Family First Prevention Services Act - P.L. 115-123

Date: February 2018


H.R. 1892
Enacted February 9, 2018

Note: The Children's Bureau offers guidance on the provisions of this legislation in Information Memorandum ACYF-CB-IM-18-02, issued April 12, 2018; Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-18-06, issued May 31, 2018; Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-18-07, issued July 9, 2018; Program Instructions ACYF-CB-PI-18-09, ACYF-CB-PI-18-10, ACYF-CB-PI-18-11, and ACYF-CB-PI-18-12, which were issued November 30, 2018; Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-19-01, issued January 8, 2019; and Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-19-02, issued February 26, 2019.

Major Provisions of the Act

  • Reauthorized title IV-B, subpart 1, through FY 2021
  • Amended title IV-B, subpart 1, to require that State and Tribal title IV-B agencies take the following actions:
    • Establish procedures to ensure that children in foster care placements are not inappropriately diagnosed with mental illness, other emotional or behavioral disorders, medically fragile conditions, or developmental disabilities and are not placed in settings that are not foster family homes as a result of the inappropriate diagnoses
    • Document steps taken to track and prevent child maltreatment deaths (State title IV-B agencies only)
  • Reauthorized title IV-B, subpart 2, through FY 2021
  • Removed the term 'time-limited' from the definition of 'family reunification services' and expanded the definition to include services to a family for 15 months after the child returns home
  • Reserved $8,000,000 for FY 2018 for competitive grants that support the recruitment and retention of high-quality foster families to increase capacity to place more children in family settings and that are focused on States, Indian Tribes, or Tribal consortia with the highest percentage of children in nonfamily settings
  • Amended the Regional Partnership Grant program that assists children and families affected by substance use to focus on heroin, opioids, and other substance use by requiring that grantees take the following actions:
    • Facilitate the implementation, delivery, and effectiveness of title IV-E prevention services
    • Include the State agency responsible for administering the substance use prevention and treatment block grant as a partner in all partnership grants (unless the lead applicant is an Indian Tribe or consortia, which allows the inclusion of the State child welfare agency as a partner to be optional)
    • Improve the substance use treatment outcomes for parents, including retention in treatment and successful completion of treatment
  • Provided funding for the development of an electronic interstate case-processing system to expedite the interstate placement of children in foster care or guardianship or for adoption
  • Amended title IV-B, subpart 3, requirements for regulations (developed in consultation with an Office of Management and Budget interagency workgroup) designating (1) federally required data-exchange standards for title IV-B and IV-E agencies or information that Federal law requires title IV-B and IV-E agencies to electronically exchange with other agencies and (2) Federal reporting and data exchanges required by law
  • Revised the definition of 'foster family home' to limit a home to six children (with exceptions)
  • Amended title IV-E to require procedures for any child care institution, including a group home, residential treatment center, shelter, or other congregate care setting, to conduct criminal records checks and child abuse and neglect registry checks on any adult working in the institution
  • Required the submission of information on whether the title IV-E agency's licensing standards are in accord with model standards identified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Required a certification that, with respect to title IV-E foster care maintenance payments made on behalf of any child who is placed in a setting that is not a foster family home, the State or Tribe will not enact policies or practices that would result in a significant increase in the population of youth in the State's or Tribe's juvenile justice system
  • Required that, no later than October 1, 2027, State title IV-E agencies use an electronic interstate case-processing system for interstate placements
  • Provided new optional title IV-E funding to reimburse programs for time-limited (1 year in duration) services for mental health and substance use prevention and treatment services and in-home parent skills-based programs for candidates for foster care (as defined in the act) and the parents and kin caregivers of those children and youth, regardless of whether the child is title IV-E eligible (while allowing Tribal prevention programs to be adapted to the culture and context of the Tribal communities served)
  • Amended title IV-E to allow foster care maintenance payments for up to 12 months for an eligible child placed with a parent in a licensed residential family-based substance use treatment facility
  • Limited title IV-E foster care payments to 2 weeks for placements of children in child care institutions, unless it is a licensed residential family-based treatment facility or a 'specified setting,' including the following:
    • A qualified residential treatment program
    • A setting specializing in providing prenatal, postpartum, or parenting supports for youth
    • A supervised setting in which the child is living independently (in cases in which the child has reached age 18)
    • A setting providing high-quality residential care and supportive services to children and youth who have been found to be, or are at risk of becoming, sex trafficking victims
  • Required the following of qualified residential treatment programs:
    • Have a trauma-informed treatment model that is designed to address the needs of children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders
    • Facilitate participation of family members, to the extent appropriate, in the child's treatment program
    • Document how family members are integrated into the treatment process for the child, including after discharge, and how sibling connections are maintained
    • Provide discharge planning and family-based aftercare support for at least 6 months after discharge
    • Are licensed and accredited in accordance with title IV-E requirements
  • Created optional funding for kinship navigator programs that meet the previous kinship navigator grants requirements and that meet the promising, supported, or well-supported practices requirements of the title IV-E prevention services program, regardless of whether the children served are eligible for title IV-E
  • Delayed until June 30, 2024, the full implementation of the title IV-E adoption assistance phase-in of 'applicable child' requirements, thus requiring that title IV-E agencies determine that a child is 'not an applicable child' if the child will not reach age 2 by the end of the FY the adoption assistance agreement is entered into
  • Renamed the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program as the Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood and revised it in the following manner:
    • Specified that the program is available to youth who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older
    • Made education and training vouchers (ETVs) available to eligible youth ages 14-26
    • Limited participation in the ETV program to 5 years total
    • Permitted States and Tribes to provide the Chafee program to youth up to age 23 if the agency extended the age for title IV-E foster care to 21 or provides comparable services to those youth using nontitle IV-E funds
    • Clarified that youth may be eligible for the program if they aged out of foster care at an age other than 18 as long as they have not reached age 21 (or age 23 if the State or Tribe has extended foster care to youth up to age 21)
  • Amended the Court Improvement Program to require State court grantees to train specified legal professionals on child welfare policies and title IV-E payment limitations for children in nonfoster family homes