Office of Children and Family Services

Strategic Planning and Policy Development

NYS Family First Readiness

Contents

Family First Readiness

Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) Overview

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), was enacted as part of the federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) on February 9, 2018. FFPSA reforms federal financing to prioritize family based foster care over residential care by limiting federal reimbursement for certain residential placements. The law permits states to use title IV-E funds for evidence based preventive services for families at risk of entering the child welfare system. In addition, FFPSA provides new federal funding opportunities for kin navigator programs.

Timeline of Key Actions for FFPSA

The timeline of key actions for FFPSA contains federal and state programmatic deliverables, data collection, and reporting along a timeline based on federal legislative and program requirements. This timeline is updated on a regular basis to reflect New York State’s implementation of key provisions for FFPSA.

NYS Delay of Specific Provisions

The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has reviewed the various provisions of FFPSA and identified needed changes to New York State (NYS) statute. This analysis is preliminary and subject to change as OCFS is awaiting additional guidance and clarification from the federal government. In addition, OCFS has engaged partners throughout the state, including LDSSs, VAs, advocacy groups, and other state agencies, to implement a comprehensive plan that adheres to the time frames identified by the FFPSA.

Given the need for additional guidance and clarification from the federal government, NYS submitted a request to delay the following provisions of FFPSA:

  • Section 475 A(c) of the Act: Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) placements
  • Section 472(k) of the Act: Limitations on title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance Payments for Placements that are not foster family homes
  • Section 472(c) of the Act: Definition of foster family homes
  • Section 471(a)(37) of the Act: Certification on Preventing Increases to the Juvenile Justice Population

On February 1, 2019, OCFS was informed that the request to delay the above provisions was granted by the federal government. The delayed effective date for these provisions is September 29, 2021. The delay for these provisions provide OCFS and partners the time necessary to appropriate plan and respond to the provisions.

Due to the need for potential change to law, NYS submitted Attachment B to ACYF-CB-PI-18-07 on August 8, 2018 requesting a legislative delay to implement the following provisions of law:

  • 471(a)(20)(D) of the Act, addressing criminal record and child abuse and neglect registry checks for adults working in child-care institution
  • 471(a)(36) of the Act, relating to model licensing standards for foster family homes

On February 1, 2019, this request was approved by the federal government. The delayed effective date for these provisions is April 1, 2020.

Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse

The Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse was established by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to systematically review research on programs and services intended to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements. The Clearinghouse, developed in accordance with the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018, rates programs and services as promising, supported, and well-supported practices. These practices include mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services and in-home parent skill-based programs, as well as kinship navigator services.

In December 2018 the Children’s Bureau (CB) released Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-18-09. This program issuance provides instructions on the requirements state Title IV-E agencies must meet when electing the Title IV-E prevention program. The Program Instruction included the first list of twelve (12) services and programs selected for review by the Clearinghouse. Currently there are no programs and/or services in the Clearinghouse. For more information on the Clearinghouse see the link below.

Updates

Letter from Congress to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex M. Azar II

On March 7, 2019, select members of Congress sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex M. Azar II, regarding the timetable for Title IV-E prevention programs to get approved for the Clearinghouse. To view the complete letter from Congress, see the link below.

Proposed FY 2020 Executive Budget Actions supporting Family First Readiness

FFPSA adds new restrictions on federal room and board support for foster children placed in group care settings. FFPSA also mandates that states conduct background checks on any individual working in a group care setting, regardless of their contact with children. Governor Cuomo’s FY 2020 Budget addresses these new federal requirements by including legislation to expand background checks to comply with FFPSA as well as by establishing the Family First Transition Fund. See below for more information:

Family First Transition Fund

This fund would leverage federal and private foundation funds to provide counties and foster care agencies with support to expand kinship and foster care capacity, helping the NYS to meet these requirements.

Authorize Family First Preventive Services Act Background Clearances

This bill would enact various provisions necessary to comply with the FFPSA. It would authorize NYS and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background checks for current and prospective employees of programs that provide residential foster care services. The FFPSA requires that all prospective employees of residential foster care programs receive a NYS and FBI criminal background check, regardless of whether they have the potential for regular and substantial contact with children. Existing employees of such programs who have not previously had such a check in connection with their employment are also required to have NYS and FBI criminal background checks.

