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Family and Children's
Resource Program

Vol. 26, No. 1
December 2020

Three Pillars of Transformation

It can be helpful to think of the following as the three "pillars" of child welfare transformation in North Carolina. Viewed in combination, they describe what lies ahead as North Carolina remakes its child welfare system.

2020-2024 CFSP
North Carolina's Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP) is a federally required, five-year plan designed to strengthen the child welfare system. It is anchored in the goals of achieving safety, permanency, and well-being. It is required to be updated every year in an Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR). The CFSP must align with North Carolina's implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). To read NC's 2020-2024 CFSP visit:

Rylan's Law
North Carolina's The Family-Child Protection and Accountability Act (SL-2017-41), passed in 2017. Key elements include:

System Reform Plans. Required hiring an independent evaluator to assess and issue recommendations for reforming NC's social services system, including the child welfare system.

Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group. Established to develop recommendations for improving state supervision of the county-administered social services system via a system of regional state offices. Currently North Carolina's supervision of county DSS agencies is centralized, with most offices in Raleigh. Rylan's law requires the state to shift to a regional model of supervision, where counties are clustered in regions, with regional state-offices in each area. This does not change any authority of the county DSS agencies; rather, it provides counties with closer support and monitoring by state staff.

Data Dashboards. Requires all 100 county DSS agencies to enter into an annual performance agreement with NCDHHS for all social services programs, excluding Medicaid. Ultimately, a data dashboard will be available to the public, so counties and citizens can easily access program and performance data.

Child Well-being Transformation Council. A state-level body created to promote a more coordinated approach to services that will help improve outcomes for children. Consists of 17 members appointed by the Governor and General Assembly.

Regional Departments of Social Services. To promote accountability and increased supervision, Rylan's Law gives counties the option to create regional departments of social services. This gives two or more counties the option to exercise flexibility by combining programs and resources to improve the provision of social services among more than one county.

To read the full text of Rylan's law visit:

Family First
The Family First Prevention Services Act is an important federal law supporting transformation of the child welfare system in North Carolina. The purposes of Family First are to: (1) give states more front-end flexibility in funding services to prevent children from entering foster care; (2) allow states to use IV-E resources for prevention services such as parental substance abuse and mental health treatment in hopes of allowing children who may be candidates for foster care to stay in their homes (safety permitting); (3) reduce the amount of time children spend in congregate care (i.e., group homes); and to (4) enact numerous other provisions that promote safety, permanence, and well-being.

To learn more about Family First visit: