This is the Time: Take Action on Family First Prevention Services Act

This is the week to pass the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Email your senators today.

After months of providing input into the legislation and discussing draft concepts, followed by several weeks of energized discourse over the bill since it passed in the House in June, the bill must move before Congress leaves for fall recess this Friday. If it doesn’t, $400 million is lost from the financing package as of Oct. 1, which would effectively kill the bill.

Contact your U.S. Senators today in support of getting the Family First Prevention Services Act passed this week.

In the 83 days since the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Family First Act, 341 children have died from maltreatment and 33,534 children have been removed from their families and placed into foster care.

It is time to take action. A coalition of foster youth, child and family advocates, and health and human services leaders are joining and reaching out to their Senators to ask them to bring the Family First Prevention Services Act to the Senate floor.

The most important thing you can do is take a minute now to to email both your U.S. Senators and ask them to pass FFPSA before they leave for recess later this week. Then please forward this email to everyone in your network--your staff, board and community partners—and encourage them to take action today along with you.

Call your Senators

You can reach them by dialing the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking to be connected.

Here are some talking points to help guide your conversation:

  • I am calling as a constituent to urge Senator [SENATOR NAME] to support the Family First Prevention Services Act.
  • I am part of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a network of over 400 nonprofit health and human services providers.
  • The Family First Act needs to pass this week to make the biggest change to the child welfare system in a generation. For the first time, federal child welfare financing will support our country's value of putting families first.
  • This bill would improve the lives of children and families in [STATE]. It would allow child welfare dollars to be used for early intervention services, including substance abuse treatment, to keep families together and prevent unnecessary foster care placements.
  • It is critical that the Senate act this week to pass the bill. If the bill does not pass by September 30, the end of the fiscal year, a large portion of the offsets included in the bill will expire.

Tweet at your Senators

Find your Senators' Twitter handles online.

Here are some sample tweets:

@[Your Senators' Twitter Handles] Pass the #FamilyFirstAct to keep families together

@[Your Senators' Twitter Handles] Strengthen families by passing the #FamilyFirstAct

@[Your Senators' Twitter Handles] Stand up for strong families by passing the #FamilyFirstAct

Background about Family First Prevention Services Act

Family First Act Makes Federal IV-E Financing Available to Help Keep Kids in Families

The Family First Prevention Services Act will usher in a child- and family-centered focus on using federal child welfare financing to keep families together and reduce the number of children entering the foster care system. The bill opens up Title IV-E eligibility to all children and families who are experiencing stressors that have led, or could lead, to child neglect and/or abuse; those who are at imminent risk for entering the foster care system.

Funding will be made available for early intervention services to address these root causes: substance abuse, mental health issues, inadequate or uninformed parenting skills. Treatment and supports for these challenges will be available to anyone in the family – the youth, birth parents or kinship caregivers – whose need for support is connected to the safety, permanence or wellbeing of the child or to prevent the child's entry into foster care.

The bill also has provisions that seek to drive system forces more strongly in the direction of ensuring children who enter the foster care system are living with families, whenever possible. And, when a foster youth needs residentially-based treatment, the bill supports the engagement of the family during treatment and after care.

Direct any questions to Morgan Maciver, senior associate for advocacy and policy at the Alliance, at 202-429-0638. 

Date Posted: 
Mon, 19 Sep 2016

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