Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to announce a proposal to keep more children safely at home and out of unnecessary foster care. The Family First Prevention Services Act will redirect federal funding to support evidence-based, upfront prevention services. The bill, led by Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), is expected to be marked up in the House Ways and Means Committee tomorrow.
"We have a responsibility to every single kid in Colorado and throughout the country to help ensure they grow up in a supportive and loving environment," Bennet said. "Providing states with flexibility to use their federal dollars on proven prevention efforts will help keep our kids safe from abuse and neglect."
The Family First Prevention Services Act strengthens families and reduces unnecessary foster care placements by:
- Giving states flexibility to use federal foster care dollars to provide upfront evidence-based prevention services - such as parent training and individual and family therapy - to prevent inappropriate foster care placements and improve outcomes for children and parents.
- Ensuring more foster children are placed with families by ending federal reimbursement when states inappropriately place children in non-family settings.
- Keeping children safe by reauthorizing the Regional Partnership Grant program that provides funding to state and local evidence-based services aimed at preventing child abuse and child neglect due to parental substance abuse.
- Reducing the amount of time foster children wait to be adopted or placed with relatives across state lines by encouraging states to replace their outdated child placement systems with a more efficient electronic system.
- Supporting family members who unexpectedly assume responsibility for a child by providing important caregiver resources.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) are leading the bill in the House.