Family First Prevention Services Act
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Time is running out for Qualified Residential Treatment Programs to become nationally accredited.

The  Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) was passed by Congress in February 2018 and aims to change the face of child welfare throughout the United States, in part by redirecting child welfare funds to services intended to keep children safely within their families and out of foster care or "congregate care" facilities. It allows funds to be used on preventative services for children at imminent risk of entering foster care and for their families.

Under FFPSA, there is also a funding shift that restricts the use of Title IV-E financing for out-of-home, congregate care/residential settings for when a child is unable to safely remain at home. One of the few types of organizations that will be allowed to receive federal reimbursements after the first two weeks a child has been in care is a new category of service provider - Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP).

FFPSA specifies that to be considered a Qualified Residential Treatment Program, the program must be licensed and accredited by an HHS approved accreditor by October 1, 2019, unless a state requests a delay for up to two years. The approved accrediting bodies are CARF, Council on Accreditation (COA) and The Joint Commission.

Articles and Resources

The following articles and fact-sheets help explain the accreditation mandate for QRTPs under FFPSA, the benefits of accreditation (beyond fulfilling a mandate), readiness questions and other relevant information.

Click here to read FFPSA legislation (the FFPSA-related statue is on pages 169-206).

Testimony of Jerry Milner, Acting Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, on the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Visit our blog for many more articles and videos about accreditation and nonprofit governance.

Time Required to Achieve Accreditation

Many organizations underestimate the time required to prepare for and become accredited. In general, it takes 12 to 18 months to prepare for national accreditation, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the initial state of readiness. Client agencies have found that working with Accreditation Guru has saved them precious time during this preparation period.

Keep in mind that the accrediting bodies only have a finite amount of capacity at any given time. All service providers are encouraged to begin the accreditation process as soon as possible and remain focused throughout the project to ensure that accreditation activities are not derailed by other priorities that may arise.

Accrediting Bodies

It is difficult to provide exact costs associated with accreditation as the accrediting bodies use different calculations when determining fees. Fees can be based on each applicant's budget size, a number of locations and/or the number of programs being reviewed. Each accrediting body will be happy to provide you with an accurate quote that fits your organization.

It is recommended that leadership teams approach accreditation as an investment in your organization that goes beyond just the accreditation fees. You will see organizational improvements throughout your agency as a result of becoming accredited.

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FREE Online Accreditation Readiness Assessment

You are invited to take our National Accreditation Readiness Self-Assessment, which is applicable whether you are working with CARF, COA or The Joint Commission – even if a decision has not yet been made to seek accreditation. The online assessment highlights some of the accrediting bodies’ key focus areas and will help to identify priorities for moving forward with the accreditation process.

Live Training and Webinars

Jennifer Flowers, CEO, has spoken around the country on the topic of accreditation and about FFPSA and the accreditation mandate for QRTPs. These sessions range from a one-hour introductory webinar to 90-minute sessions at conferences to day-long or multi-day intensive, interactive in-person training that serves as an accreditation boot camp for service providers.

Popular topics include:

  • “Catch the Wave: Why Service Providers are Flocking to Accreditation – And Why You Should Join Them”
  • “Family First Prevention Services Act – Understanding the Accreditation Process for QRTPs and Other Service Providers”

Accreditation Preparation Services

Our team of accreditation experts is ready to assist your organization on the road to CARF, COA or The Joint Commission accreditation. All consultants have a minimum of 20 years of experience with national accreditation and working in the child welfare and behavioral health fields. Our solutions are customized to your needs, services, and timelines.

Contact Accreditation Guru today to get started.