The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) was enacted in February 2018 as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and is the largest child welfare reform in over a decade. This legislation was built to enhance prevention services, helping children remain safely in their own homes to avoid the traumatic experience being separated from their family. Federal reimbursement will be available to address mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and in-home parenting skills training to help families safely keep their children at home. FFPSA also aims to make sure that children are placed in the least restrictive setting possible, focusing on strengthening the quality of care for all families that are involved in the child welfare system.

What we’re doing in Missouri

Children and families thrive when they are supported. Missouri strives to increase access to necessary supports to ensure children grow up in safe, healthy homes where families have meaningful access to needed community resources. The Missouri Department of Social Services will implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFSPA) in October 2021. We received $10 million in federal funding from the Family First Transition Act to help with the initial planning and implementation of FFSPA. To prepare, we are:

  • Reviewing and prioritizing the most critical areas of need throughout the state
  • Working with court partners and placement providers around legislative changes involving required court findings, youth assessments, and quality placements
  • Assessing current evidence-based prevention services to identify opportunities to expand and better meet the needs of Missouri children and families
  • Reviewing state funding and federal reimbursement for prevention services, federal claim and reporting requirements, statutory changes, and child welfare data trends

We also recognize the importance of collaboration and feedback as we work to serve Missouri families. We have developed a statewide advisory team to help provide input as we develop our plan, as well as regional teams to focus on assessing local data and service needs specific to their area. We will also continue to engage with workgroups and committees to get feedback around FFPSA and its implementation, including topics like residential placement changes, transitional living support for older youth, kinship navigator services, and prevention services.

A message to our partners

The safety and well-being of children is a community responsibility and we all play a vital role in protecting and strengthening families. We appreciate the collaboration and commitment of the community partners, state agencies, and all organizations across the state as we work together to implement the FFPSA and support the children and families in Missouri.