FFPSA In My State: Helpful Information

Posted by FFT on
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >FFPSA In My State: Helpful Information</span>

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) represents a pivotal shift in child welfare services across the United States.  

In the past, states could only use Title IV-E funds to finance out-of-home foster care. But now, the FFPSA allows states to use these funds to provide services that help keep children safely with their families and out of foster care where possible. These services may include, for example, parental training, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment. 

Additionally, FFPSA aims to ensure that children who are separated from their parents are placed in family-like settings, such as a foster care home or kinship care, which is where extended family cares for the child. This is opposed to congregate care or residential treatment facilities, which should only be used when necessary, according to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).  

This blog post aims to demystify FFPSA in your state, offering insights into how to access and interpret prevention plans, understand ratings, and grasp the impact of these elements on child welfare services.   

Understanding FFPSA in Your State

Each state has developed a prevention plan under FFPSA that outlines how it will use federal funding to support families and prevent children from entering foster care. To find your state's plan, visit the website of your state's child welfare agency or the Children's Bureau's official site, where they are listed. 

You’ll find that the ratings for state prevention plans range from "Approved" to "Needs Improvement." These ratings are determined by how well a state's plan aligns with FFPSA goals.  

For example, the plan needs to be:  

  • Evidence-based  
  • Relative to high-need populations 
  • Feasible to implement with the state’s current resources 

The rating is important as it determines the extent to which the state can access federal funds to finance the plan. An approved plan with a high rating signifies a robust strategy aligned with FFPSA's objectives, ensuring more resources for the state to support at-risk families. 

The Benefits of FFPSA

By supporting services like mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and in-home parenting skill training, FFPSA aims to address the root causes of family crises, thus reducing the need to place children in foster care.   

Being placed in foster care, while sometimes might seem like the best possible option, can often be traumatic for a child. As such, reducing this need wherever possible can lead to better outcomes for both the child and their family/caregivers.  

FFPSA also reinforces the use of foster care homes and kinship care above residential programs and group homes, ensuring that children are placed in family-like care and providing them with evidence-based support and treatment.  

Kinship care is where children are placed with extended family and close family-like adults — like grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, or close family friends — as opposed to strangers. This can be less disruptive for children whose caregivers aren’t able to provide them with suitable care. 

But kinship care traditionally leads to obstacles: in the past, kinship families often struggled to obtain services or public assistance benefits. FFPSA programs aim to address this by helping kinship families access necessary services.  

The Challenges of Implementing FFPSA in Your State

While FFPSA heralds a new era in child welfare, its implementation comes with challenges.  

States may struggle with issues like: 

  • Allocating funding  
  • Delivering services 
  • Finding an evidence-based practice  

One notable issue is that rendering an evidence rating can be difficult when studies have conflicting findings.  

However, solutions such as inter-agency collaboration, investment in training, and leveraging technology can overcome these hurdles.  

With FFT's guidance, states like Virginia and Ohio showcase successful FFPSA implementation, offering high-functioning models for others to follow.   

The Role of Functional Family Therapy (FFT) LLC in Supporting FFPSA Implementation 

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a well-supported, evidence-based program that can be covered by FFPSA. 

FFT LLC provides training in this counseling service, thus supporting states in the monumental task of FFPSA implementation. Our expertise in delivering evidence-based family therapy training makes us an invaluable partner for states striving to meet FFPSA guidelines.  

FFT is a short-term, evidence-based family counseling service for youths aged 11 to 18 who are at risk of behavioral or emotional difficulties. Adapted to each individual’s unique circumstances, FFT works with the child’s family and support network to address challenges. FFT LLC currently brings Functional Family Therapy to over 40,000 families globally a year.  

We’re committed to providing clinical oversight and ongoing research into FFT to ensure that all providers adhere to the practice standards, thus resulting in the best possible outcomes for children and their families.  

Through comprehensive training, clinical oversight, and adherence to model fidelity, FFT LLC ensures that child welfare agencies are equipped to make a tangible difference in the lives of at-risk children and families. 

Conclusion: FFT and the FFPSA 

The Family First Prevention Services Act represents a transformative approach to child welfare, emphasizing family preservation over potentially traumatic out-of-home placements.  

Understanding your state's prevention plan and ratings is the first step in leveraging FFPSA to its full potential. FFT LLC is committed to aiding states in this journey, offering our expertise to ensure that every child and family has the chance to thrive. Together, we can navigate the complexities of FFPSA implementation, making a lasting impact on child welfare services. 

FFT LLC  is committed to helping states implement FFPSA and improve child welfare services. By staunchly upholding model fidelity, FFT LLC can help states navigate the complexities of implementation and make a positive impact on the lives of children and families.

If you're looking to start using your FFPSA funding, contact FFT LLC today!