Bicameral, Bipartisan Child Welfare Bill Passes House; Mixed Reactions by States
Last month, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee announced a bicameral, bipartisan child welfare reform bill. The House passed the bill—Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456)—on June 21. It is expected to be considered by the Senate soon. The bill makes a number of changes to child welfare programs, including:
- allowing states to claim federal reimbursement under Title IV-E foster care for time-limited prevention services as long as certain requirements are met, such as maintenance-of-effort (MOE) provisions
- placing limits on states’ ability to claim federal reimbursement for non-family foster care settings
- reauthorizing and modifying several child welfare programs set to expire at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2016
- expanding eligibility for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, and Education and Training Vouchers
- delaying the delinking of Title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility from outdated eligibility requirements
While states support many aspects of the bill, there have been concerns over certain provisions, including the MOE requirement and the loss of funding for congregate care.