Since the start of the 116th Congress, both chambers of Congress have introduced bipartisan legislation that would offer states and counties additional flexibility and resources for the Title IV-E child welfare waiver program under the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) (P.L. 115-123). Under the FFPSA legislation, which passed in 2018, the Title IV-E waiver program provides federal funding for state, county and tribal welfare agencies to create demonstrations aimed at improving outcomes for children and families involved with, or at risk of entering, the foster care system. The waiver program will expire at the end of FY 2019 on September 30, 2019.
Congress is now considering legislation that would extend Title IV-E waivers. Earlier this year, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the State Flexibility for Family First Transitions Act (S. 107), which would extend waiver authority for two years through FY 2021. Across the Capitol, on June 5, Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Katie Hill (D-Calif.), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Greg Steube (R-Fla.) introduced bipartisan, companion legislation that would enact the same measures.
Both the House and Senate bills would offer a critically needed two-year bridge that will provide additional time for states and counties to transition to FFPSA. Additional flexibility through the waivers could minimize anticipated cost-shifts to states and counties that could occur by limiting Title IV-E eligibility to children who would otherwise be eligible for such funds and enable counties to provide continuous care to at-risk children.
Going forward, both the House and Senate bills would need to be considered in the committees of jurisdiction and then passed by both chambers before being sent to the president's desk.
For more NACo resources on FFPSA, please see the following links:
- Click here to view NACo’s letter to Congress
- NACo Blog: Bipartisan legislation introduced to extend child welfare waivers important to counties
- NACo Webinar: Family First Prevention Services Act & Your County
- NACo Blog: President signs massive two-year budget pact