NCSL’s Child Welfare Legislative Policy Network Newsletter | Quarter 2, 2018


Family First Prevention Services Act: Recent Developments and Upcoming Dates of Note

On July 9, the federal Department of Health & Human Services released a Program Instruction (PI) outlining how states must implement some of the new provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act. Family First has five different deadlines for states to meet. Of note, the PI outlines that states choosing to delay implementation of the provisions related to congregate care Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs) for up to two years must notify HHS by Nov. 9, 2018. If states choose to delay these provisions, they must also delay claims for the new Title IV-E prevention funding for the same period of time. For further information on upcoming be sure to view NCSL’s Family First Prevention Services Summary

Study Assesses Trauma-Impacted Development in Early Life, Potential Corrective Interventions

A new study from Alysse Melville through the University of Connecticut School of Social Work looked at two evidence-based interventions to help infants and toddlers cope with trauma. The first, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, is for children under 6 years who have experienced disruptions with their primary caregivers due to early traumatic experiences. The second, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up, is a 10-session relational model aimed at addressing the physiological and behavioral impacts of early childhood trauma through play. For a more detailed look at these two interventions, read the full report published in Advances in Social Work by the Indiana University School of Social Work


This quarter brought with it the 2018 Prevention Resource Guide from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This yearly publication seeks to provide support service providers and communities with effective strategies and resources for child abuse and neglect prevention. The Prevention Resource Guide comes complete with examples of how some state and local agencies are using these strategies to change how they support families. This guide is an essential piece for anyone looking to prevent child abuse and neglect within their community.

NCSL 2018 Child Welfare Fellows

Many state lawmakers are concerned about recent increases in child maltreatment rates and foster care caseloads. In response, NCSL hosted its first cohort of child welfare fellows in July. NCSL's new Child Welfare Fellows program will provide select legislators a rare opportunity to focus intensively on child welfare issues, engage in thoughtful policy discussions, learn from their peers, connect with national experts, and receive in-depth assistance from NCSL.

The program is designed to identify and support legislators and legislative staff who are experienced or emerging leaders on child welfare issues. The curriculum is geared toward those chairing or serving on human services, children and families or related appropriations committees, and who want to learn from other legislators and research and policy experts from across the country. Fellows will participate in two in-person meetings and two virtual seminars in a 12-month period. In addition, NCSL will provide background research, testimony, bill drafting ideas or other research to support their efforts.

For more information, please visit NCSL’s Child Welfare Fellows page.

Child Maltreatment 2016 Report

The Children’s Bureau, an office of the federal Administration for Children and Families, recently released 2016 data on child abuse and neglect. The Child Maltreatment 2016 report provides a detailed 50-state analysis of the approximately 4.1 million reports of suspected child maltreatment. For instance, it shows that an overwhelming number of reports come from professionals like teachers, police officers, lawyers, and social services staff. Furthermore, the Child Maltreatment 2016 report shows American-Indian or Alaska Native children tended to have the highest rate of victimization, and that children in their first year tend to be at the highest risk of maltreatment. State leaders can use these data and trends to better understand and create more effective child welfare policy. 

Reducing Criminal Justice System Inequality

The spring 2018 issue of Future of Children, published by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, looks at strategies to reduce criminal justice system inequality. The journal highlights the many ways the foster care and criminal justice systems intersect, as well as ways foster care systems could reduce youth involvement in the criminal justice system. This issue also features an article on the impact parental incarceration has on child well-being.