Utah implements Family First Prevention Services Act

Goal is to Reduce Foster Care Placements in the state of Utah

Utah became one of the few states in the nation to formally implement the Family First Prevention Services Act on Oct. 1, the earliest possible start date. The new financing structure offers Utah’s Department of Human Services unprecedented support to access services that prevent children from entering foster care.

“Last year, substance use was a contributing factor in 72 percent of our foster care cases. The Act increases our options to address a whole family’s needs without condition of unnecessary parent-child separation,” said Ann Silverberg Willamson, executive director of Utah’s Department of Human Services, which served 4,731 children in foster care last year. “We believe families and children should be served together in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities when safely possible.”

The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law on Feb. 9, 2018 as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act (HR. 1892, Sens. Orrin Hatch R-Utah and Ron Wyden, D-Ore). The Act is the first major federal modernization of child welfare in three decades and authorizes new optional Title IV-E funding for time-limited prevention services for mental health care, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and in-home parent skills programs, while limiting funding for congregate or residential services.

More about the progress in Utah:

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