Daily Update August 4, 2016

Status of Family First Preservation Services Act

HR 5456/ S 3065, Family First Preservation Services Act did not make it through Congress before they adjourned in July. In a July 14 press release, Senator Wyden, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member stressed the importance of passing this legislation. In his statement, Wyden notes and responds to the following concerns:

1) Lack of adequate family foster homes to meet the demand. Wyden notes the bill creates provision to, "invest new funding for competitive grants to improve foster parent recruitment and retention." There will also be a greater concentration on prevention, which will keep children from unnecessarily entering foster care. 

2) Concerns around rigid licensing standards, accreditation, and assessment requirements in residential treatment programs. Wyden responds that, "With respect to child welfare law, there is no statutory or regulatory definition for what constitutes 'licensed clinical and nursing staff'. A wide variety of models could be used to meet these criteria."

3) Perception is there will be too short of a time frame for assessing youth for residential treatment. Wyden notes that the provisions could allow, "up to nearly three months for the states to continue to receive federal funding while determining the best placement for a child."

Congress is scheduled to reconvene September 7.

View press release at http://tinyurl.com/jhoxoyu

[Additional note: Georgia is addressing recruitment and retention of foster homes.  DFCS developed a website to enhance recruitment efforts, which will channel referrals first to DFCS and, after DFCS quotas are filled, private providers. Together Georgia is facilitating a meeting tomorrow with DFCS representative, Candis Jones, and providers to further discuss retention and recruitment efforts.] 

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The Georgia Conference on Children and Families  - November 2-4, 2016