Oct. 2, 2020
Contact: Debra Johnson
Olympia – The federal Children’s Bureau approved the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) Family First Prevention Plan Thursday. Washington becomes the eighth state in the nation to have their plan approved.
Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) provides states the option to use Title IV-E funds for prevention services for eligible children at risk of foster care placement and their families, based on a federally approved Prevention Services Plan.
In building its plan, DCYF actively engaged with stakeholders, partners and tribes statewide.
DCYF leadership and staff celebrated news of the approval, which comes after months of working with federal partners to incorporate feedback and amendments to the plan.
“Kids are usually better off with their parents than they are with strangers. After decades of only getting federal funding to pay for foster care, we can now invest that money to strengthen families up front so that their kids don’t wind up in foster care” says DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter.
The agency will use the funds to supplement programs and services aimed at significantly reducing the number of children in out-of-home care. The comprehensive plan outlines the agency’s proposal to make enhanced support available to children and families who are at risk of entering foster care, including in-home skill-based programs and services, mental health services and substance abuse prevention and treatment.
“Over the next several years, DCYF will work with partners and stakeholders to implement its now fully-approved FFPSA Prevention Plan,” said Steven F. Grilli, DCYF’s Director of Child Welfare Programs. “Implementation will occur in stages and will involve complex work in areas ranging from data and technology to staff training, to service expansion and provider support – all with the ultimate goal of keeping children safely at home with their own families.”
DCYF is looking forward to working with Tribes and with communities to implement these programs in ways that work in those communities.