Facts about Child Welfare in California and the Critical Fixes Needed to the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016 for Our Children
The Family First Prevention Services Act has a laudable goal: preventing child abuse and ensuring that children are being raised with loving families, instead of in group homes. It’s a goal that California counties, foster youth and advocates support, too.
Unfortunately, in a rush to push the legislation through Congress without any meaningful debate or reasonable amendments, the needs of individual children and their caregivers – especially relatives – are being lost. If passed as-is, Family First will compromise the ability of child welfare systems and their community partners to keep children safe and secure.
California organizations serving and advocating for abused and neglected children like ours have long been part of the community seeking additional federal funds for prevention services. We also recognize that every bill is a compromise. While the Act was significantly reduced in scope and effectiveness in the drafting process, our organizations would support it, if it weren’t for several fatal flaws that make the bill, on balance, worse for the children of California.
Congress must fix the Act before its passage. The consequences for California’s children are too great if the bill is passed without the critical changes outlined below.