First in the Nation: Open-ended State Investment in Preventive Services

In June 2002, NYS passed landmark legislation that reformed state funding for child welfare services which consisted of

  • uncapped state funding for preventive, child protective, adoption, after are and independent living services; and
  • a Foster Care Block Grant capping State reimbursement to districts for foster care services.

With Child Welfare Financing Reform (CWF Reform) NYS became the first state in the nation to provide open-ended state reimbursement for Child Preventive services. The premise underlying CWF Reform was that it was important to provide a reliable, uncapped source of funding for child welfare services and would encourage localities to invest in services that promote family stability and permanency for children in safe home-based settings. While foster care is an absolute necessary component of all child welfare systems, it is critical that there be a finance structure that encourages the provision of other services that may alleviate the need for foster care or reduce the time that foster care in necessary.

CWF Reform created a viable financial incentive for localities to provide non-foster care services when children do not need to be separated from their families in order to keep them safe from abuse, neglect or behaviors that endanger themselves or others.

NYS’s emphasis on preventive services led to a significant decline in NYS’s foster care caseload from 37,000 children in 2002 to 16,000 in 2018.

NYS Family First Support

Upcoming Activities

  • Family First Readiness Webinar Series is designed to inform and update partners regarding the various requirements in the Family First Prevention Services Act.
    • April 18, 2019: Data at Your Fingertips: Numbers You Need for Family First Readiness
    • May 16, 2019: Call to Action: Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act
    • June 20, 2019: What We Stand to Lose: The Cost of Family First
  • Implementing Family First Prevention Services Act: Workbook for Change will provide additional guidance to ensure compliance.

Family First Guidance

New York State Family First Guidance

Overview of Family First Prevention Services Act
Requirements for Use of the NEICE
Preparing Youth Aging Out of Foster Care for Adulthood
  • 18-OCFS-ADM-16, Providing Foster Care Placement Verification to Youth 18 Years of Age or Older Exiting Foster Care
  • OCFS-5184, Foster Care Placement Verification Form

Federal Family First Guidance

ACYF CB-PI-19-01

National Model Foster Family Home Licensing Standards (February 4, 2019)

Provides the National Model Foster Family Home Licensing Standards to state and tribal agencies administering or supervising the administration of title IV-E of the Social Security Act (the Act).

ACYF CB-PI-18-12

Approval of a revised form for reporting financial data on the title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, guardianship assistance, kinship navigator and prevention services programs (November 30, 2018)

Provides state, territorial, and tribal title IV-E agencies with the revised form and instructions approved by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for reporting quarterly financial information on the title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, guardianship assistance, kinship navigator and prevention services programs. It also provides continuing guidance for the submission of the Annual Adoption Savings Calculation and Accounting Report.

ACYF CB-PI-18-11

Requirements for Participating in the Title IV-E kinship navigator program (November 30, 2018)

Provides instruction for title IV-E agencies on the requirements for participating in the title IV-E kinship navigator program.

ACYF CB-PI-18-09

State Requirements for Electing Title IV-E Prevention and Family Services and Programs (November 30, 2018)

Provides instructions on the requirements state title IV-E agencies must meet when electing the title IV-E prevention program.

ACYF CB-PI-18-07

Public Law 115-123, the Family First Prevention Services Act (July 9, 2019)

Provides instruction for 1) changes to the title IV-E plan requirements as a result of the Family First Prevention Services Act that are effective as of January 1, 2018, and later; and 2) delayed effective dates for title IV-B/E plan requirements.

ACYF CB PI-18-06

Additional information and instructions for the Annual Progress and Services Report (May 31, 2018)

Provides guidance to states, territories, and insular areas administering titles IV-B and IV-E of the Act and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and to Indian tribes, Indian tribal organizations, or Indian tribal consortia administering titles IV-B and IV-E of the Act of changes in law and funding affecting the information that must be submitted with the Annual Progress and Services Report due June 30, 2018.

ACYF CB IM-18-02

Public Law 115-123, the Family First Prevention Services Act within Division E, Title VII of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

Informs states and tribes of the enactment of FFPSA and provides basic information on the new law. (April 12, 2018).

Common Questions and Answers

Family First Prevention Services Act Webinar Q and A

Additional Resources

Contact Information

ocfs.sm.Policy@ocfs.ny.gov