Family relationships

Family First Prevention Services Act Celebrates 5 Years! How did Council members contribute?

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We want to celebrate this landmark legislation from 2018, as well as the hard work of the National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council before and after it was signed into law.

What is the Family First Prevention Services Act?

This Act is a piece of legislation that put funding towards:

  • Prevention Services
  • Supporting kinship (relative) caregivers
  • Improving services to older youth
  • Establishing requirements for placing youth in residential treatment facilities and improving the quality and oversight of those services. 

How did the National Foster Youth & Alumni Policy Council inform key stakeholders before the Act was passed?

Council members were instrumental in driving conversations toward prevention and supportive family services.

Priority: Preventing Unnecessary Removal of Children from their Families

  • Priority adopted in 2017
  • Incorporated research, conversations with stakeholders, direct Council member experience, AND a national poll of over 200 former foster youth 
  • Offered a webinar for key stakeholders to learn more about the priority and incorporate it into their practices
  • Priority statements:
    • Engage with us during the investigation and when developing prevention services for my family.
    • Don’t use our removal as a way to punish our parent(s).
    • We shouldn’t be removed because of the way one worker views our family.
    • Educate child welfare professionals about the importance of prevention services.
    • Substance abuse and mental health crisis is tearing our families apart - treat them with the urgency and resources called for.
    • Connect our families to services, even when we are not removed from our family and after we have been reunified with our family.
  • “We preach engagement in services and take those same services away when we close a case.” — Kodi, foster alumni from Iowa

Priority: Reducing Reliance on Congregate Care

  • Priority adopted in 2016
  • Incorporated research, conversations with stakeholders, direct Council member experience, AND conducted roundtable discussions with alumni who had lived experience in congregate care
  • Offered a webinar for key stakeholders to learn more about the priority and incorporate it into their practices
  • Priority statements:
    • Improve oversight of placement into congregate care.
    • Provide mediation services to prevent and reduce placement disruptions.
    • Provide trauma informed training and supportive services to resource families and caseworkers.
    • Disallow placement as a punishment.
    • Support family finding and strengthening family connections.
    • Promote relationships with ‘outside’ supportive adults.
    • Provide step­down services to integrate children from congregate care to a less restrictive environment.

Priority: Improving Policies and Services in Congregate Care Settings

  • Priority adopted in 2016
  • Incorporated research, conversations with stakeholders, direct Council member experience, AND conducted roundtable discussions with alumni who had lived experience in congregate care
  • Priorities:
    • Disallow anything but the least restrictive level upon entry into congregate care.
    • Improving LGBTQ policies.
    • Improve policies and oversight of restraints.
    • Make education separate from placement.
    • Medication oversight.
    • Birth control and reproductive health.
    • Well­being planning to facilitate permanency & healthy relationships.
    • Access to work. 

Council members and alumni submitted public comments about the Family First Prevention Services Act

Council members traveled to speak to state and federal legislators 

Congratulations to all the Council members, alumni, and staff who worked so diligently to support families and foster youth!

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