On July 15, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) published a request for public comment on the Prevention Services Clearinghouse, which is the department’s review process for determining which foster care prevention services have sufficient evidence to qualify for reimbursement from the federal government under the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (FFPSA; PL 115-123). Slated to take full effect October 1, 2021, FFPSA represents a major overhaul of the child welfare system, which is the full or partial jurisdiction of county governments in 11 states. Counties may submit comments by the deadline of August 16, 2021 to ensure that programs in the Clearinghouse allow us to provide the best possible outcomes for the children and families interacting with our child welfare systems.
County governments responsible for implementing FFPSA will benefit significantly from its authorization of federal resources for evidence-based prevention activities that curtail the placement of children in foster care. However, to be eligible for federal reimbursement, 50 percent of a state’s prevention services costs must go towards programs with a “well-supported” rating in the Clearinghouse. Currently only ten programs meet this standard, which may require counties to abandon existing prevention service models and/or opt for programs that do not meet the particular needs of our communities. ACF’s notice for public comment on its review process (which is outlined in a Handbook of Standards and Procedures, Version 1.0) is an opportunity to improve and expand the range of programs for which counties and states may draw down a federal financial match.
To submit a public comment on the Prevention Services Clearinghouse procedures, ACF asks county governments and other stakeholders to:
- Submit written questions, comments or other documents by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ensure the subject line reads, “Title IV-E PSC FRN comment”
- Clearly identify sections of the Handbook of Standards and Procedures, Version 1.0 addressed within the submitted comments and documents
NACo strongly encourages counties to submit comments for the record to ensure that ACF considers the interests of local government in future updates and clarifications to the Clearinghouse standards and procedures.