- September 2018
- Link to FF35-2018 (PDF)
A sea change in child welfare financing occurred with little fanfare in February 2018 when legislation aimed at increasing the flexibility for states to use federal child welfare funds to support child maltreatment prevention was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Among other changes, the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) allows the use of federal funding for services to help families in crisis stay together. Whereas in the past, the largest federal funding source for child welfare agencies (Title IV-E of the Social Security Act) could not be used for prevention and intervention programs such as mental health services and substance abuse treatment—two common reasons for a child’s removal—the new law allows the use of Title IV-E funds for evidence-based programs aimed at keeping families intact. This brief describes the FFPSA, child welfare experts’ and state officials’ reactions to it, and its implementation timeline.