Advocacy Updates: “Family First” Act changed, revived, but removed again—unlikely to pass.
FFPSA, Changed, but gone again.
Only days ago, the Chronicle of Social Change suggested that the Family First Prevention Services Act was amended and revived with a “real shot to pass.”
Today, it’s gone again, and unlikely to pass during this congress.
What happened? Provisions from the Family First Act, which we’ve covered at length (below), were attached to a large bi-partisan “omnibus” bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, which is moving quickly through congress this week.
Representatives and Senators just as quickly raised objections—and child welfare provisions were removed.
Proponents of the legislation have clearly tried to pass the bill under-the-radar, and negotiations have continued behind closed doors since we last discussed them, but as more and more legislators become aware of what the bill means for their states, more and more objections are raised.
New York and California pushed the opposition to the original bill, but reports suggest North Carolina spoke out against its inclusion in the omnibus.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) even spoke out directly in favor of congregate care, reports the Chronicle of Social Change. “I am well aware of the work these facilities do,” said Foxx. “I did a lot of volunteer work with one of them. I know how hard they work to get foster homes established.”
After the original Family First Prevention Services Act passed its fiscal year deadline for funding, it looked like one of the only ways for the bill to pass—without fuss and in this congress—was if it were attached to a large “omnibus” legislation.
Now, that avenue has failed as well, making it even more unlikely to pass during this lame duck session.
The latest changes… For those following along with particular permutations of the Family First legislation, it is interesting to note that the latest iteration had even more concessions for congregate care providers, including a vague exception for “a setting providing high-quality residential care and supportive services and youth who have been found to be, or are at risk of becoming, sex trafficking victims.”
Both italicized portions would have been up for interpretation by the Department of Health and Human Services, a division of which has argued that children in child welfare “are all at high risk of being trafficked.”
And that’s not all—if you’re interested in the latest congregate care concessions, check out this article from the Chronicle of Social Change, or the bill text that included Family First Act (search for Division D). Note, again, the entire division D has been removed from the bill moving forward.