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Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA)

Information below for whether you are starting to familiarize yourself with the Family First Prevention Services Act or are looking for the latest news and information.

This page is updated regularly, so be sure to check back often. Any questions about the issues and implications regarding FFPSA compliance and implementation, call or write us.

Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA)

For the latest updates on FFPSA:

MAY 2021:

  • FFPSA FINAL IMPLEMENTATION DEADLINE UPDATE: Through discussions with our contacts in the field, we have confirmed that at this time, the federal government will not be moving the Oct. 1, 2021 final date for implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). If you are not already accredited but are proactively planning to begin the process, we recommend that you first speak with your state contact to clarify any details on potential extensions. You should also discuss your state’s information with the accrediting body that you will be (are) working with to achieve accreditation.

If you have not yet begun the process, but are interested in learning more about becoming accredited – click here for our free organizational assessment which can help to determine your level of preparedness.  We will continue to update you and/or provide links to resources as they become available to us.

APRIL 2021

The IMPRINT April 22, 2021
How the $500 Million Family First Transition Fund Will Work Learn More
Half -billion in Grants to 15 State Child Welfare Agencies Learn More

  • As the FFPSA deadline approaches – the accrediting bodies are working to help agencies become accredited in a more expedient time frame.  We contacted the federally approved accrediting bodies to see what they are each doing specifically:

CARF’s standard policy permits an organization to select the programs to be included in its accreditation process so that a multi-service/program organization can apply for accreditation only of its residential and/or group home program and narrow the scope.  Click here for more information on program specific accreditation.

COA is permitting FFPSA mandated multi-service organizations to do a “phased in” accreditation.  Phased Accreditation

The Joint Commission’s business development team is available to discuss each case on an individual basis.  If you are interested specifically in accreditation through The Joint Commission – they encourage you to contact them to see if residential accreditation as an initial process is an option.

EAGLE  is working with each agency on a case by case basis to see how they can effectively move them along in the accreditation process.  More info here

The Teaching Family Association is actively working with agencies who have reached out specifically seeking accreditation to meet Family First requirements and has leveraged technology and creative communication strategies to move people forward through flexible, resourceful, and collaborative approaches. To learn more visit TFA.


  • The Children’s Bureau will now allow title IV-E agencies to adapt programs and services that have been approved as part of the title IV-E agency’s Title IV-E Prevention Services Program Plan to a virtual environment to allow for children and families to receive necessary services without interruption and within public health guidelines. More Info


  • The Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse requests recommendations for mental health, substance abuse, in-home parent skill-based, and kinship navigator programs and services to be considered for systematic review.  Deadline is October 5. More Info


  • To help agencies implement Family First, The Children’s Defense Fund, in a collaboration with a coalition of organizations developed the Implementing Family First Guide.  Specific information and questions answered.  Starting on page 107 – details regarding FFPSA/QRTPs and Accreditation.  Family First Guide
  • The Prevention Services Clearinghouse recently announced ratings on a number of programs and services. List
  • The Children’s Bureau hosted a 2-part webinar to share the lessons and experiences of two jurisdictions whose Title IV-E Prevention Plans received approval from CB. The intent was to provide child welfare leaders guidance on developing and implementing prevention plans while taking advantage of the provisions within the Family First. Part 1 & 2

JULY 2020

  • COA Offers Phased Accreditation Option:  Help in the midst of COVID-19 for FFPSA mandated private organizations.  More here.

MAY 2020

  • Kansas Family First Prevention Plan Approved:  Read plan here
  • Program Instruction Request Flexibility Information: Children’s Bureau released new Program Instruction (PI) to provide instruction and procedures to title IV-E agencies on how to request flexibility to specific requirements. Instruction
  •  Title IV-E Administrative Claims for Foster Care Candidates:  Under the FFPSA, states can claim Title IV-E administrative costs for children receiving in-home services who meet specific criteria.  Outline

APRIL 2020

  • The Children’s Bureau released guidance regarding several areas of existing flexibility under title IV-E including enhanced foster care maintenance payment (FCMP) rates, modifying foster family home licensing standards and hazard pay for child welfare agency caseworkers.  Letter from Jerry Milner
  • Deadline and separate application for states to apply for FFTA funding removed in light of pandemic.  Some states to distribute funding as aid in accrediting organizations.  Letter from Jerry Milner
  • Estimated State Allocations Under the Family First Transition Act (FFTA) – Update
  • Federal Budget Plans for 2021 To Include Broader Access to Funds and Resources for FFPSA – Article

The Basics

Start here for a better understanding of FFPSA.

  • FFPSA – Summary // Full Review
  • QRTP Requirements for FFPSA – Quality Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs) are a specific category of non-foster family home settings eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement. Requirements for qualifying and maintenance claiming.  Summary
    Clearinghouse Programs – Find evidence-based programs and resources that will meet your strategic planning needs. Overview of Approved Services
  • Family First Transition Act – Flexible funding for states and tribes to help implement Family First, as well as short-term funding guarantees for states with expiring Title IV-E waivers. Overview

Accreditation for QRTPs

Per the FFPSA – in order to receive federal reimbursement after the first two weeks that a child has been in care, the program must be designated a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP).  In order to be considered a QRTP, 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.

More on that here:

  • Comparison of Federal Requirements for QRTP and PRTF – Link
  • The Advantages of Accreditation – Link
  • Are you Ready for Accreditation? – Link
  • How a Consultant Can Help – Link
  • Accreditation and the FFPSA Mandate – Link
  • State Status – A list of states that have submitted their plan and ones that have been approved – Link

Accrediting Bodies

The benefits derived from Accreditation include organizational improvements throughout your agency.  That’s why many leadership teams approach accreditation as an investment in the organization.

To get an accurate understanding of costs associated with accreditation from each of the accrediting bodies – you should contact them directly.

How We Can Help

Our team of accreditation experts is ready to assist your organization in achieving accreditation. All consultants have at least 20 years of experience with national accreditation agencies in the child welfare and behavioral health care fields. We customize our solutions to fit your needs, services and timelines.

We offer several packages to fit the needs of a variety of organizations. 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.

We are proud of our 100% success rate helping clients achieve accreditation.

Contact Accreditation Guru today to get started.