Generations United Applauds Passage of the Family First Act! Future of Dreamers Remains Uncertain

Early this morning, the Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the bipartisan government spending bill.

This long-awaited bipartisan legislation will help the more than 2.5 million children and their caregivers in grandfamilies in three major ways:

  • Kinship Navigator Programs: It provides partial government funding to help states that elect to offer kinship navigator programs.
  • Prevention Services: It provides support for up to 12 months of services to children, birth parents and caregivers of children who are at risk of entering the foster care system. Services include mental health, substance use treatment and prevention services, and in-home skill-based services.
  • Licensing Relatives: It helps address barriers to licensing relatives as foster parents to help more children and caregivers in grandfamilies get the full range of supports and services that traditional unrelated foster parents and children receive.

The legislation also does a number of things to prioritize families for children over group care unless the group setting is short-term, quality and treatment-oriented. It requires a number of quality improvements to residential treatment settings for children.

It includes provisions to reduce the amount of time it takes to help children in foster care move across state lines to permanent families, and it extends and makes improvements to a number of other child welfare programs. The larger funding bill also included other critical successes for children and families by extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program for an additional 4 years, funding for Home Visiting programs, and providing funds for community health centers.

Thanks to all who raised your voices in support of this major victory for children and families! It is important to note that the victory is bittersweet as the spending bill passed without a solution for young people across the country who immigrated to the U.S. as children and are part of the DACA program.

The future of the Dreamers remains in limbo. Congress is expected to take up DACA and immigration issues next week. Generations United stands in support of these young people. Learn more about the key grandfamilies provisions in the Family First Act.