Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Deadline Approaching for States to Implement Family First Federal Law

From The Colorado Sun:

Under the Family First law, states are rewarded for keeping children in family settings instead of institutions

A decade ago, 1,257 foster kids in Colorado were living in group homes and institutions, the kind of places where children and teens line up for medication and eat at appointed meal times in a cafeteria. That number now has dropped to 339, a joyful statistic that means hundreds of kids are instead living in homes with relatives and foster families. 

The shift is the entire premise behind the Family First Prevention Services Act, a federal law that overhauled child welfare funding and has forced states to redesign programs to put more emphasis on preventing out-of-home placements. After years of planning, the Oct. 1 deadline to follow the law is one week away.

But for state and county child protection officials, the work is not over. While Colorado has managed to steer kids to “kinship” and other family placements, and has ramped up a host of abuse and neglect prevention programs in preparation for Family First, critics say the shift has come so swiftly that Colorado now lacks enough beds at residential centers and psychiatric facilities for the young people with the most acute mental health issues.

Read more here.

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