A Guide to Implementing Family First


It’s really easy to get bogged down in the details and get bogged down in the legislative text. So, what we tried to achieve here was a lay person’s translation of what all this means for child welfare agencies and anyone else who’s working to implement the law.”

– Rebecca Robuck, policy director, ChildFocus

The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) has raised many questions among State, local, and Tribal child welfare agencies regarding implementation. Family First, signed into law in February of 2018, is built around three principles:

  • Help families whose children are at risk of removal stay together safely
  • Ensure that children in foster care can live with a family
  • Improve access to high quality residential treatment 

To help agencies implement Family First, The Children’s Defense Fund(opens in new window) released Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act(opens in new window), a guide developed by a coalition of organizations “intended to offer the clearest possible information about the provisions of the law and the congressional intent behind it, based on a careful review of statutory language, agency guidance, and additional analysis by multiple organizations and partners who were intimately involved in the support and passage of the legislation.”

The guide was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation(opens in new window), the Redlich Horwitz Foundation(opens in new window), and ZOMA Foundation(opens in new window).

This episode features a conversation with representatives from three of the seven organizations who collaborated on the guide. Topics discussed include the following: 


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