The Family First Prevention Services Act: A New Era of Child Welfare Reform

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Passed by Congress in early 2018, the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First)1 is a major step forward in federal child welfare reform and has the potential to transform the way states provide services to children who are abused or neglected. This installment of Law and the Public’s Health offers an overview of the major provisions of Family First. As states and counties respond to the new incentives and restrictions imposed by the statute, collaboration among researchers, advocates, and policy makers will be needed to ensure that the promise of these reforms translates into meaningful change for children and families. Quality evaluations of new preventive services and changes to institutional care will be important, particularly in the early years of these reforms.


law, legal issues, child welfare, advocacy, adolescent health, public policy

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Public Health Reports