Casey Family Programs applauds passage of the Family First Transition Act

Casey Family Programs commends the leadership, members and staff of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives on the passage of the Family First Transition Act. This legislation — signed into law by the president on December 20 as part of a year-end spending package — builds on the 2018 Family First Prevention Services Act by providing significant new resources to states and tribes to implement this transformational legislation.

The passage of the 2018 Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) marked a large step forward toward meaningful progress for children and families by providing more support for critical services, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, in-home training and family therapy that can help prevent the need for foster care in the first place.

The Family First Transition Act (H.R. 4980/S.2777) provides one-time, flexible funding for states and tribes to help implement Family First, as well as short-term funding guarantees for states with expiring Title IV-E waivers. This will allow states to move forward with Family First without a financial shortfall during their transition. It also phases in a requirement on the types of prevention programs for which states can receive federal reimbursement.

“This legislation reinforces a monumental shift in thinking about how to bring about positive change in the lives of children by providing states and tribes the tools they need to move forward on meaningful initiatives that will better serve children and families,” said Dr. William C. Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs. “We must capitalize on this historic opportunity to provide states and tribes the resources and support that they need to build communities of hope for all of our children.”

The Family First Transition Act includes a provision that renames the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program in memory of longtime Children’s Defense Fund leader MaryLee Allen, who died earlier this year. Allen, who was among the foremost federal child welfare policy experts, spent her 40-plus-year career building momentum for child welfare improvements on Capitol Hill and had a significant impact on children and families across the country.