FAMILY FIRST ACT OPENS OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

Few events are more traumatic for children than being separated from their parents.

Research shows that children are at higher risk for impaired neurodevelopment, psychiatric problems, poverty, future homelessness and criminal justice involvement once they are taken into state custody. Anywhere from 30–40% of homeless adults identified themselves as once being in foster care. 

Supportive housing initiatives help stabilize families so they can provide safe and healthy environments for children. This improves education, employment and health care outcomes and families can be strengthened with services focused on substance abuse, mental illness, parenting and other needs.

What Are Our Legislators Doing?

With the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) last February, states will have the flexibility to use federal funds historically limited to payments for foster care and adoption families for expanding and enhancing time-limited prevention services such as home visitation, supportive housing, etc. States must have child welfare plans approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to secure prevention funds that will be available beginning October 1, 2019. 

How Can I Help?

There are opportunities to leverage Family First to prevent and end family and youth homelessness and contribute to stronger families. We must encourage policy makers to:

  • Match safe, affordable housing with newly allowable prevention and reunification services for families and pregnant and parenting youth in the child welfare system at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
  • Strengthen collaborations between child welfare and housing agencies to improve family and youth stability.
  • Facilitate increasing and sustaining capacity to provide and coordinate housing-based services to ensure long-term success for vulnerable children and families.
    • Call or email your legislators! Look up your senators here and your representatives here. You can also contact the leadership in both the Senate and the House
    • Tweet and post Facebook messages to your representatives and senators as well. Don't forget to use the hashtag #SupportiveHousing.

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