We are on the cusp of a tremendous shift in the field of child welfare. Thanks to the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act in February 2018, states will eventually be able to use title IV-E funding to provide mental health and substance abuse prevention programs and in-home parent skill-based programs to families before out-of-home placement occurs.
This has huge implications. As Kristin O’Connor, Section Chief of Child Welfare Policy and Programs for the NC Division of Social Services observes, “County DSS agencies will be in a position to be an anchor for prevention efforts in their communities. Family First gives us an opportunity to redesign CPS In-Home Services and bring evidence-based programs and practices to families in ways we never have before.”
Yet it will still be some time before this change occurs. That’s because to use title IV-E funding for prevention, states must also implement Family First provisions designed to reduce the use of congregate care. Because these provisions require careful coordination and planning, states have the option to delay implementation for up to two years. In November 2018, North Carolina chose to exercise this option and will work diligently to move to full implementation by September 29, 2021.
At Practice Notes we are excited by the prospect of expanded prevention funding and look forward to exploring it in a future issue. In the meantime, this issue focuses on innovative things North Carolina agencies and their partners are already doing in the area of child welfare and child maltreatment prevention.
Contents of this Issue