We’re counting down 10 of the biggest stories The Chronicle of Social Change published in 2019. Each day, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage on a big story from this past year.
The most significant federal child welfare reform in decades became law in 2018 as basically an addendum to a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open. This year, the major provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act took effect.
The law for the first time opens up the Title IV-E child welfare entitlement for spending on efforts to prevent the use of foster care in some cases. It also cuts back on federal dollars available to place youths in congregate care.
The year that Family First took effect was marked by slow-to-develop rules, uncertainty about what would be allowed, and efforts to convince more states to act now and avoid delays on the law.
Family First established a new tier of residential placement in child welfare called the Qualified Residential Treatment Program. That threatens to expose what some believe is the questionable use of Medicaid in paying for congregate care.
Meanwhile, a bill meant to coax more states into Family First this year is poised to move in both chambers of Congress.
One of Trump’s top child welfare officials fears the potential for the law to become a box-checking exercise when it comes to limiting the use of group homes and institutions.
How one nonprofit hopes to continue the discussion on Family First with states, region by region.