GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 32

grand family

Family First Prevention Services Act is now law!

BY JAIA PETERSON LENT

T

wenty-two years ago, a recent graduate with the Bachelors
of Social Work, I was handed one of my first Child Protective
Services cases as a full fledged social worker. It was for a new
born baby girl, Brittney , whose parents had substance use issues,
serious mental health problems and series of other issues that make
it clear they could not safely care for the little girl. I went to work
looking for an appropriate relative to help care for baby Brittney.
After a day of family finding detective work, I found a wonderful
relative eager to care for her. The family just asked if they would get
the support they need to meet Brittney's needs. Knowing what the
system provides to foster parents, I promised them they would.
The weeks and months that followed were eye-opening.
The promised support I thought I could secure the family
didn't come through. Because they were Brittney's relatives, I
had to jump through hoops to get them to services and benefits that would have readily been available to unrelated foster
parents. While the incredible family found a way to patch
together what was helpful to provide for Brittney's needs, I
felt like I and the system had failed them.
I soon learned that Brittney's story was not unique.
Because of the way that the federal government funds child
welfare, relatives often have poor if any access to supports
and services that that traditional foster families get even
though the needs of the children are the same.
In February, a long awaited new law - The Family First

"Kinship care families" or "GrandFamilies" are terms used to describe grandparents or other relatives raising
their grandchildren or other kin when their parents are unable to do so. More than 7.4 million children live in
households headed by grandparents or other relatives. Of those 7.4 million children, more than 2.5 million children are living in households without any parents present. These relative caregivers are willing to care for the children, but may need financial or other help to appropriately meet the children's needs - Children's Defense Fund
32 GRAND

MAY JUNE 2018

Prevention Services Act was enacted. This law takes major
steps towards providing getting more support and services
to families like Brittney's. The Family First Act helps grandfamilies in three major ways:

* Prevention services to families with children
at risk of foster Care: Provides funds for states who

chose to offer certain supportive services to eligible children, birth parents, and relative caregivers of children at
imminent risk of coming into foster care. This will help keep
children safely with family members. (Begins 10/1/2019)
* Licensing relatives as foster parents: Requires
states to examine ways to improve their licensing standards
and process for relatives who want to become licensed
foster parents for the related children in their care. (By
4/1/2019)
* Kinship navigator programs: Offer funds for states
who choose to establish or maintain proven kinship navigator
programs, which provide information, referral, and follow-up
services to grandparents and other relatives raising children
to link them to the critical benefits and services. (Begins
10/1/2018)
Click Here to learn more about what the Family
First Prevention Services Act will mean for grandfamilies, and to sign up for Generation United's Grand
Voice newsletter updates click here.
Jaia Peterson Lent is Deputy Executive Director
of Generations United, a national organization
dedicated to improving lives. Home to the
National Center on Grandfamilies, Generations
United is a leading voice for issues affecting
families headed by grandparents or other
relatives.


https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine http://www.grandfamilies.org/Resources/Federal-Laws https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001qbttOa0cV5p7-EhZUUwey13jCcQHhsbtLpfZOQ3xyYW3J-Rlu7Cjav4OCgc4JGqx1YF2XJIx8KXRkzicaJPr3eNfwHbabSib2G3xzSxbwNRoKk2CHRPPfa2eqK7z_ns7AaW0DXiKSMWR9unXtItL8e0QX6IyAPyGeOMPLQ0RaWso-S_mHRbO2g%3D%3D http://www.gu.org/ http://www.programsforelderly.com/caregiver-generations-united-national-center-on-grandfamilies.php http://www.childrensdefense.org/policy/welfare/kinship-care.html

GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

Contents
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 1
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GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 3
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