) to conduct abuse/neglect registry and criminal records checks, including fingerprint-based checks of national crime information databases..
These checks must be done on any adult working in the child-care institution unless the state reports to HHS the alternative criminal records checks and child abuse registry check the state conducts on these adults and why the above mentioned new checks are not appropriate.

Texas already fingerprint checks and criminal records checks (As well as child abuse registry checks) all child-care institution employees and staff

50746

n/a

  • Effective date provision
  • Provisions generally take effect 1/1/18.
  • Provisions requiring state legislation have until first day of first quarter following the next legislative session.
  • Background check requirement takes effect 10/1/18. Limitations on FFP take effect 10/1/19 with delay, at state option, up until 10/1/21. (Ability to claim IV-E under Part I delayed by commensurate period).

See above.

Part V

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50751

Amends 42 U.S.C. 629a to add purpose and extremely meager funding ($8M for entire country through FFY 22) related to supporting and retaining foster families.

N/A

50752

n/a

  • Extends IV-B-1 and -2 through 2021
  • Extends funding reservations for monthly caseworker visits and regional partnership grants through 2021
  • Reauthorizes Court Improvement Program funding through 2012
  • Repeals 42 USC 629h(e) --grant funding for improving data collection and training-- because it expired in 2010 and has never been reauthorized

Appears funding is continued at current levels.

50753

 

Expands pool of youth and young adults potentially eligible for Chafee benefits by, among other things:

  • Allowing certain benefits up to age 23, rather than 21, for states that have taken the option to extend foster care to youth to age 21, or states that HHS determines are using state or other funds to provide services and assistance to youth who have aged out that are comparable to those services youth would receive if the state had taken the option to extend care.
  • Allowing other benefits to be paid starting at age 14 and not only for those likely to age out of care but all those who have experienced foster care at age 14 and up.
  • Allows ETV to be claimed starting at age 14.  Extends ETV from age 23 up to age 26, as long as the student is making satisfactory progress towards completion of the program.  However, ETV is limited to only 5 years, consecutive or non-consecutive.
  • If a state has unspent Chafee funds remaining (i.e. at the end of the two-year period that funds are available to them), HHS can make those available to redistribute to other states that apply for additional funds, as long as HHS determines that those states will use the funds for the purposes stated. The amount redistributed to the states will be based on the “state foster care ratio” (i.e. the number of children in foster care in one state compared to the overall number of children in foster care nationally). Tribes can also participate.
  • Requires the U.S. Secretary of HHS, no later than October 1, 2019, to prepare a report for Congress using NYTD and any other data bases in which states report outcome measures.  The report must include benchmarks for determining what constitutes poor outcomes for youth who remain in care or who age-out of care and the plans the executive branch will take to incorporate the benchmarks in evaluating child welfare agency performance.

Adds definition of transitional living services; modifies requirements, including training and opportunities to practice daily living skills, etc.

Requires states to provide for those exiting foster care at age 18 or older, unless they have been in care for less than 6 months, official documentation to prove the individual was previously in foster care.

 

Part VI

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50761

10/1/17

Reauthorizes adoption and legal guardianship incentive programs through FFY 20; authorizes appropriation through FFY 2021.

 

Part VII

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50771

Rule proposal required within 24 mos. of enactment

Requires ACF to propose within 24 months of enactment a rule to designate data exchange standards to govern: (1) necessary categories of information that state agencies operating programs under approved state plans are required to electronically share with another state under applicable federal law; and (2) federal reporting and data exchange required under applicable Federal law

Data exchange standard regulations likely to have substantial state costs but will be two years following enactment and state can comment through public comment process regarding shape and burden of regulations.

Part VIII

Bill Section Effective Date Description Impact & Next Steps

50781

As if enacted on 1/1/18

Delays delink of AFDC from adoption assistance eligibility.

Additional analysis on impact of revisions needed. However, appears to set age of delink at 2 until 7/1/24 and allow delink for children of any ages from that date forward. Specifically regarding TX, Impact presumed to be relatively minimal as few recipients are currently under 2. Also unclear given effective date whether any AA agreement entered with respect to a child under 2 prior to 1/1/18 must have claims reversed.

50782

 

Requires GAO study and report of how states are following requirements and restrictions related to delinking

 

1. ACF has until 10/1/18 to develop; states must respond by 4/1/19.

2. Note there is the possibility of an optional delay in effective date if legislation is required but effect is essentially nil to state (changes must be made by first day of first quarter following session)

3. For effective dates prior to date of enactment, legislation specifies that the provision is in effect as though it had been enacted on the specified date.

4. State has option of delay for required legislation. See footnote 1.