Family First Act in Montana

Family First Act Background

The Family First Prevention Services Act will restructure many aspects of existing child welfare systems. In particular, it will allow states to use federal funds to pay for prevention services to keep children safely with families and out of foster care. In the past, this funding could only be used after a child was in foster care. Now services can be provided to children and families to prevent the need for foster care.

The new law also creates federal standards for congregate care providers to help ensure children are safe, receive appropriate treatment, and stay connected to their families while in group home placements. October 2021 marks the federal deadline for all states to implement the Family First Act. Implementing the Family First Act in Montana will take place with input from many stakeholders, including former and current foster youth, foster families, child welfare providers, tribal governments, local lawmakers, state officials and other community partners.

Welcome to the Family First Act Blog

Knowledge to Action
Jeff FolsomJeff Folsom, our Director of Policy, has been studying the development and the details of the Family First Act since it became law. He will use this blog to report news, share resources, and pose important questions as we in Montana take steps to adopt Family First requirements.   Subscribe to the Family First blog.

What is Family Voice Curious?

August 10, 2020

In my last blog, I told you the Center was getting ready to open a conversation about organizations being “family voice curious.” The phrase was coined by a team of six — program staff, student research assistants, and me. We started out talking about family engagement, what it means, why it’s important, and how it changes the work that organizations do with children and families.

Eventually we realized that the term “family engagement” is too limited. Some described “family engagement” as sounding like inviting a parent or two to be part of a committee, sending out a parent survey once a year, and calling it good. That’s OK — but it’s just a start. We believe using the word “engagement” defines a level of relationship that should not be assumed or taken lightly.

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For all of Jeff's blogs to get updates on the Family First Act in Montana, visit Knowledge to Action. 

Montana DPHHS Status Reports

Family First Status Report

Child & Family Services Practice Roadmaps


U.S. Implementation

Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act  Technical assistance from Children's Defense Fund & partners

Youth and Alumni Priorities on Special Populations Under FFPSA National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council priority recommendations for addressing special populations in FFPSA implementation

Overview Resources  Wide range of information on the act

Children's Defense Fund  Summaries, timelines, and full text of the act

National Conference of State Legislatures  Summary of the act's history and requirements

Chronicle of Social Change  "CliffsNotes" guides to the provisions of the act

Prevention Services

Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse  List of approved prevention services   

Quick Links

Policy Briefs

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